In the event the workers’ compensation doctor assigned to you determines you are able to return to work, but with certain restrictions, this is referred to as returning to work on light duty. The restrictions involved with light duty work can be either temporary or permanent.
While you are still seeing your doctor and in the process of recovering from your injuries, temporary restrictions may apply – these restrictions may include the type of work you can perform or the number of hours you can work per day.
Common work restrictions
Commonly, employees recovering from a work injury may be restricted to working anywhere from 4 to 6 hours per day for a certain stretch of time before going back to a normal work schedule. However, in other cases you may be permitted to work a full day if you are able to avoid certain activities during that time such as standing for prolonged periods of time or lifting a certain amount of weight.
Understanding these restrictions on your work activities is important to also understand the obligations your employer has to you. Employers vary regarding how they accommodate these restrictions. If your employer is unable to accommodate your need for light duty restrictions or simply will not do so, you may be eligible to receive temporary disability benefits until your doctor frees you for full duty or your employer decides to accommodate your restrictions.
Potential benefits under work restrictions
Your employer does not have an obligation to accommodate permanent restrictions to your capabilities if your doctor authorizes you to return to work. However, you may apply for the right to receive accommodations through the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) or through help available from the state.
If you have permanent restrictions on your capabilities that prevent you from continuing in your previous position, your employer is not obligated to provide you with retraining. However, you may be able to take advantage of vocational rehabilitation programs and even receive unemployment benefits, while you are undergoing retraining and searching for a new job.
With that said, it is always important to utilize the recovery time you need and attain the work restrictions you need to prevent making your injury worse.
If you have suffered an injury on the job and are having trouble returning to work based on the work restriction you have been provided through your workers’ comp doctor, you may need help from a skilled workers’ compensation attorney. A strong legal advocate can help make sure you are treated fairly by your employer and that you secure all of benefits you are owed under Tennessee or Georgia state law.
If you have suffered an injury on the job, our Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorneys at Wagner & Wagner, Attorneys at Law are here to help you file your claim or make an appeal after a denial of benefits. Our legal team serves clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, in addition to North Georgia, and the surrounding region. To arrange a free consultation, call us today at 423.756.7923 or use our contact form.