At some point in your recovery from a workplace injury, your doctor could change your work restriction to light duty. Whether or not you choose to return can possibly have an impact on if you receive workers' compensation. If your doctor has recommended light duty work, here is what you need to know.
Do You Have to Go Back to Work?
Your doctor makes his or her recommendation of light duty based on your health. You have the option of refusing to return to work against your doctor's recommendation, but it is possible that doing so could result in your employer's insurance company refusing to pay workers' compensation benefits.
As part of receiving benefits, you are required to follow your doctor's orders. Once you refuse to return to work, the insurance company could argue you are no longer eligible for benefits and deny your claim. If this happens, you would be responsible for paying some or all of your medical bills.
What If You Do Not Agree?
You have a couple of options available to you if you do not agree with your doctor's opinion that you should return to work. The first option is to contact your state's Department of Labor and request an examination with an independent medical examiner. If approved, the examiner will determine whether or not a return to work is physically possible.
It is important to note that if you do choose this option, the medical examiner could decide that you are able to return to work full-time. If that is the case, it will be difficult to argue against the examiner's opinion.
The second option is to return to work. If you have trouble completing the tasks that you were assigned by your employer, schedule a visit with your doctor. Explain to him or her what difficulties you had. He or she might be willing to modify the restriction to allow you to remain off work until you have fully recovered.
If you do choose to accept the light duty option, be careful about which tasks you perform at work. Stick to the restrictions laid out by your doctor. If your employer notices you doing restricted work, the insurance company could argue you are not impaired and should return to work full-time.
Navigating workers' compensation law can be challenging. It is important to work with an experienced attorney from a company like Shaw Leslie Law Office who can help you make the right moves to protect your claim.