Returning to Work on Light DutyJanuary 24, 2018
When an employee has suffered from a workplace injury, Workers’ Compensation covers the medical expenses associated with the injury. The employee will also be reimbursed for any lost wages for any missed work time due to their injury. This can cost an employer a great deal of money in increased insurance premiums. As a result, injured workers are often encouraged to return to work as soon as possible, even if they have not fully recovered from their injury. To avoid the continued expense of lost wage benefits, the employer may require the injured worker to return to work on a light duty capacity. Before agreeing to light duty, workers should be aware of their rights so that they do not return to work too soon and risk aggravating their injury.
Workers’ Compensation light duty involves work that is physically less strenuous, avoiding heavy lifting, long periods of standing, and extended hours. It is in the best interest of the employer for the injured employee to return to work as soon as possible. However, if the worker’s injury was serious, pushing themselves too soon can exacerbate the injury, undoing much of the progress that had been made. While light duty is considered beneficial to both the employer and the employee, Maryland Workers’ Compensation laws are in place to protect the injured worker. If light duty could cause further injury or reverse the progress of the medical treatment, the injured worker should not be pressured to accept light duty.
Employer Must Accommodate Light Duty Restrictions
When an injured worker returns on light duty, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the worker does not feel pressure to overdo it, either from other employees, a supervisor, or any other individual who may assume that the worker has fully recovered. Even the injured worker may be tempted to do more too soon if they are feeling better. Unfortunately, this can backfire and lead to new, and more serious injuries.
If light duty is offered to an employee and it adheres to their physical restrictions, the worker is required to return to work in this capacity even though it may not be an ideal scenario for them. For example, light duty for an injured construction worker may involve filing papers or answering phones until they have fully recovered from the injury. If the worker refuses to return to light duty, their Workers’ Compensation benefits may be terminated.
Deciding whether to accept light duty or not can be a difficult decision for some employees. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer can present the pros and cons of both, but ultimately it is up to the employee to decide what is more important, their financial health or their physical health.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Employees
If you have been injured at work, it is important that you know your rights when it comes to Workers’ Compensation benefits. The experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will walk you through the claims process and ensure that you receive the maximum benefits that you are entitled to while protecting you from a situation that could cause further injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.