When a work-related injury results in time off, your employer's worker's compensation insurance tries to fill the gap. In most cases, your medical treatment costs are paid and you can stay home and collect a disability wage. In some cases, however, you may be ready to return to work under what is known as light duty. To find out how light-duty work affects your financial situation, read on.
Disability Wages and Light Duty
The light-duty decision is made by your worker's compensation doctor working in tandem with the insurer. If you are not yet ready to return to your previous position, light-duty may be in order. You may not have a choice in the matter, however. If your insurer orders you to perform light-duty work, you may have to do so or risk losing your benefits.
In most cases, hurt workers are paid a partial wage while they recuperate at home. This wage amount is never 100% but is often around 66% of the full wage. The actual percentage varies from state to state. When light duty is called for, the disability wage amount changes in relation to the job earnings. In no case are claimants allowed to earn more than they would have from their most recent position before they were hurt. In other words, your pay from any light-duty work reduces your partial disability pay by the amount equal to your previous salary.
What is Light Duty?
Each case is unique and a lot depends on your education and experience. Light duty can be at the same job location as your previous position if they have available and suitable positions. The positions have to meet the medical requirements for your level of disability, however. If you are able to perform the same duties as your most recent job but not full-time, light-duty can also be a part-time job. Suitable jobs must meet certain requirements You should not be asked to perform jobs that are injurious, far away from your home, outside the scope of your experience or training, or that are inappropriate in any way.
When Light Duty is Not Suitable
If you disagree with the job or your medical evaluation that led to the light-duty decision, speak to a worker's compensation attorney at once. The rules about light-duty work are very specific and must take into account several factors. You have the right to a second medical exam and to several levels of hearings and appeals. Speak to an attorney to find out how to fight the light-duty ruling and get compensated properly for your injury.
For more information, contact a law firm like Neifert Byrne & Ozga.