Do You Have to Accept a Light-Duty Position While on Workers Compensation?

Depending on what you do for a living, you may not be able to envision yourself working in a light-duty position. It may seem too far removed from your current job. However, your Orlando workers comp attorney will explain that this may happen after you suffer a workplace injury.

What Constitutes a Light-Duty Position?

If you’ve never suffered a workplace injury, you may not know what light duty is. Light duty is essentially a special position your employer creates for you that isn’t physically demanding.

Usually, when your employer offers you a light-duty position, they have the following tasks in mind:

  • Filing or answering phones
  • Supervising workers from afar
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Monitoring CCTV cameras
  • Receptionist duties
  • Administrative duties

For people who typically engage in physical work, these duties can seem foreign. However, unless your Orlando workers comp attorney can find a doctor who believes you aren’t ready, you must accept the position.

What is the Difference Between Light-Duty Position and Modified Duty in Florida?

It is important to make a distinction between light duty and modified duty. When your employer wants you back to work, they may put you in a light-duty position. They understand that you aren’t ready to come back to work full-time. Therefore, they give you what feels like busy work for a few weeks or months.

Modified duty, on the other hand, is when your employer modifies your previous duties. They consider any restrictions and limitations your workers’ comp doctor imposes. You’ll still do some parts of your job, but not those tasks that can re-injure you.

Can Your Employer Demand That You Return to Work At Any Time?

One of the worrisome things for a lot of our clients is the notion that they can be called back to work at any time. Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, this could happen within days or weeks of your original diagnosis.

You need to trust that your Orlando workers comp attorney has your best interest at heart. They won’t allow your employer to take advantage of you. However, they cannot keep you out of work forever. Unless you’re physically disabled, that simply isn’t possible.

Your Orlando Workers Comp Attorney Can Intervene on Your Behalf

If, at any point, you feel that you’re being asked to do more than you can manage, let your attorney know. Your workers’ comp lawyer in Orlando will step in. They will communicate to your employer or the insurance company that you need to return home to focus on your recovery.

One thing to keep in mind is that your workers’ comp doctor will examine you at various points. If they think you’re exaggerating your injuries, they’ll let the insurance company know. The same is true if they think you’re not being honest about being able to perform your light-duty position tasks.

Your Orlando Workers Comp Attorney Can Always Challenge Your Return to Work

If you’re being asked to return to work too soon, even in a light-duty position your workers’ comp lawyer in Orlando can let the insurance carrier know. It’s important to remember that, to your employer, your being out of work is hurting their bottom line.

As much as your company appreciates you and cares about your well-being, they care about their money more. They cannot afford for workers to be out of work any longer than necessary. If you simply aren’t ready to go back, your lawyer will challenge your return.

 

light-duty position

Your Workers Comp Lawyer in Orlando Can Get a Second Opinion

One of the first things your Orlando workers comp attorney will do is get you a second opinion. They will reach out to an independent doctor and have them examine you. If this new doctor disagrees with your workers’ comp doctor, they will write a report stating as much.

What you can do at that point is submit a copy of this report to the insurance carrier. If they still insist you’re ready to return to work, your workers’ comp lawyer in Orlando can appeal the issue.

What if You Refuse to Accept the Light-Duty Position?

One thing you don’t want to do is refuse a light-duty position. Your employer has a legal right to demand you come back to work. This is especially true if your doctor has determined that you’ve achieved maximum medical improvement.

If you refuse to accept this light-duty position, there is a good chance your workers’ compensation benefits will be terminated. This means you will be without an income for some time. It is usually better to accept the modified position and let your Orlando workers comp attorney work things out with the insurance company.

At Some Point, Your Doctor Will Determine That You Reached Maximum Medical Improvement

Once your workers’ comp doctor determines you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, one of two things will happen. You’ll return to work, usually in your previous position. In some situations, you will have to continue in the light-duty position. Or you’ll be declared disabled.

Depending on your doctor’s notes, you may not be able to return to work ever again. Even if your workers’ comp doctor doesn’t think you’re disabled, an independent doctor may disagree. The question may have to be answered at a worker’s comp hearing.

If You’re Disabled, Your Workers Comp Lawyer Will Try to Negotiate a Settlement

If your Orlando workers comp attorney believes you’re disabled, they will demand further compensation. The amount you’ll receive will depend on the body part that you injured. It will also depend on your percentage of disability.

For example, imagine that you hurt your back in a workplace accident. Ultimately, your independent doctor finds that you are 50% disabled. This may be enough to convince the insurance company that you are unable to return to work as planned.

This is also the point at which your workers’ comp lawyer in Orlando will attempt to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

Schedule Your Free, Initial Consultation With an Orlando Workers Comp Attorney

If your employer is pressuring you to return to work in a light-duty position, make sure to let an Orlando workers comp attorney know. While you are expected to return to work at some point, you shouldn’t be forced to go back before you’re ready.

Sometimes, employers assume that it’s okay to put somebody on light duty. They imagine that it’s better to have the employee at work than sitting at home. However, if you return to work too quickly, you can end up in worse shape.

We suggest you call our office today so we can schedule your free, initial consultation.

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