Under workers’ compensation benefits through an employer, an employee is covered if they sustain an injury while working. However, what if — while you’re continuing to rest at home — your boss offers you light work and you decline? Will you lose your workers’ comp benefits in doing so?
We’re here to help you answer that question. Read on to learn about what light-duty work entails, namely when an employer can offer it, when an employee may decline it, and what health measures you should take before returning to work.
Luckily, you do not have to take on such a situation alone. If your employer is headquartered in New Jersey, searching for work injury lawyers in Trenton New Jersey will give you the best opportunity to obtain the benefits you are entitled to. Generally, a lawyer will meet with you, free-of-charge, before officially accepting you as a client in a workers’ compensation claim.
Light-Duty Work: When Does It Become Available?
Your doctor may advise you to slowly resume work after you’ve healed from your job-related injury. However, how much work you are advised to participate in depends on the seriousness of your injury. It may be recommended that you adhere to specific physical limits to prevent jeopardizing your recovery.
Limitations could involve:
– What kind of job you’ll be able to perform
– The maximum amount of hours you may work in a day
– The max amount of weight you should be lifting at work
– How long to stand or sit without aggravating your injury
– If you need to take regular breaks to avoid pain
Light-Duty Work: Am I Required To Accept?
While you may be questioning whether or not you should accept a lighter workload when ready to return to work, you may not realize that your employer doesn’t have to keep your job open until you return or even give you light-duty tasks. If your boss does offer work that adheres to the limitations your doctor has set, you are required to accept or you risk the chance that your benefits will be terminated.
On the other hand, if you are offered work that goes beyond the limitations recommended by a doctor, you may be permitted to stay off the job and continue receiving benefits.
Safeguard Your Health
If you go back to work too quickly, you run the risk of impeding your recovery, raising your chances of re-injury, and possibly worsening your current injury.
You should always remember that your employer and insurance provider are losing money while you’re receiving workers’ comp benefits. Because of this, it will benefit them financially to have you working again as quickly as possible.
If you find yourself in the following situations, you may require legal assistance:
– Despite taking the necessary measures medically and adhering to your doctor’s orders, you are being pressured by your employer to return to work before you should, as recommended by your doctor.
– Your payments have been suspended because you declined a light-duty job provided by your employer, but was beyond the limitations set by your doctor.
– Your workers’ compensation claim was rejected and are not receiving benefits as a result.
Stay In Contact With Your Job
It is up to you to keep your employer informed about the progress of your recovery, though you cannot be forced to return to work against the recommendation of your doctor. By staying in contact with your employer, you show them that you are anxious to return to your job when you are able to.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you are being pushed to get back to work despite your doctor ordering that you do not, it’s strongly advised that you retain legal counsel immediately. Being pressured to go back to work when you are not ready is dangerous to your recovery and should not be tolerated.