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What You Should Know About Light Duty Work

For injured employees, the ultimate goal of workers’ compensation is to help make life easier for them, allowing them the time to recover from their injuries before returning to work. However, in cases when a doctor places light duty restrictions on an employee returning to work or an employer offers a worker the chance to return and perform light-duty work while he or she is still recovering, some questions might arise.

We have compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked questions regarding light-duty work and some answers to shed some clarity on what it could mean for you.

Defining Light-Duty Work

Light-duty work generally refers to work that is less physically or mentally demanding than a worker's normal job duties. Light-duty work may be assigned on a temporary basis until an injured worker is fully healed or as a permanent job alteration to comply with doctor restrictions.

Does My Employer Have to Offer Light-Duty Work?

Generally, an employer does not have to provide light duty work as an option to employees seeking to return to work after sustaining an injury on the job. That said, if an employer does offer an employee light-duty work, turning down an offer could possibly make you ineligible for supplemental job displacement benefits, unless your physician did not authorize it. If you reject an offer of light-duty work that lasts at least 12 months, meets your medical restrictions, pays at least 85% of what you previously made, and is within reasonable commuting distance, it is possible that you will not get payments to cover the schooling or training that might be necessary for you to get a new job.

Do Employers Have to Reinstate a Workers on Light-Duty Work Restrictions to Their Original Position?

Employers are not allowed to take any adverse action against an employee for using the workers’ compensation benefits to which he or she is entitled to. As such, they cannot deny a worker the right to resume his or her job once sufficiently recovered, even if he or she accepted reemployment with light-duty restrictions. If your injury develops into a permanent disability, you also have the right to be reinstated to a modified job or an alternative job as long as you are able to perform the essential functions with or without reasonable accommodations.

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Sacramento Fighting for Injured Workers

No matter what your circumstances are, your case can greatly benefit from having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side to ensure your rights are protected. Workers’ compensation can be a complex area of law, but an attorney can help you navigate these complexities and keep you from missing out on any crucial benefits that could make your life easier during this difficult time.

If you were injured at work or developed a repetitive stress injury over time, you have a right to workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, many employers and insurance companies push back to keep workers from obtaining these vital benefits. At Smolich & Smolich, our Sacramento workers’ compensation attorneys will fight for you and guide you throughout the process. No matter what stage in the claims-filing process you are in, our team will effectively get you through it to obtain the favorable resolution you need to assist you with your recovery.

Contact our office today at (916) 571-0400 to schedule your free case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team.

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