Recovering from a job injury or illness happens gradually. At some point, your doctor may authorize you to return to work on light duty. This means that you can work, but with certain restrictions.
If you’ve been getting workers’ compensation in South Carolina, a return to light-duty work can have an impact on your ability to continue receiving benefits. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer from Stewart Law Offices can explain what changes to expect as you get back to work.
Learn more by calling or contacting us today for a free consultation.
What Is Light Duty for Workers’ Compensation?
Light duty means that an employee is cleared to return to work, but is subject to various conditions or limitations based on the nature of the injury or occupational disease.
When a worker is released to light duty, the employer is given the opportunity to offer the employee his or her former position or another available position that meets the criteria specified by the treating physician.
The employee must accept the work, assuming it is suitable, or forfeit his or her workers’ compensation benefits. Whether or not light duty is suitable varies from case to case.
If the employer cannot offer a worker a role that falls within those restrictions, the employee can continue receiving a weekly workers’ compensation check.
Will I Still Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits After Being Released to Light Duty?
An employee may still be entitled to wage benefits after being released to light duty under one of two circumstances:
The employer has no work available within the employee’s limitations, in which case the employee continues receiving full-wage benefits.
The employee returns to work on light duty but makes less than his or her pre-injury wages, either due to a reduction in the number of hours the employee works or due to the lower pay rate of the employee’s new position.
In the second scenario, the employee can continue to receive wage benefits equal to two-thirds of the difference between the employee’s pre-injury average weekly wage and the wages he or she earns on light duty.
Examples of Work Restrictions
Work restrictions after an injury or illness include limitations on:
- The number of hours the employee can work per day or week
- The amount of weight that can be lifted or moved by the employee
- How long the employee is required to walk, stand, or sit
- Whether he or she should be required to walk up stairs or other inclined surfaces
- The specific availability of meals, rest, and/or bathroom breaks
Call a Proven S.C. Work Injury Lawyer at Stewart Law Offices
If you’re still in pain or believe that your treating physician’s opinion about your ability to perform light duties is incorrect, don’t give up your benefits without a fight. A workers’ comp lawyer at Stewart Law Offices can help you request a hearing before the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission to reconsider your situation and whether you can safely and effectively perform your job.
Your health is always the priority at Stewart Law Offices. Schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys today.