What should I do if my employer gives me a light duty job offer?
Workers Compensation - June 9, 2017
As a general rule, we recommend that you accept light duty. However, every case is different. Depending on your unique circumstances, it may not be in your best interest to accept light duty.
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help you with your workers’ comp light duty case. The legal team of dedicated Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys has a reputation for excellence and deep knowledge of the system.
Michael Horwitz, one of the law firm’s partners, has been named one of the Top 10 Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Illinois by Leading Lawyers.
Call Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates in Chicago today at (800) 985-1819, or fill out the online contact form for a free case evaluation.
What happens when your employer offers light duty?
When light duty is offered, two things could occur. One, when they offer light duty, the weekly disability pay you’re getting is going to stop. So the only way to earn money is to return to light duty.
If you don’t accept the light duty, you risk being fired. The employer has offered you a job, and if you’re a no-show they can discharge you for cause. That can create all kinds of problems for your case.
Therefore, it is our recommendation that you attempt light duty. If you are not clear about it, talk to an attorney so they can go over your restrictions, and make sure you are put in a position where you are not going to re-injure yourself, and it’s safe. That’s the key for preventing further injury and keeping yourself safe – making sure your employer doesn’t do anything unsafe with you.
Things to keep in mind
If your doctor has released you to light duty with specific restrictions, such as no lifting, bending, stooping, climbing, crawling, or reaching, and your employer is willing to accommodate those restrictions, you pretty much have to try the job.
If you don’t try the job, and if you’ve been receiving workers’ comp benefits, your benefits will probably be cut off.
If you try the job and you find you’re able to do it, then that’s fine. If the job pays less than what your pre-injury line of work would pay, you can be compensated for the difference in pay.
If you find that you’re unable to do the job, you can always go back to your doctor and see if he’ll tighten up the restrictions.
If you find that the job is outside your restrictions, we would advise you to remind the employer that you’ve been released to specific restrictions so that they tailor it to your specific restrictions.
What to do if you’re put on light duty but no jobs are available
Being placed on light duty does not necessarily mean your employer will have light duty jobs available, or that any available light duty jobs will have comparable hours to your previous hours and wages.
If either one of these is true in your case, you may be eligible for wage loss benefits.
If you are put on light duty at work but there are no light duty jobs available, there are a few things you should do.
First, keep records of everything: the date you were placed on light duty, any documentation that came along with that assignment, and the dates and times that you called your employer to inquire about light duty jobs along with a description of what you talked about.
If your employer states that there are not any light duty jobs currently available, take thorough notes of the conversation.
Second, continue checking in with your place of work – regularly and often – to see if there are any new light duty jobs available that meet your set restrictions. Continue to keep records of these conversations.
Lastly, if your employer does end up finding and offering you a light duty position, accept the job and complete it to the best of your ability, even if it’s not the type of job you would prefer to be doing.
If you are offered a light duty job and fail to accept and attempt it, you may be denied wage loss benefits through workers’ compensation. It is imperative that you give any open light duty jobs a shot to protect your chances of receiving the maximum amount of workers’ compensation and wages that are available to you.
Let our team at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates help
Navigating the ins and outs of workers’ comp light duty issues can be challenging, but you don’t have to figure it out alone. Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help you understand your specific case, your rights, and your options.
For more than three generations, our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys have fought for injured laborers, recovering millions of dollars on behalf of countless workers in Illinois. Call Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates in Chicago today at (800) 985-1819, or fill out the online contact form for a free case evaluation.