Light Duty Restrictions And Your Right To Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you are injured on the job in New Jersey, you are likely entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits help injured workers cover any medical expenses they accrue while recovering from their injuries or to replace any lost wages they suffer as a result of missing work while recovering from their injuries. However, in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must file a written claim with your employer. After you submit this claim, you will be evaluated by an approved workers’ compensation doctor who will determine whether or not you are disabled and whether or not you can continue working. After evaluating you, the doctor may determine that you are temporarily disabled, but can continue working with “light duty restrictions.” If a workers’ compensation doctor declares that you are temporarily disabled due to your injury, but that you can still work subject to “light duty restrictions,” you will be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, but you will still be required to perform job duties subject to said restrictions. So, what are “light duty restrictions” and what are your rights if you are placed on them after filing a workers’ compensation claim?
Types of Light Duty Restrictions
Generally speaking, if a workers’ compensation doctor determines that you can continue working subject to “light duty restrictions,” it means that you are physically or mentally unable to perform all of the essential job functions of your official job title. However, you are still considered healthy enough to perform some of the essential job functions of your official job title or to perform job functions different from the ones you typically perform at work. There are three types of “light duty restrictions” a doctor can place on an injured worker: (1) sedentary restrictions, (2) lifting restrictions, and (3) one handed restrictions.
Sedentary restrictions are types of light duty restrictions that a doctor can place on an injured worker if the worker’s injuries preclude him or her from standing for long periods of a time or from lifting objects weighing more than 10 pounds. If an injured worker is subject to sedentary light duty restrictions, the injured worker is permitted to perform job functions that can be done while sitting like reviewing invoices, ordering inventory, or shredding documents.
Like the name suggests, a doctor may declare an injured worker fit to work subject to certain lifting restrictions. In certain occupations, lifting restrictions are considered light duty restrictions because the injured worker’s official job title requires him or her to be able to lift objects upwards of 50 pounds. Examples of job functions that can be performed while subject to lifting restrictions include cleaning and sharpening tools and performing safety checks.
One Handed Restrictions
One handed restrictions are forms of light duty restrictions a doctor places on an injured worker if the worker’s injuries are to only one of the worker’s arms or hands. Job functions that can be performed when subject to one handed restrictions include painting, light cleaning, and formulating employee manuals and other written materials.
Your Workers’ Compensation Rights When Subject To Light Duty Restrictions
If a workers’ compensation doctor clears you for work subject to light duty restrictions, you are generally required to continue working while recovering from your injuries. According to New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws, if a doctor places you on light duty restrictions and you refuse to return to work subject to said restrictions, you may lose any temporary workers’ compensation benefits you are awarded and your employer may be legally permitted to fire you.
However, sometimes, an employer or workers’ compensation insurance company may pressure you to go back to work before you are fully healed or an employer may try to fire you because you have been placed on light duty restrictions. If either is the case, then should immediately contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your legal options.
Contact an Atlantic City Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Brown Law represent clients in Atlantic City, and all across New Jersey. Call 609-336-4144 or email us today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 3123 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 201, Atlantic City, NJ 08401.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.