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Heavy on the Light Duty Status

 
As an injured worker, you can go in and out of periods of eligibility in receiving your workers’ comp benefits. Specifically, lets look at when your doctor has indicated that you are able to perform some type of work, but with restrictions.

Assuming that your doctor or you provided this information to your employer, a couple of things can happen at this point.

Scenario A – Your company has no light duty for you to return to. They received the doctor’s restrictions, and have indicated that they are unable to accommodate any sort of light duty to meet those restrictions. You need not do anything further, and you will continue to receive your weekly money benefits through the workers’ comp  insurance carrier. The carrier must pay you money benefits at this time.

Scenario B – Your company has received the light duty release from your doctor and they have chosen to create a light duty position for you. Here is where it gets very technical. Your employer MUST provide you a Bona Fide Offer of Light Duty. What this means is that they must give you, in writing (sent via certified mail or hand delivered to you), a description of exactly what you will be doing at work, and this work MUST fit inside the restrictions your doctor has given you. Here is a quick check list of the requirements of Rule 129.6, regarding Bona Fide Offer of Light Duty:

In accordance with Rule 129.6, it SHALL

  • have a copy attached of the work status report on which the offer is being based
  • state the location at which the employee will be working
  • state the schedule the employee will be working
  • state the wages that the employee will be paid
  • provide a description of the physical and time requirements that the position will entail
  • provide a statement that the employer will only assign tasks consistent with the employee’s physical abilities, knowledge, and skills and provide training if necessary
  • offer a position for a job at a location which is geographically accessible (129.6(e))

If even one of these things is missing, you do NOT need to return back to work ( in most circumstances), and the workers’ comp insurance carrier must pay you off-work benefits. If in doubt, you should contact our office for a free consultation regarding this matter. As I stated, this is a very technical issue, and as the employer/insurance carrier has strict guidelines they must adhere to when determining your eligibility for money benefits, you too also have certain responsibilities.

Call me today, we can help you get through this.