The treating or “company” doctor in a Workers’ Compensation case may make a determination that an injured worker is able to go back to work, but only on a limited or light duty basis for some period of time. A good example is someone with a back injury who the doctor says can work, but can only lift a certain number of pounds (like 10 pounds or 15 pounds, for example).
The employee then needs to inform the employer of the doctor's recommended medical restriction. The law says the employer must try to seek an accomodation of the injured worker's medical needs. This is to say that if there is some type of work available at the place of employment, the physical requirements of which would comply with the doctor's orders, then the worker can go back to work at that accomodated job position (in the above example, a job which does not require lifiting more than 10 or 15 pounds). This accomodated job is called "light duty work."
If there is light duty work available at your job, your employer can let you work on a limited basis only so long as there is an accommodation of the specific medical restrictions that the company doctor sets out. The injured worker may still be able to get some amount of benefits while on light duty to make up the difference in lost wages. That is called Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), but is quite rare.
If your job does not have any light duty work available for you, you will likely be able to continue to receive Temporary Total Disability (TTD) payments for the time lost from work while under active treatment for the injury. This means, if your job doesn’t have any light duty available, you stay home until the doctor says you can go back to work without medical restrictions. In the meantime, you continue to receive your weekly workers’ compensation payments to help you maintain your family while you cannot work.
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The Hein Law Firm accepts injury cases on a contingency basis. This means you only pay attorney's fees if we get you compensation. For a free consultation with a lawyer, call us at (314) 645-7900, or contact us online.