What Is Light Duty When You're On Workers' Comp in DC, Maryland Or Virginia?

Before going back to work, the doctor can put you on light duty. Basically, he gives you restrictions that say you can do some activities, but not everything your job requires. Usually your doctor will say you can't lift over 20 pounds after a back injury, or no overhead work after a torn rotator cuff surgery, or no climbing ladders after a knee surgery. If you have any type of restriction from your work injury that prevents you from doing your regular job, and your company offers you work within those restrictions, that's light duty.

Did you know that sometimes light duty can actually help you recover more quickly, and get you back to work in shorter time?  Every injured worker needs to make sure they stay informed about their light duty position and the worker's compensation process.

What Is Light Duty Work After A Work Injury?

Remember, light duty means that you're at work performing some duties (not the full duties of your job) and you are being paid accordingly. Also, remember, if you are earning less money than you were at the time you got hurt (and that's per week, not just your hourly rate) you should be getting workers comp checks to make up the difference while you're on light duty.

The Simple Way To Calculate Your Worker's Comp Benefits:

If you are getting paid the same per week (with overtime and bonuses calculated for your weekly wage) you will get a paycheck from your company again and you won't get any further workers' compensation benefits.

If you're making less money on light duty because you are working less hours or can't do overtime like you used to, your workers comp benefits would be 2/3 of the difference between your wages at the time you got hurt and the new light duty job. These benefits are called Temporary Partial Disability benefits.

Light duty doesn't stop you from getting your disability benefits, but if you're offered light work duty work within your restrictions and you turn it down, the workers comp insurance company can stop or reduce your benefits. (And you should bet they will).

But, What Should You Do If Your Employer Doesn’t Offer Light Duty?

If your company doesn't offer light duty work, they have to continue to pay your full workers compensation rate.

Many construction companies do not have light duty in the trade. So, even though a doctor may say you can return to some work with restrictions, until you are cleared to return to full duty, your workers' comp benefits should continue at the full rate.  So it is really important to get a note or disability slip from your doctor indicating any restrictions or limitations you have because of the work injury.

Your Benefits Checks Should Be Coming On a Regular Basis

If you worker's compensation benefits checks are not arriving at the same time every time (or if they stop altogether), you need to speak we our experienced worker's compensation attorneys right away. We know that just because the workers' compensation check is late, it doesn't mean that you can pay your bills late. Even with a serious, legitimate work injury, the workers comp system is an uphill battle - and you're standing at the bottom of the hill. Many workers have problems getting their compensation checks delivered consistently - they are often one, two, three days or even a week late. Don't let this happpen to you. Contact us today at 202-393-3320. 

Speak To An Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyer 

You're probably under a lot of stress due to the uncertainty - most people are - because how can you know what or how much you should be getting, or how to get the best medical care for your injuries, or what type of benefits you can get in the future? Don't worry - we help you with all that. So just call us at 202-393-3320 and you will speak with a real person who wants to hear your story. We make time to answer questions about work injuries in D.C., Maryland and Virginia every week and we'd love to hear from you.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer