If you have suffered an on-the-job injury and are now in need of light-duty work, you may be wondering what your options are. Workers’ compensation is a system that benefits employees who are injured or become ill due to their job. In most cases, workers’ comp covers medical expenses and lost wages. If you are not able to return to your previous job due to your injury, you may be able to receive benefits for light-duty work.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work-related accident, you are not alone. To help you through this tough time, turn to knowledgeable and compassionate workers’ compensation lawyers. At Collier Law, our workers’ compensation lawyers will help you take the burden off you and your family during recovery.
Light Duty Work in North Carolina
If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you may be eligible for light-duty work. Light-duty work is a modified duty that allows injured employees to return to work before fully recovering. This work often requires fewer hours and/or less physical activity than the employee’s normal job duties.
Many times after an injury, an employer may try to require their employee to return to work light duty. There is a statute that covers what is required for an injured employee to return to work. First, the proposed job must be within the employee’s work restrictions. It must be with the “employer of injury” – i.e., the employer where he or she was injured. Finally, a light duty job description must be approved by the employee’s authorized treating physician.
While working light-duty, you will still be receiving workers’ compensation benefits. You may be entitled to temporary partial disability, or wage-loss differential benefits. You will also continue to receive medical benefits. These benefits will help to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. Contact our law firm if you have any questions about workers’ compensation or light-duty work. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers are here to help.
What is Considered a Light Duty Assignment Under the Workers’ Compensation Law in North Carolina?
There is no definitive answer to this question since it can vary depending on the specifics of your injury. However, some examples of light-duty work include:
- An office worker who is injured and cannot lift heavy objects may be able to return to work with the restriction that they not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds.
- A construction worker who is injured and cannot do heavy manual labor may be able to return to work driving a dump truck or performing office work.
- A factory worker who is injured and cannot stand for long periods may be able to return to work with the restriction that they only work for four hours at a time.
You may be eligible for light-duty work if you have been injured on the job and cannot return to your previous job duties. Be sure to speak with your doctor and a workers’ compensation lawyer to learn more about your rights and options.
Light Duty Restrictions
Here are some examples of restrictions that have been imposed in North Carolina for light duty work:
- The worker can only work four hours at a time.
- The worker can only work five days a week.
- The worker cannot lift anything heavier than 20 pounds.
- The worker cannot do any manual labor.
- Must take frequent breaks.
- No squatting or kneeling.
- No vigorous activity like pulling, climbing, running, jumping, etc.
- No prolonged standing.
- No prolonged walking.
- No heavy lifting or carrying objects weighing 20 pounds or more.
- No repetitive bending or wrist movement.
Here are some examples of job functions that may be available for workers with sedentary restrictions:
- Answering phones
- Filing paperwork
- Data entry
- Writing reports
- Researching information online or in print materials
- Assembling small items
Here are some examples of job functions that may be available for workers with lifting restrictions:
- Greeting customers
- Answering phones
- Restocking shelves
- Cleaning up around the workplace
- Organizing paperwork or files
- Delivering small items around the office or workplace.
Here are some examples of job functions that may be available for workers with one-handed restrictions:
- Answering phones
- Light cleaning duties, like dusting or wiping down computers
- Light office work, like shredding
- Making or answering phone calls (e.g., sales, ordering supplies)
Collier Law is here to help if you have been injured on the job. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can answer your questions and help you understand your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
The Benefits and Downsides of Light-Duty Work
There are many benefits to working light-duty while you recover from a work-related injury. For one, it can help you to start earning an income again. This can be a huge relief for you and your family, especially if you have been out of work for a long period of time. Additionally, working light-duty can help to speed up your recovery. Getting back to a normal routine can do wonders for your mental and physical health.
There are also pitfalls of returning to work light duty. In many instances, you may be earning less and it may take time to recover the wage differential from the workers’ compensation carrier. You may not be ready physically to return to work. And you also risk the potential of being terminated while on light duty. If you are facing the decision whether to return to work light duty, contact our office so we can discuss your options.
Can I Still Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits While on Light Duty Work?
Yes, you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits while working light-duty. In fact, you may even be eligible for partial disability benefits. However, speaking with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is important to learn more about your rights and options.
Do I Have to Take a Light Duty Job?
No, you cannot be forced to take a light-duty job. However, if you are offered a job that meets your restrictions, you may be required to take it or risk losing your workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer before making any decisions about light duty work.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in North Carolina
As an injured worker under North Carolina law, you have a right to fair compensation, and your employer has an obligation to provide it.
Workers’ compensation companies try to rush injured workers through the claims process, which leads to smaller payouts. When you hire a skilled workers’ compensation attorney, you’ll have someone fight for your case. When you’re a client at Collier Law, you are so much more than a number to us: we value our attorney-client relationship and getting the justice you deserve above all else.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We will honestly evaluate the details of your case and offer personalized, compassionate legal counsel at no obligation to you. We work hard to earn our clients’ trust and business, and we only get paid when you do.