In Florida, you can only collect workers compensation benefits for two years. If your doctor determines that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement at some point during that two-year period, you’ll be expected to go back to work. If you aren’t ready, your employer may be willing to find a light-duty position for you. In fact, depending on the feedback your employer gets from your workers compensation doctor, they may call you back to a light-duty position sooner than you think. If you don’t think you can handle this light-duty position, let your Coral Springs workers comp lawyer know. They’ll see what they can do to keep this from happening. Just know that if you’re physically well enough to go back to work, you won’t have much choice. There’s only so much your Florida injury lawyer can do when it comes to returning to light-duty.
Here, we’ll explain what happens when you’re called back to work in a light duty job. We will also let you know what to do if you’re called back before you’re ready. We like to offer new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to meet with one of our seasoned Coral Springs workers comp lawyers and get their advice. They’ll let you know if they think you have to go back to work. If they feel you need more time, they may appeal the issue with your employer and their insurance carrier. Everything depends on the facts surrounding your case and the nature of your injuries.
Why Would Anybody Be Required to Perform Light Duty Jobs?
The reason companies provide light duty jobs for their employees is that it lets you gradually get back to work. If your injuries are mostly healed but your doctor wants you to get physical therapy for a few weeks, it may be a good idea to go back to work. Your employer will have you do some filing or perform some other type of office work. It depends on what kind of work you normally do.
Some of the common light duty jobs include the following:
- Desk work if you work as a police officer, firefighter, or EMT.
- You could be asked to answer phones if you work for a communications company.
- If you’re a truck driver, you may be asked to work as a dispatcher.
- If you are a nurse, you may be asked to do in-service education for your staff.
- If you’re a mechanic, your manager may have you do inventory, billing, and ordering.
Until you meet with your Coral Springs workers comp lawyer, they won’t know what kind of light-duty you may be asked to do.
Are Light Duty Jobs Full-Time or Part-Time?
Most light-duty positions are between ¾ and full-time. Your employer may not need someone to do filing or office work for a full eight hours a day. Other times, a company’s idea of light duty is having you work half a day rather than a full day. For example, if you’re a cashier, you may be asked to do inventory for a few hours until you’re ready to go back on the register. Working part-time can be a good segue for going back to work full-time.
If you are called back to work on a light duty job, you may still receive partial weekly workers comp benefits. For example, if you go back to work half-time, you would still be entitled to half your weekly benefits. Your part-time rate while on workers comp will not impact your average weekly wages for purposes of benefit calculations. If your employer does this, your Florida injury lawyer will ensure it gets fixed right away. The last thing that should happen is you walk away with less money on a light duty job than you were receiving at home.
Let Your Florida Injury Lawyer Handle the Legal Side of Things
When you go out on workers compensation, the expectation is that you will return to work as soon as you’re healed. While you’re out of work, your employer has to pay somebody else to do your job. They may have had to hire this person especially for the position. Or they may have had to transfer someone from another department. Either way, they need you back so they can put this other person at work in another position. This is something your Florida injury lawyer will explain to you during your initial consultation.
When the time comes for you to return to work, you may be overwhelmed. You’ve been out of work for weeks or months when you’re told you must go back to work. You’re afraid that you’re not physically ready to go back. Or you may worry that you’ll reinjure yourself and end up in even worse shape. The good news is that your Coral Springs workers comp lawyer won’t let you go back until you’re ready. When your workers comp doctor declares that you’re ready to go back, your attorney can always get a second opinion from an independent physician. If this other doctor says you need more treatment, your lawyer will appeal your employer’s command that you come back to work. If this doesn’t work, your Coral Springs workers comp lawyer may be able to convince them to offer you a light duty job. It all depends on the facts surrounding your case.
The important thing to know is that your Florida injury lawyer is there to protect you throughout the workers comp process. While they cannot change the law, they’ll do whatever they can to make sure you aren’t forced back to work too soon. However, if the light duty job you’re offered is something you can clearly do without getting hurt, you’ll have no choice. Your attorney won’t be able to dispute something like that.
Since we offer all new clients a free consultation, you should come in to sit down with one of our Coral Springs workers’ comp lawyers.