What If I Can’t Work or Need ‘Light Duty’ After a Work Injury?

Recovering from an injury can be tough. It may be even more complicated if you were injured on the job, filed a South Carolina workers’ compensation claim and are trying to return to work while healing.

If you have been injured on the job and have made a workers’ compensation claim that has been accepted, you may not be able to resume your normal job duties until you have recovered completely. Workers’ compensation laws can be tricky, but South Carolina has provisions that can help during the recovery period.

Once a workers’ compensation claim has been accepted, your employer has the right to choose the doctor you will see to treat the injuries you suffered on the job. If the authorized doctor puts you on any kind of restricted or light duty as part of the medical treatment, your employer is obligated to find a job for you within those restrictions.

But that doesn’t mean a job within the restrictions set by the doctor already exists – it means the doctor has set parameters for the kind of work you can perform while you recover. Your employer can create a new position that meets the doctor’s requirements, but does not have to do so if such a job will not work for the company.

If your employer does not have a job for you or can’t create one within your medical restrictions, your employer will have to pay temporary total disability benefits, or weekly payments for your time out of work.

Typically, these payments are equal to two-thirds of your gross average weekly wage before the injury. These payments should continue until you are able to return to work or the authorized doctor releases you from treatment.

If you have any trouble with work restrictions, job accommodations or payment for your time out of work in your workers’ compensation case, a qualified lawyer can help you through the process and help protect your rights.