South Carolina, like most states, provides workers’ compensation benefits for people who are injured while on the job. The objective of the employer-paid insurance program is to support injured employees financially until they can return to work from their workplace injury.
Many injured workers initially return to light-duty work at their place of employment. As a workers’ comp benefits recipient, you must accept light work if it is ordered. If you do not accept, your workers’ comp financial benefits may be cut off. If you believe that you are not yet able to do the light duty work assigned, you have the right to a hearing before the workers’ compensation commission.
If you feel that your employer is forcing you to return to work before you have adequately recovered from your workplace injury, you should seek dependable legal guidance. The South Carolina workers’ compensation system has complicated rules and appeal procedures. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney at Joye Law Firm may be able to help you appeal a back-to-work order and maintain your benefits until you are fully recovered and ready to return to work.
The attorneys at Joye Law Firm have proudly represented injured people in South Carolina for more than 50 years. Call us at 888-324-3100 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
What Is Light Duty for Workers’ Compensation?
At some point during an injured worker’s recovery, the treating physician may clear them to return to work subject to various limitations based on the nature of their injury. If the employer can accommodate the work restrictions ordered, the employer may offer the worker their former position with lighter duties or another position within the limitations and restrictions provided by the treating physician. Assuming that the work offered meets the treating physician’s criteria, the employee must return to the light duty work or forfeit their financial workers’ compensation disability benefits.
Employers are not required to create positions to accommodate employees cleared for light duty. If there is no suitable position available, the employee’s status as a workers’ compensation beneficiary should not change.
Do I Get Workers’ Comp Benefits While on Light Duty?
When an employee accepts light duty work, their workers’ comp wage replacement benefits will end if they are returned to their previous rate of pay or higher pay. However, employers usually pay less for light-duty work. In this case, the employee should start receiving partial wage-replacement benefits to ensure they continue to receive the full two-thirds of the average weekly wages they earned before the injury.
Workers’ compensation continues to cover all reasonable medical expenses related to your occupational injury or illness while you work in a light-duty role.
If light-duty work proves too strenuous for your condition, you can ask the treating physician to change your status back to disabled. At this point, your full disability benefit should resume.