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If you’re injured on the job in Missouri, you may be offered work restrictions or light duty. Understanding what this means and how it affects your workers’ compensation case is crucial, but unfortunately it can also be complicated. While it is important to talk with an attorney if you find yourself in this situation, the following information clarifies what work restrictions and light duty mean and how they may affect your workers’ comp case.
What Are Work Restrictions?
Work restrictions are specific limitations set by a medical professional regarding the type of work an injured worker can perform. These restrictions ensure the worker's safety and prevent further injury. Work restrictions vary based on the type of injury and nature of work being performed.
Work restrictions serve as a protective measure. They ensure that injured workers can return to their jobs without risking further harm. By adhering to these guidelines, both employers and employees can maintain a safe working environment.
In Missouri, employers are obligated to respect the work restrictions set by medical professionals. If an employer does not do so, they may face legal consequences. On the other hand, employees must ensure they understand and follow these restrictions to protect their rights and benefits.
Understanding Light Duty in Missouri Workers' Compensation
Light duty refers to a modified version of an employee's regular job or a different job altogether that accommodates their medical restrictions. It's a way for injured workers to return to work without aggravating their injuries.
While Missouri employers are not legally required to offer light duty, many choose to do so. Offering light duty can help retain experienced employees and reduce the costs associated with prolonged absences. Light duty work allows injured workers to earn a wage while they recover.
In reality though, offering light duty benefits insurance companies that provide workers’ comp insurance by reducing how much they have to pay out. This may result in pressuring an employee to accept light duty when it may not be medically advisable. For this reason, having a skilled workers’ comp attorney in your corner is vital.
What to do if you are facing light duty or work restrictions
In Missouri, if an injured worker is offered a light duty role that aligns with their medical restrictions and they refuse, they might risk losing their temporary total disability benefits. It is also important to understand that adhering to work restrictions and accepting light duty roles can influence the benefits an injured worker receives. For instance, if a worker can perform light duty work, their compensation might be adjusted based on their new earnings.
Proper documentation is also vital. Workers should ensure they have clear written restrictions from their medical provider and communicate these to their employer. Similarly, any light duty offer should be documented to protect both parties. Keep your own records and make sure you have a copy of everything to fully document your injury, your medical situation with restrictions, and any information from your workplace regarding your injury and light duty accommodations.
Understanding work restrictions and light duty is essential for injured workers. By being informed and proactive, workers can protect their rights and ensure a smooth recovery process. No matter how clear cut it might seem though, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney to fully understand and protect your rights.
If you or a loved one was injured on the job in Missouri, help is just a phone call away. Call 417-888-0000 to speak with a professional and compassionate workers’ comp expert.