It is essential to know what to do right after a work injury, but it is equally important to have the facts straight about the whole workers’ compensation process and how it applies to your case. If your doctor clears you for a light-duty work position, it is because they feel that you have recovered enough to start participating in the workforce again, although in a less physically or mentally stressful job.
Do I have to accept the work that I’m assigned?
Generally, yes, you have to accept the assigned light-duty work. If you refuse the work assignment, you will stop receiving your workers’ compensation benefits.
What if I disagree about qualifying for light-duty work?
If you feel that you are unable to do the assigned light-duty work, you can appeal the decision at a hearing with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help advocate for your rights.
What happens if the wage for the light-duty job is less than what I made at my regular job?
If the money you earn on your light-duty position is less than your regular pay, South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system has a solution to get more income in your pocket. Workers’ compensation insurance will pay you 66 2/3% of the difference between the two rates of pay.
While it is critical to comply with the law to keep your benefits, be sure not to overdo it while returning to light duty. Even though you are transitioning to a full return to your job, the time during your light duty assignment is also for injury recovery. You have the best chance of returning to work in good health if you take care of yourself.