Can My Employer Make Me Do Light Duty Work?
Light duty work before you’re ready
Many injured workers who are in the midst of a workers compensation claim are offered light duty work before they feel they are ready to return to work. We get many calls asking us whether this is legal.
In a workers compensation case, the authorized physician (selected by your employer or its insurance carrier) determines whether or not you are able to work. That physician states in writing your specific work restrictions and provides those to your employer.
Indiana light duty practices
Employers in Indiana are oftentimes quite aggressive in their efforts to get their employees back to work after a work injury. They are motivated to do so because the longer you remain off work and receive a weekly workers compensation check, the more your claim costs your employer and the more their insurance rates may increase. That said, it is not always a bad thing to aggressively try to get a worker back to work. Studies have shown that the quicker someone returns to work, the better they do with their physical recovery and the better they do mentally.
Employee steps to take in determining readiness to resume work
If you are being told to return to work before you feel that you are ready, we advise going through this checklist:
- Call the physician and ask if the he or she will increase your restrictions.
- Talk to the insurance adjuster about your specific concerns.
- Talk to your employer.
- If all else fails, the judge may or may not be able to assist you. The judge is an employee of the Indiana Workers Compensation Board, and may be able to provide some impartial and legal recourse for you.
Some or all of these may help, but ultimately, the physician is in the best position to determine your ability to work.
Find an experienced Indiana-based workers compensation attorney
If you need to talk with an attorney, please give one of our attorneys a call. We have offices throughout the state including Evansville, Indianapolis, Lafayette, New Harmony, Jeffersonville, or South Bend. Even if you live somewhere else, we can easily help you remotely from any of our offices.