Permanent light duty exists to help workers with long-term injuries
If you have been involved in a worker’s compensation claim you might have heard the term ‘light duty’ used by your company or your physician. The legal problems of a compensation claim can be tricky and it is easy to fall victim to rules that you are not even aware of. Some information can go a long way in preventing you from falling victim to the system. In the case of workers compensation claims there is a fine line between temporary and permanent light duty with different repercussions for the employer and the employee on either side of the line. Permanent light duty exists to help workers with long-term injuries such as amputation or paralysis.
What is Light Duty Work?
Temporary light duty is an interim arrangement created to help a worker recover from an injury. In the State of Nevada it is illegal for an employer to fire an employee for being injured on the job (outside of gross negligence on the part of the employee) or for filing a worker’s comp claim. This law is meant to keep a company from persecuting an injured worker and defeating the point of the worker’s compensation program. Many companies design light duty jobs to keep the employee able to participate in the workplace while recovering from an injury.
Benefits of Light Duty
Some studies have shown that light duty work can speed recovery from injury and can keep the employee in a more positive mindset. Because there is evidence that points to temporary light duty work as being beneficial to employees it is important to participate in any appropriate light duty work assigned. In a reasonable world a temporary light duty program will be used by a company to motivate an employee to recover from injury by letting them contribute and puts them around familiar settings and coworkers. A sense of duty and fulfillment can go a long way to helping an injured person to complete therapy and treatment and resume normal functions.
A company can also create mind-numbing and degrading temporary light duty programs that are thinly-veiled threats to employees not to file complaints or to get injured.
Why Should I Show Up for Light Duty Work?
Be aware, laws exist that allows a company to fire an employee on temporary light duty for not showing to work or performing at expectations in the job. When the job is humiliating or exceptionally dull it can be easy for an employee to fail to perform and the company can then fire the injured worker. Insurance companies may also able to stop paying for medical bills when a worker has been fired from the job where the accident took place. Be wary, if you do not show up for a light duty assignment it can be grounds for termination even after a worker’s compensation claim has been filed.
To protect yourself, it is important to speak frankly with a physician about what activities you can and cannot do while injured. If a temporary light duty assignment is given to you by a company go over the requirements with your physician and make certain there is nothing that will put you at risk. Even if the light duty works seems demeaning or meaningless it is important to continue to show up for work to avoid being fired before the compensation claim can even be processed. Be direct with your employer about the limitations you are experiencing and the impact the light duty work is having on your recovery. Communication is important and a sense of mistrust will only make matters worse.
Why Should I Seek Legal Advice?
To better understand the laws involved and to protect your rights in the event of a workplace injury it is important to contact an attorney that can guide you through the process. An experienced attorney, knowledgeable in worker’s compensation laws in the state of Nevada, can help you keep your job, receive appropriate compensation, and speed your recovery to full work status. Nothing impedes recovery like stress and legal matters are some of the most stressful events you can experience. Let someone with know-how and experience tackle these problems for you.