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Workers’ Compensation: What If My Doctor Says I Can Do Easy Work?

When injured workers start receiving workers’ compensation benefits, the goal is for it to be a temporary solution. Hopefully, the worker will take the time he or she needs to heal or recover, and when their doctor says they’re ready, they can return to work.

Depending on the severity of the worker’s injury, the worker may return to work before they are 100% fully recovered. Sometimes, a full recovery isn’t in the picture due to the location and extent of the injuries. In these situations, the worker may be told by their doctor that they can go back to work, but they’ll have to do lighter work, or work that is less physically demanding than what they did before.

When Your Doctor Releases You to Light Duty

Suppose you hurt your back really bad while lifting something heavy at work. At first, your back was virtually paralyzed. You had almost no range of motion and it hurt to brush your teeth or lay down in bed. But as the weeks went by, the pain slowly started to subside. You still can’t lift anything beyond five pounds, but you can certainly walk around and answer phones. You can also do light work like filing or entering data into a computer. Since your condition improved to this extent, your doctor releases you to “light duty.”

“What does it mean if my doctor releases me to light duty?” If your doctor releases you to light duty, it means you have no choice but to accept light work. If you refuse to accept light work for any reason, all of your workers’ compensation benefits will cease. In other words, if your doctor says you can handle light work and you refuse to take it, you won’t be entitled to benefits any longer. You do however, have a right to an appeal.

“If you return to light work before you are fully discharged by the doctor at a wage less than you were earning at the time of your original injury, you are entitled to weekly compensation at the rate of 66 2/3% of the difference between your average weekly wage and your new wage,” according to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Next: How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina?

To file a workers’ compensation claim, contact Masella Law Firm, P.A.