What’s the Difference Between Out of Work And On Light-Duty In Virginia Workers’ Comp?

If you’ve been injured on the job in Virginia, there’s an important difference between being put totally out of work and light duty.  In this article, we’ll try to answer some of the most asked questions about the differences between the two types of workers’ compensation benefits and important tips to protect your claim.

Completely unable to work or totally unable to work means just that — you are not able to work in any capacity at any job at this time.

Restricted duty or light duty means you are still able to work, but you might not be physically able to perform any or some of the tasks you did before you were injured.

Get It In Writing!

If your doctor puts you on light-duty or restricted duty, be sure he or she communicates your restrictions in writing very clearly so your employer understands what jobs you can’t do.   It’s usually helpful for you to have an extra copy of these restrictions with you while you are at work.

Can I Do My Own Job?

In many cases, working light duty or restricted duty means that you’ll be doing a different job than before you were injured.  If your employer has a job for you that fits your restrictions, you are usually expected to do that job . . . even if the work is not something you like doing.  Refusing a light duty job from your employer is often considered voluntary abandonment of your job and can hurt your workers’ comp case.

What If My Employer Wants Me To Do Work Outside My Restrictions?

It is usually thought to be your responsibility to make sure that you are working within your restrictions.  If your employer asks you to do a job that is outside the restrictions given by your doctor, politely inform your employer that you are very willing to work.  But, you aren’t able to perform the job right now because it is outside your doctor’s restrictions.  Unfortunately, violating your doctor’s restrictions can hurt your Virginia workers’ compensation case.

Are Restrictions On My Driving Considered Light Duty?

Restrictions on driving DOES NOT mean you are totally unable to work.  Usually, transportation to and from your job is your responsibility. While not being able to drive is very inconvenient for you, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission does not view it as a justifiable reason for missing work.

What If My Employer Can’t Give A Job That Fits My Restrictions?

If your doctor puts you on light duty restrictions and your employer can’t give you a job to fit those restrictions, then you will have to look for ANY job that fits your restrictions.  This means that you will need to do job searches and also, perhaps, work with a vocational rehabilitation counselor provided by the insurance company.

Talk To a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you’ve been injured on the job, it is wise to talk to a lawyer who is experienced in workers’ compensation claims. At the Ritchie Law Firm, you can talk to us for FREE . . . NO STRINGS ATTACHED! We can give you advice on your claim before you make a decision that could damage your case. Check out our article on “How Much Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Cost” here.

For more than 45 years, the Ritchie Law Firm has successfully helped thousands of injured workers navigate the complex workers’ compensation process. The Ritchie Law Firm specializes in serving injury victims. We never represent insurance companies or corporations. If your workers’ compensation case is going to hearing, you will want a trial expert on your side. We are board certified trial specialists through the National Board of Trial Advocacy. The attorney you choose for your workers’ compensation case can make all the difference.

Virginia Workers’ compensation is a complex system that can be very difficult to navigate. Be very careful to make certain that your rights are protected before you sign anything. Talking to our workers’ comp lawyers about your claim is free. If we take your case, we don’t get a fee unless we win your case. There is no risk to you to get some information about your case before you make any decision that might negatively affect its outcome.

Choose wisely. . . you can talk to us for FREE.

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Ritchie Law Firm serves injured workers in all of Virginia while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester. Check out case studies from some of the cases we’ve handled by clicking here.