If you are injured on the job in New Jersey, chances are you will be sent back to work on some type of modified duty. This is one of the most common issues faced by my clients. If the authorized treating doctor for the workers’ compensation insurance carrier says you can return to work with restrictions, you need to contact your employer to see if they can accommodate the restrictions. If your employer says it will accommodate the restrictions, you must return to work or you can be fired.
At this point, your best course of action is to return to work and attempt to perform the lighter duty work. If you cannot perform the work as set forth by the doctor, you should call the treating doctor to discuss changing the current work restrictions or taking you out of work. However, you can refuse to perform work outside of your restrictions. It is important to carry a copy of the work restrictions with you while at work, as employer’s sometimes attempt to assign work that is beyond the restrictions set out by a doctor.
If your employer cannot accommodate the doctor’s restrictions, then you are effectively out of work and will receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Good communication with your doctor is key to a successful return to work. You’ll need to explain what your job actually entails, so your doctor can provide restrictions that are specific to your job rather than a blanket statement of ‘light duty’.
If you’ve been injured at work and have questions about returning to work on light duty, you should contact our office to discuss your claim.