Posted on January 05, 2016
South Carolina workers’ compensation law can attempt to ease employees back into their job by assigning them to light duty. Many times, when a person is injured, they will be ordered back to light duty before they can fully return to work.
Light duty can be temporary or permanent. It is defined as a job that is less physically or mentally taxing than one’s usual job duties. It could also be an alternative job created to meet the capabilities of an employee who is on the way back to a full recovery.
Workers who are injured on the job have the right to medical care deemed ‘reasonable and necessary.’ However, there is a catch to this. The doctor you will see in regards to your injury is selected by the insurance company of your employer. They are often referred to as company doctors.
It is these same company doctors who can order workers back to light duty. If your employer offers you some light duty, it is required that you accept it. Otherwise, your workers’ compensation may come to a halt.
In the event that you feel you cannot perform that light duty, you have the right to request a hearing. There, you will be able to plead your case to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. They are entrusted to review the evidence and ultimately decide whether you are capable of returning to light duty. This commission also hears cases to in which employers fail to report accidents or denies that an employee’s injury was caused by an accident.
If that commission rules in favor of ordering you back to light duty, you still have the right to receive your full worker’s compensation weekly payments. Workers’ compensation entitles you to 2/3’s of the weekly salary you were earning prior to your injury.
If you return to work and you receive limited hours or fewer wages, resulting in making less than 2/3’s of your original salary, then you are entitled to receive the difference. That difference would boost your weekly payouts back up to 2/3′s of your original salary.
Columbia residents who believe they have been unjustly ordered back to light duty can seek assistance from Popowski, Callas & Shirley, P.A. We can assign you a Columbia workers’ compensation attorney who has a vast amount of experience and success handling all different types of these cases in South Carolina.