Once the workers’ comp doctor finds that your injuries are related to your accident at work, there a couple “work duty statuses” that he may place you on. He may put you on “no work” which entitles you to wage benefits or he may place you on “light” or “sedentary” duty which could entitle you to benefits.
Being put on light or sedentary work duty means that the doctor has placed some sort of restriction on the type of work you can do. For example, the doctor may tell you that you should not lift or pull more than a certain weight, or that you should not stand for longer than a specific amount of time. What this means is that you should restrict your work activities to not doing anything anymore strenuous than what the doctor has prescribed. In certain instances, such as heavy labor industries, there may not be any work available within your restrictions. If this is the case, you are entitled to wage loss benefits. However, some employers may offer work within your restrictions. If work is offered within your restrictions than you must return to work and make an attempt to do the job. Refusing a job within your restrictions allows the Employer/Carrier to avoid paying any lost wages.
If work is offered within the injured workers restrictions, the refusal of said work could disqualify the worker from receiving any further compensation. FLA. STAT. § 440.15 (6) (2013). What if the work is really not within your restrictions? This is common problem. A lot of the time the injured worker believes that the work offered is not within their restrictions or that the restrictions do not adequately reflect the pain that the worker is in. In addition, the injured worker may simply believe that the offered work is below them and refuse to return. As in any profession minds can differ, and doctors are no different. It is true that a private doctor or other workers compensation doctor may have a completely different view. Unfortunately for you, at this moment, you are at the treating physicians mercy.
Fear not! There may be light at the end of the tunnel. There are options. One possible option is that a judge agrees with you that your refusal is justified. In that instance you may not only get your benefits reinstated but be owed back benefits plus penalties and interest. This is just one possibility.
We would love to discuss your case and explain all your options in an attempt to make sure any lost wage benefits owed are not being wrongfully withheld. This is why it is important to hire a workers’ compensation attorney who handles these types of situations and knows what your entitled to. If you or someone you know is in this situation, please give us a call at (877) 8174127.