Does My Employer Have to Give Me Light Duty?

Temporary partial disability (a disability level in which the injured worker is temporarily unable from performing a certain set of job skills but can still work at a reduced level) benefits are paid to injured workers who have rejoined the workforce, but have not yet reached maximum medical improvement. These injured workers may work part time, on light duty, or with medical restrictions. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) a business must make reasonable accommodations, like assigning less physically taxing tasks. Creating a new job, or hiring additional personnel for that employee, would not be considered a reasonable accommodation.

In Maryland, if the wage earning capacity of the injured worker is less while temporarily partially disabled, the employer must pay the injured worker compensation equal to 50% of the difference between the average weekly wage of the employee and the wage earning capacity of the employee in the same or other employment while temporarily partially disabled. The injured worker must be sure to present a physician’s certification of the temporary or permanent disability and request the adjustment.  Additionally, the worker must forward every pay stub received with the new employment to his lawyer so that the lawyer can make a wage loss claim on the worker’s behalf. As the worker’s wages increase or vary, the lawyer is obligated to keep the workers’ compensation carrier informed of any changes in the weekly wages. The workers’ compensation carrier may be entitled to a reimbursement of any monies that are overpaid due to failure to send pay stubs to the lawyer on a timely basis. Notably, the compensation may not exceed the State average weekly wage. These payments will be made until the employee reaches maximum medical improvement.  If the employee becomes temporarily totally disabled (TTD) while receiving these benefits, TPD benefits will cease and TTD benefits will commence.

Ultimately, the answer is probably, “Not Really.”  Some employers simply may not have light duty positions.  However, if you are not being given light duty opportunities, you are entitled to additional compensation, depending on the specifics.  If your question involves light duty and a less than cooperative employer, it’s time to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer.

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