May I Return to Work While I’m Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
1. Working “light duty” with date of injury employer
When you sustain an injury at work and have been released to return to work in some capacity by your treating physician, you are able to return to work while continuing to make a workers’ compensation claim. The first place you will want to look for a job is with your date of injury employer. Your employer does not have an obligation to offer you a “light duty” job under the Workers’ Compensation Act, or any other law; however, Minnesota law expressly prohibit employers from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who has suffered a work injury or has made a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. In order to ensure that they do not violate Minnesota law, employers will many times look into making reasonable accommodations for an injured employee. In practice, this may mean that an employer may offer you a temporary, modified position, within your physical restrictions, until such time as you are released to full-duty work.
2. Working for a new employer
If your date of injury employer is unable to accommodate your work restrictions, and it is expected that you are going to have work restrictions for an indefinite or lengthy period of time, it may make sense to take a job elsewhere that is within your physical restrictions. Accepting a position with a new employer will not affect your entitlement to past or future workers’ compensation benefits. If you are released to return to work in some capacity and you are not conducting any type of job search or applying for positions, you will be at risk of losing your wage loss benefits. Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, there is a requirement that an injured worker conduct a “diligent job search” to find a job and mitigate his or her ongoing wage loss. If you are released to return to work and you are not searching for work, your wage loss benefits may be at risk. Similarly, if you are “underemployed”—working part-time or at a significant wage loss with a new employer—you are still obligated to conduct a diligent job search to gain entitlement to ongoing temporary partial wage loss benefits.
3. Know your options – we can help!
The workers’ compensation system is complex and it can be difficult for employees to make informed decisions with regard to accepting “light duty” job offers without an experienced attorney walking you through the process and highlighting potential pitfalls.
Don’t wait to get an attorney involved if you have a Minnesota workers’ compensation claim. The process can be complex and you want to be sure you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled. Contact Meuser Law Office, P.A. for a free no-obligation consultation and claim evaluation. At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we keep our clients informed of the process as well as what to expect each step of the way. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.