A permanent injury doesn’t have to end your career.
Here’s how to find light duty jobs for injured workers after your claim has been settled.
Being injured on the job is challenging enough, even more so when you are unable to return to your regular position.
When this happens, you are faced with one of two possible outcomes—either your authorized treating physician will tell you to stay home to recover or they will allow you to return to work with restrictions.
Also known as “modified duty,” light duty jobs allow you to continue working without putting your recovery at risk. But there is a lot more to consider than which jobs you may be assigned.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you can expect from light duty work, as well as how to accommodate permanent injuries after your claim has been settled.
What Is Light Duty?
If you have a job that is very physically demanding, not only are you more vulnerable to injury, you are consequently unable to continue in your regular job duties if you are injured while doing so.
Following your work injury, your authorized treating physician will provide you with a list of any physical limitations you must follow. For instance, s/he may limit the amount you can lift or how often you can be on your feet or may even require that you perform sedentary (seated) work only.
It is very important that you follow your doctor’s recommendations to the letter, even if you disagree with them. Failure to do so may result in your workers comp being denied.
Examples of Light Duty Jobs For Injured Workers
As intimidating as it is to change your work all of a sudden, a light duty (or “transitional”) job is crucial for allowing your body to heal following your workplace injury.
But what types of light duty jobs can you expect?
Common examples are:
- Administrative work
- Customer service
- Data entry
- Remote work
- Taking inventory
- Monitoring surveillance equipment
What Happens If I Am Permanently Injured?
Once you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), your wage reimbursement will end. But in some cases, MMI doesn’t mean a full recovery.
If you are left with a permanent injury, your temporary indemnity benefits will stop, but you could be entitled to permanent total disability benefits or Impaired Income Benefits (IIBs), depending on the severity of your injury. Most people do not qualify for permanent total disability benefits and thus, once MMI is reached, they will receive IIBs.
Of course, you will also be faced with finding alternative employment.
Fortunately, one of the many workers compensation benefits you can receive is reemployment assistance.
In the event you are unable to continue in your previous line of work, Florida’s Division of Workers Compensation will assist you with:
- Vocational counseling
- Job-seeking assistance
- On-the-job training
- Formal retraining
Other options that may be available to you are remote work, a part-time job, temporary or freelance work, or starting your own business.
How to Find Light Duty Jobs For Injured Workers
It can be quite discouraging to switch careers or industries, especially if you have a lot of work experience in a particular field.
However, it is possible to find rewarding, meaningful work after a work injury.
1. Assess Your Skills and Interests
Before you begin your job search, it’s best to evaluate the skills and interests you have. This will help you focus your search as well as target jobs that align with your strengths.
2. Utilize Online Resources
Use online job boards and websites to locate positions in your chosen field, but also expand your search to resources that teach you new skills.
You can also research different positions, learn about what working for certain companies is like and determine what positions will align with your accommodation requirements.
3. Focus on Job Accommodations
Speaking of accommodations, if you have been provided job limitations or required accommodations by your medical provider, take a proactive stance in finding roles that will meet those needs.
Researching job roles will help with this, but it’s also critical that you provide any potential employers with your necessary accommodations.
Utilize your connections within your industry to search for open positions and/or referrals. It may also be helpful to attend industry events or join organizations that will expand your network and job opportunities.
5. Be Proactive and Persistent
It can be easy to feel discouraged when facing the reality of needing to pivot in your career. Use this time as an opportunity to recognize the skills you have, the opportunity in front of you, and to expand your network.
Do not be discouraged if the job search takes longer than you anticipated, continue to reach out and connect with people. Apply to positions that suit your skills and follow up on any roles that you feel particularly excited about.
A work injury can leave you feeling frustrated, discouraged, and overwhelmed. But one thing that makes the process a lot easier is having a workers compensation attorney who can guide you through the process.
At the Law Office of Brian D. Tadros, we have helped hundreds of employees just like you navigate their workers comp claim and reach a satisfying outcome. Whether you have questions about your ability to return to work or are trying to negotiate a fair settlement, our office can help.