In Pennsylvania, do I have to work light duty when hurt at work?

Under Pennsylvania law, do I have to return to light duty when I am hurt on the job.  Why would an injured worker ask that?  Well, it isn’t that these clients are lazy, not at all.  Many times, an injured worker simply wants appropriate time to recover and heal from the work injury.

Legal ramifications for turning down light duty

Turning down available light duty is not a wise decision and can put workers compensation benefits at risk.  In Pennsylvania, your employer has the right to offer you modified duty employment.  Many employers in Central Pennsylvania do offer light-duty work assignments or alternate work programs. The critical thing to remember is that both the employer and the injured employee must act in good faith in offering and responding to an offer of light-duty work.  Failure to do so can result in a suspension or reduction in you wage loss benefits.

Respond to job offers immediately

So what happens if an injured worker turns down light duty work available to them?  Well, the employer has a right to file a Suspension or Modification Petition against you, and if the workers’ compensation judge determines that the light duty job was available and within your work restrictions and physical capabilities to perform such work, you run the risk that you will lose your benefits.   In fact, if your workers compensation case is in litigation, you should expect a witness from your employer, usually someone in human resources, to testify in that they were and are willing and able to accommodate your work restrictions.

So what do you do if you received a job offer letter for light duty assignment? You should act promptly in responding to the job offer.  Call your employer.  Speak to them abut it.  If you have any questions about the job offer and your rights, call us here at Mooney & Associates for a FREE consultation.  We can help.

But, what about the IME doctor’s restrictions count?

Often times, job offers are based on the company doctor’s opinion, otherwise known as the IME doctor.  Employers rely on IME reports and opinions as ‘their evidence’ against you.  As we have stated in a prior article, there is NOTHING independent about these exams or reports.  I hear many times that the IME doctor didn’t do half of what was in his/her report.  Many times, there are substantial differences in not just the opinions of the doctors, the diagnosis of the injuries, but also the capabilities of the injured worker.

What is important to know is that you can defend against the IME opinion.  Workers compensation is a complex area of law that involves very specific administrative procedures and processes and relies heavily on understanding medical conditions, terminology, and how to undermine medical opinions.  That is precisely why you want to ensure that when you seek an attorney to represent you in your workers compensation claim, be sure that your attorney is an experienced workers compensation litigator. We at Mooney & Associates have broad experience in representing injured workers with a full litigation practice.  We have recovered millions on behalf of injured workers, in both obtaining settlements and litigating claims to a Judge’s decision.  It starts with a FREE consultation and scheduling your appointment with me at one of our 14 Pennsylvania office locations.  Call us today at 717-200-HELP or 1-877-632-4656.  You Can Count on Mooney!



Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.