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Q-Does a return to light and restricted work end your workers' compensation claim?

Definitely not. But let's be specific here. Are you returning to a lighter duty job at the same company where you were hurt or have you found another employer who will accommodate your light duty restrictions?

Returning to your employer of injury with a restricted work duty order from the authorized doctor does not prevent you from receiving further medical care nor does it prevent you from receiving a supplemental benefit (TPD) from the workers' compensation insurance company. This TPD benefit could last for a number of years.

If you found another job and you can do light duty there you still have an open claim against the original employer where your injury occurred. But here is the problem. If you aggravate your original injury by work you perform at the new employer, no matter how slight, and you return to the authorized doctor, if the doctor believes you have aggravated your original injury the workers' compensation insurance company will argue they are no longer responsible for your original injury and any new medical treatment you might need.

What do you do? While it is easier said than done, prudence and caution should dictate that you examine carefully the physical requirements of the new job to make sure all aspects of that job can be done without any re-injury or aggravation. Wanting to return to work to feed your family is commendable, but sustaining a new injury at a new job will only cause two insurance companies to fight over who is responsible for your continuing care.

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