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What is a workers' compensation light-duty assignment?

If you are recovering from an injury at work, your doctor may approve and your employer offer a light-duty assignment. You may be wondering what this is and whether you have to take it.

Many work-related injuries can prevent you from performing some or all of your former job duties. However, you may not be 100 percent disabled. There may be light or modified duties you can perform without aggravating your injury. For example, your workers' compensation doctor may restrict the amount of weight you can lift.

If your employer offers you a light-duty assignment that meets your medical restrictions, you should not turn it down without talking to a workers' compensation lawyer. Georgia law requires you to make an effort to perform a light-duty assignment. You could face serious consequences if you refuse, including loss of your employment.

The light-duty assignment may not pay as much as your regular job. In this case, Georgia workers' compensation will pay you temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits to make up a portion of income loss you experience by returning to work.

Your employer is not required to offer you a light-duty assignment. If your employer does not offer you an assignment that meets your medical restrictions, you can continue to draw total disability benefits while recovering at home.

What if my employer offers me a light-duty assignment and it does not work out?

If you try to perform a light-duty assignment and it does not work out, or you experience medical complications, you can resume your total disability benefits. However, you should seek legal advice before you stop coming to work.

It can be frustrating to recover from a serious injury, but you should not say anything or do anything that could hurt your employment relationship. Instead, let a lawyer speak for you and protect your interests.

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