How to Collect Lost Wages After a Virginia Work Injury When You Are On Light Duty
There are several different ways to collect lost wages when you are on light duty after a Virginia work injury, depending on your situation. Be careful folks, this can be tricky! You need to make sure you follow the correct steps regarding key factors to ensure you are protecting your entitlement to lost wages. The system is designed to get you back to work, even if it is in a light-duty capacity but there are several key factors that can affect your particular situation.
Key Factors on How to Collect Lost Wages When You Are on Light Duty After a Virginia Work Injury
- Work Status Notes
- Cooperating with Light Duty Assignments
- Award Orders
- Job Searching
- Vocational Rehabilitation
Work Status Notes
As I ALWAYS say, you must get a work status note from your doctor EVERY time you see your workers compensation treating physician. If your doctor gives you a light duty note (basically any restriction to your activities, it can be as simple as “no driving” or “no lifting over 10lbs”) you need to give this note to your Employer and ask if they have any work available to you within the limitations that your doctor has set.
Cooperating with Light Duty Assignments
If your employer is willing and able to provide you with work that is within the physical limitations your physician has set forth, then you have to do it. The light duty work provided by your employer ONLY has to meet the limitations your doctor has set – it does not have to be the same title, duties, hours, department, or pay that you were doing prior to your injury.
If you already have an Award that states you are entitled to a weekly check then you can stay home and continue to receive your lost wage checks until the Employer has light duty work come available or until the doctor clears you to return to work on full duty status.
If you do not have an Award Order entitling you to an ongoing lost wage check, you will need to job search. This means that even though you may still technically have a job, you must look for work within the limits that the doctor gave you in order to be eligible to receive ongoing lost wage payments. If you need guidance on what is required for a valid job search, contact my office or watch my youtube videos here.
If your doctor has determined that you will be on light duty permanently and your employer does not have light duty for you, the workers comp insurance company may assign a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to assist you in finding other employment. You MUST cooperate with this process in order to receive your ongoing lost wages; this means keeping appointments to speak with your counselor and following up on job leads that he or she may send you.
If you don’t know where you are in this process or what you need to be doing in order to collect lost wages after a Virginia work injury when you are on light duty, you should contact a workers comp lawyer immediately.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.