Unless your injuries are catastrophic and you are permanently disabled from all work, it is likely that at some point in your workers’ compensation case that your doctor will release you to return to work.
This return to work may be for “regular duty” or it may be for “light duty.” You may strongly disagree with your doctor’s opinion about your work capacity or you may be anxious to try to go back.
Regardless of the circumstances, you should avoid going back to modified or light duty work without first speaking with your lawyer about obtaining a special form called a WC-240. This WC-240 form is an official State Board of Workers’ Compensation form that should be completed by the insurance company.
What Information is Contained on a WC-240?
A completed WC-240 form sets out specific activity restrictions for possible jobs. For example, a WC-240 may contain restrictions like these:
- It may limit lifting to 20 lbs. with no more than 10 lbs. on the right side
- It may limit standing to 30 minutes at a time with a total of 2 hours during the course of a day.
- It may restrict overhead reaching
The limitations contained in the WC-240 set out restrictions on jobs that you may be asked to perform.
Why Should You Never Return to modified duty work without a WC-240?
If you return to light duty work with a WC-240 and you are not able to perform the tasks of the job within the set out limitations, you can go home and your income benefits restart immediately.
However, if you return to light duty work without a WC-240 being in place first and you cannot perform the work and you go home, your weekly wage income benefits will not restart automatically. Instead you will need to request a hearing and you may end up waiting three to four months without any income.
Form WC-240 Must be in Writing
Do not be confused about something your doctor tells you and a written WC-240. Your doctor may advise you about work restrictions, but until those restrictions end up on a WC-240, you should not try to return to to work.
Insurance adjusters know the consequences of returning to work with and without a WC-240 and if you are unrepresented, your adjuster may encourage you to go to work but not provide a WC-240. One of the most valuable services I provide to my client involves protecting their wage benefits by demanding a WC-240 prior to any attempted return to work. If you have any questions about this issue, please call me at 770-351-0801 or email me at jodiginsberglaw(at)gmail.com.