What Employees Need to Know About Work Restrictions After an On-the-Job Injury


Work restrictions are the limitations that a doctor places upon you because of your work injury. You may not be able to push, pull, or lift objections above a specific weight, for example. Some injured workers have to alternate between sitting and standing every so often. Others may need to confine their work to a desk job after a work injury.

Regardless of your restrictions, your employer is supposed to work with you to provide work that you can do within your limitations. If your employer doesn’t, it may be time to call in a workers compensation lawyer in Los Angeles, CA.

An overview of work restrictions

Generally speaking, your work restrictions represent the difference between the work you were doing before your injury and the work that you can do afterward. You may have restrictions immediately after your injury that gradually decrease over time. For example, having severe limits right away after surgery is common, but as you heal, your doctor will often slowly allow you to do more at work. In some cases, however, your work restrictions may affect your ability to work for the rest of your life.

Doctors will often talk about restrictions for you based on two overarching concepts.

  • Actual disability or work restrictions. These are the most common and widely used. They set out your actual abilities to perform tasks in the workplace. They also generally equate to some kind of loss of ability to earn wages compared to your capabilities before the injury.
  • Prophylactic work restrictions. These restrictions deal with limitations that are placed on the employee so he or she will avoid further injuring themselves or experiencing unnecessary pain.

How do work restrictions affect a workers compensation case in California?

Permanent disabilities are measured as a percentage of impairment. In most cases, a doctor will assign you an “impairment rating.” This rating then is then converted into a number of weeks that you can receive benefits. However, your work restrictions can still affect the outcome of your workers compensation case.

Work restrictions may have a direct effect on your temporary disability periods. If an employer cannot offer you limited work that fits within your limitations, you may not be able to work while you recover, even if your doctor directs you to do so. Your work restrictions should give your employer parameters for what type of work you can do as you recover or on a permanent basis.

Work restrictions may also be grounds to argue that you should receive permanent total disability benefits. A vocational expert will consider these restrictions, along with your education, experience, and other background information to determine whether you could get a job in the open labor market. If your limitations make you unfit for positions that you have previously held, you may be entitled to retraining or supplemental displacement benefits as well.

While work restrictions alone do not determine the benefits you should receive, they can be very important to your case. Learn more by contacting the Los Angeles workers compensation attorneys at Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach: 818-609-7005.

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