Q: Is an injured worker ENTITLED to benefits when his EMPLOYER reduces his/hers work hours due to employees on-going pain.
Is an injured worker, who returned back to work for the past 12 months, ENTITLED to benefits when [he] is still receiving pain management treatment for low back pain, given numerous work restrictions by treating doctor echoing the FCE Test restrictions, the treating doctors work note doesn't indicate a 4 hour work day restriction when released back to work, YET [his] Employer restricts [his] work day to 4 hours because of the ongoing back pain that prevents [him] from completing an 8 hour work day due to a sciatic nerve stretch injury and [his] employer knows about the work restrictions given upon being released from treating doctor.
The defense counsel and the adjuster has taken charge of overseeing all ongoing treatment because my WC case is still ongoing and has not been settled.
Am I entitled to benefits if my employer reduces my hours?
I'm here seeking answers because I don't have a lawyer.
A: Yes, if wages are reduced due to pain problems. Workers' Compensation (WC) compensation to injured workers in North Carolina is based on loss of earning capacity and time out of work as determined by qualified medical professionals. In this case, Tony's employer, not medical staff, has restricted his work. Tony's best action is to talk with his medical team and request their agreement that he cannot work full time. When this medical restriction is documented, Tony would be entitled to receive 66% of his gross wage during the time he was not able to work full time. He would be entitled to be paid up to this 66% level for each week of medically ordered disability. When Tony reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI) or when his doctors can't provide any more helpful treatment, he would be entitled to a settlement be based on the degree of his loss of earning capacity. One of the keys to properly handling WC claims is to make sure the injured worker's medical team is involved in ordering out of work time periods.
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