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Harrisburg Worker’s Compensation Lawyer > Blog > Workers Compensation > What Are Work Restrictions When Returning To Work After An Accident?

What Are Work Restrictions When Returning To Work After An Accident?


For any worker who sustains a work-related injury, returning to work is their top priority. However, a doctor may release a worker to return to work with certain restrictions to a lighter duty job. Those work restrictions will depend on the severity of the workers’ injury, their type of work, and other factors.

Ideally, workers should wait until they reach their maximum medical improvement (MMI) before returning to work after a workplace accident depending on their doctors’ recommendations.  Going back to work may affect the employees’ eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, which is why a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney may be a good idea to determine whether or not it is safe to return to work and the potential affect on an injured workers’ WC benefits.

Contact our Harrisburg workers’ compensation attorneys at Ira H. Weinstock, P.C., if you are considering returning to work but are not sure whether your return will affect your eligibility for wage loss benefits.

Permanent vs. Temporary Work Restrictions After a Workplace Accident

Depending on the severity and nature of the injured worker’s injury, a doctor may set forth either permanent or temporary work restrictions:

  1. Permanent work restrictions. These restrictions may be necessary for the rest of the workers’ life. These restrictions may be appropriate when the worker’s injury is too severe or they are never expected to fully recover from their injury.
  2. Temporary work restrictions. These limitations are temporary and may last several weeks, months, or years. These restrictions are necessary to ensure that the worker can return to work without aggravating their existing injury or impeding their ability to recover.

There are many different types of work restrictions.

Examples of Work Restrictions When Returning to Work After an Accident

Here is a list of examples of work restrictions that may be recommended by a doctor when clearing you for work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects. What counts as “heavy” depends on the severity and nature of your injury.
  • Avoid physically demanding activities, including bending, lifting, squatting, carrying, pushing, or engaging in any other activities that may impede the workers’ recovery.
  • Doing light-duty work. This may require an employer to provide light duty assignments designed to ease the injured workers’ return to work.
  • Doing modified-duty work. This generally means that injured workers can return to their pre-injury job with some restrictions recommended by the authorized doctor.
  • Sedentary work. A doctor may recommend that a worker avoids standing or walking as much as possible as well as no lifting greater than 10 pounds when returning to work after a workplace accident.
  • Emotional restrictions. If a doctor sets forth emotional restrictions, it generally means that a worker should avoid situations that may cause them to become nervous, stressed, angry, anxious, or irritated.

If an employer cannot accommodate all of the work restrictions recommended by the workers’ authorized doctor, the worker cannot be required to return to work. If you return to work with restrictions, you should be paid your normal salary or an hourly wage.

Contact our workers’ compensation attorneys at Ira H. Weinstock, P.C., if you were released to return to work with or without restrictions. Discuss your particular situation by calling 717-238-1657.

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