Generally speaking, when an injured worker is unable to work because of a work-related injury that is accepted, most insurance companies will pay the benefit known as Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits. In other words, the injured worker would be entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wage paid on a bi-weekly basis.
However, most injured workers are usually not placed on Total Temporary Disability but rather, are given work restrictions. In that instance, the employer is given the option of either accepting the work restrictions and offering modified duties, or refusing to accommodate the temporary work restrictions. If the employer refuses to accommodate the temporary work restrictions, then the injured worker would be entitled to Temporary Total Disability benefits.
The courts are very strict when it comes to whether or not an injured worker would be entitled to the TTD benefits. If a doctor provides work restrictions and the injured worker believes that they cannot work with those work restrictions, the courts typically permit the insurance company from ending any TTD benefits. In order to be taken off of work, the opinion of a doctor or physician is required. An injured worker is not allowed to simply refuse or reject work restrictions because they disagree with the doctor about the work restrictions. The Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board office typically finds that the injured worker is not a physician and that the injured worker’s opinion carries less weight than a physician. The court may find that since an injured worker refused modified duties within a physician’s work restrictions, an injured worker cannot have those rate wages replaced by TTD benefits.
In other words, even though an injured worker might disagree with the work restrictions given by a physician, that the injured worker still has to make the attempt to return to work within the restrictions prescribed by a doctor.
An injured worker cannot simply refuse to return to work with restrictions because they disagree with the doctor. They need medical evidence to support the position that they cannot return to work with the work restrictions provided by that doctor. Otherwise, an employer may terminate an injured worker for job abandonment because they refused to return to work despite the fact that a doctor cleared them to return to work with restrictions.
Please note that an injured worker has the right to elect a different doctor than the one given to them by the insurance company. So it is essential that you contact an attorney if you believe that the doctor that is currently treating you is not working within your best interest. The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to recover retroactive temporary total disability benefits. Feel free to contact one of our attorneys to see what options you have.