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Check medical restrictions when injured worker returns

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It’s expensive to keep employees on workers’ compensation, especially if you’re self-insured. But you can’t just offer an employee any old job to get him back to work. The offer must be compatible with his medical restrictions. Always check those when making an offer.

Recent case: Truck driver Hyman Leggett was injured in a work accident, requiring burn treatment and back surgery. He recovered enough so that his doctor released him to work without restrictions. His employer offered him its only open position, that of forklift operator.

The job was more physical than his old driver position and required heavy lifting. He refused the job and demanded continued disability benefits.

The company appealed and the court said his refusal was unjustified because at the time, he had no work restrictions at all. (Leggett v. AAA Cooper Transportation, No. C0A09-944, Court of Appeals of North Carolina, 2010)

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