Modified Job Must Be Approved by Treating Doctor Board Rules

Posted on Aug 07, 2017

In this case, the Oregon Workers' Compensation Board disapproved an insurance carrier' attempt to convert temporary total disability benefits to temporary partial disability benefits based on a modified job offer.

If a worker is injured on the job, and the treating physician authorizes the injured worker to be off work, the injured worker may be eligible for temporary total disability benefits. This means that the injured worker is entitled to wage replacement benefits based for all weekly earnings. However, if the insurance carrier presents a proposed modified job to the physician, and that job is approved, then the employer can offer that modified job to the injured worker. If the injured worker does not accept the modified job, the insurance company can convert wage replacement benefits from temporary total disability to temporary partial disability, based on what the injured worker would have earned had he accepted the modified job.

There are several steps that an employer and its insurance company must take to make a valid offer of modified work. In this case, the physician's approval of the modified job description occurred after the proposed start date of the actual work. In other words, the insurance company was trying to "backdate" the physician's approval of modified work.

Here, the injured worker was fired for violating the employer's "injury reporting" policy. Some employers can be aggressive in terminating injured workers, but some protections are available.

This case illustrates how some employers may enforce rules that it created just to avoid its responsibility for providing benefits to injured workers. However, the injured worker does have appeal rights.



Joe Di Bartolomeo
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