Can Injured Workers Still Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits If They Refuse to Perform Alternative Work?


Posted by: Chris

The workers’ compensation system offers several types of disability benefits, including temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits are designed to compensate injured workers who are temporarily unable to perform their job duties, but are still capable of performing some sort of alternative work offered by their employer. If the alternative work does not pay as much as the worker’s previous job, he can recover these temporary disability benefits to make up for the difference in pay.

But, what happens if an injured worker is not interested in performing the alternative work that their employer offers? Can they still recover workers’ compensation benefits for their injuries? Here’s what you need to know:

When is Alternative Work Offered to Injured Workers?

Some injuries can make it impossible for workers to perform their job duties. For example, let’s say you work in a warehouse and are required to lift heavy boxes throughout the workday. Hurting your back can make it difficult to continue performing these job duties. In fact, many doctors advise patients with back injuries to avoid heavy lifting for weeks or even months after sustaining the injury.

Your back injury may prevent you from performing your regular job duties, but it may not prevent you from performing other types of work. Because of this, your employer may offer you alternative work that you are capable of performing while you recover from your back injury. For instance, the alternative work could involve filing paperwork, answering phones, and other types of secretarial work that will not affect your back.

An Injured Worker’s Obligation to Perform Alternative Work

According to OK Stat § 85A-45 (2014), injured workers are legally obligated to perform alternative work offered by their employer unless they are incapable of doing so as a result of their injuries. If an injured worker refuses to perform the alternative work for no apparent reason, he can lose his right to temporary partial and temporary total disability benefits through the workers’ compensation system. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that injured workers accept the opportunity to perform alternative work so they can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

Have you been injured at work? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. right away. Don’t make any decisions that could affect your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits without talking to one of our experienced attorneys. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.