This past January, Lisa Pezzano Mickey was invited to speak at the 2018 Advanced Workers’ Compensation Law Conference, sponsored by the New Jersey Council on Safety & Health (COSH). It was an honor for our firm to be represented at this event, which featured several prominent attorneys in the workers’ compensation arena. We are always grateful for the opportunity to share our knowledge and collaborate with other members of the legal community.
The conference covered the topics of temporary disability and light-duty work, both of which are critical issues for workers who are trying to return to the workplace following an injury. Lisa explained, “Insurance companies are pressuring employers to get employees back to work as soon as possible on light duty, [and] that can raise a whole host of issues for clients who want to keep their job but don’t want to re-injure themselves by going back to work too early.”
We believe that it is generally healthy for people to stay productive and remain in the workforce, both physically and mentally. However, in her years of practice, Lisa has seen too many cases where insurance companies pressure people to resume working prematurely following an accident. This increases the risk of a re-injury and jeopardizes the prospect of continued employment in the long term. Lisa recalls one woman in particular, whom we’ll refer to as Sara.
After suffering a workplace injury, Sara was only able to lift 10 pounds of weight. She was sent back to work with a light-duty note, but her supervisor kept asking her to perform heavier tasks. When Sara reminded her supervisor that she could not lift more than 10 pounds due to her injuries, she was sent home and was not put on the schedule to work again. Sara’s temporary benefits had ended, but she was not being given an opportunity to work. The employer advised the insurance company that light-duty work was available, when in actuality, the opportunity was only available on paper.
Lisa took on Sara’s case and filed a Motion to resume her temporary disability benefits, since the employer was not providing light-duty work in good faith. Sarah was then able to focus upon her recovery, so that she could return to work to support her family without worrying about a re-injury. If you have experienced a similar injustice, call us to discuss your situation. We would be happy to help.