When Does “Full Duty” Not Mean “Full Duty?”

In workers’ compensation cases, doctors are not focused on the way an injured workers’ job was actually performed. A doctor’s note stating the injured worker is at “full duty” might not be a true full duty release. Injured workers should make sure the doctor knows the full extent of how their jobs were actually performed, and is not relying on an incomplete job description or the doctor’s assumptions about how a certain job is done.

Frequently, doctor’s really mean a “trial” return to work when they give the injured worker a “full duty” note. This can have lasting negative consequences that result in benefits delayed or denied the injured worker. “[T]he threshold test … is whether the employee is able to fully perform the duties of his preinjury employment.” Celanese Fibers Co. v. Johnson, 229 Va. 117 (1985) (quoting Sky Chefs, Inc. v. Rogers, 222 Va. 800, 804 (1981)

If you have questions about these issues or anything else related to your workers’ compensation case, please give us a call at (804) 294-2966.