Visitor Question

What are my options if I can’t do my job on modified duty?

Submitted By: Terri (Gadsden, Alabama)

I am 50 years old and was injured on the job. I am in restaurant management and it’s been 7 months since I worked. It took 5 months or longer just to get correct diagnosis. I went in for rotary cuff surgery and came out with additional Sad/bicep tendonis.

I am right hand dominant and was released 2 weeks after surgery for modified work duty, with twice a week physical therapy. My workers comp benefits stopped when my employer said they could accommodate my duties.

I can get help putting the uniform on but I have no use of my right arm and I must wear a brace that restricts mobility. I can not button my pants, tuck my shirt in, or fasten my belt left handed. Plus they want me to operate a cash register despite the fact I am not very efficient using my left hand. I would be very slow I could possibly do cash register but the uniform is the biggest problem.

I am now 44 days out of surgery. I went back for a doctors visit and have another 6 weeks with the same restrictions. I have exhausted my savings and emergency credit cards. I was also misdiagnosed by the 1st doctor and they treated me for a neck injury, which prolonged this injury.

What can I do? I cannot go 10-12 hrs without going to the bathroom. I have asked for accommodations for wearing the uniform shirt out and I was told no. The workers comp insurance says that my job says they had a position but my doctor says the brace must stay on at all times at work. He said failed surgery would result in shoulder replacement.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Terri,

The State of Alabama’s Division of Workers Compensation has an “Ombudsman” program. The ombudsmen are trained in dispute mediation. Their primary duty is to assist Alabama workers who may need guidance with their claims. The intervention of an Ombudsmen is a form of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR).

The Alabama Statute which created the Ombudsmen program can be found at:
Alabama Revised Statutes Section 25-5-290

Ombudsman are not permitted to render legal advice. However, they can coordinate benefit review conferences where the employer and the worker come together and attempt to work out their differences, instead of going forward with a contested hearing before an Administrative law judge.

The benefit review conferences are held only with you and your employer or your employer’s workers compensation insurance company.

To contact an Alabama Ombudsmen you can call: 800-528-5166

Learn more here: Returning to Work After an Injury

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck with your claim.

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