In Virginia, the insurer will press the doctor to release "the injured worker" to light duty work soon after an accident at work. If the doctor agrees, the insurance company will assign a job placement worker (vocational consultant) to the injured worker's case.
The worker will first try to place you back with your old employer. The worker will ask the old employer to place you in a light duty job or in some cases request that the employer create a light duty job for you. The employer has an incentive to take you back in order to lower your its insurance costs.
If the employer does not have a job the placement worker will attempt to place the injured worker in a light duty job elsewhere. Typical light duty jobs are security jobs and clerk jobs at the Dollar stores. If the proposed jobs are within the injured worker's restrictions the worker will have to take the job. The insurer benefits since the insurer gets to deduct the light duty wages from the pre-injury wages and thus pay the injured worker less in compensation benefits.
The Virginia Workers' Compensation Act does provide the insurer is allowed to do "job placement" for a reasonable time before having to pay for any re-training or re-education expenses. In my experience the insurers rarely offer to pay for re-training or re-education expenses.
Failure to cooperate with the job placement worker can be a serious offense under Virginia Workers' Compensation law. If proven, it can mean forfeiture of compensation payments. The injured worker is well-advised to consult with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer when face with "job placement" by the insurer.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Jerry Lutkenhaus at (804) 358-4766 or (800) 256-8862 or visit our website at Virginia Workers' Compensation Lawyer.