Here’s an excellent question by someone posting a comment to my post about the difference between temporary light duty and permanent light duty:
Do Permanent Work Restrictions (light duty) follow me once my case is closed and a settlement has been granted? What happens if (5-10 years later) I take a job that is completely opposite from my restrictions?
The word permanent in the Nevada workers’ compensation world doesn’t really mean something that will never change or can’t be changed. When it is determined whether an injured worker is entitled to a permanent partial disability award, for example, we are really just looking at the physical condition of the injured worker on the date he or she is examined by a rating doctor. It doesn’t mean that if a different rating physician were to examine the same injured worker six months later that the second rating doctor couldn’t legitimately find that the percentage of permanent impairement had increased or decreased over time.
The same is true for permanent work restrictions. Your injury might get better, or it might get worse over time. If your prior workers’ compensation doctor were to examine you 5 or 10 years later, your doctor might not give you the same permanent work restrictions, or any restrictions at all. It is essentially a question of documenting that there has been a change in the injury to support any change in work restrictions in the future.
The injured worker would need to have a doctor examine the work injury and justify why there is a change in the work restrictions. Otherwise, the injured worker could be accused of lying about his physical capabilites when hired by a new employer. If the injured worker has a worsening of the injury the original employer might also question whether the employee was working beyond his permanent work restrictions. Make sure you have a new physician report that clears you to do work beyond the old restrictions before accepting employment outside your old permanent work restrictions.
Thanks for a great question.