I can’t stress enough the importance of injured workers in Arizona looking for alternate work when they are released for light duty by their doctor. Case law in Arizona states that an injured worker has an affirmative duty to mitigate his or her damages by looking for alternate work that they could do while on light duty. Once you show that you have looked for work, the burden shifts to the carrier/employer to show that jobs exist within your restrictions for which you would be considered. Many of my clients think that because their restrictions preclude them from doing their regular job, they don’t have to look for other work. Not true. The reality is that no one is going to hire someone with an open workers comp claim – everybody knows that. But unless you make a good faith effort to look for light work, the carrier is not obligated to pay you temporary compensation.
Chad T. Snow is an Arizona workers compensation lawyer with offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Lake Havasu City. He can be reached through his firm’s website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.