If and when you receive a medical release to return to work after a work injury in Atlanta, your workers’ compensation benefits will be adjusted accordingly. They may be reduced if you’re released to light duty, or they may stop if you’re released to full duty.
Released to Light Duty
If your physician determines that you can return to work in a limited capacity, your employer may try to find a job for you that accommodates your limitations. If your employer finds one, you are required to try it. If you fail to do so, your employer and the insurance company can suspend benefits.
Fortunately, Georgia law provides employees who’ve been released to work with a 15-day grace period. This period allows you to return to work on a trial basis to ensure your body can handle the job at hand. You do not risk losing your benefits during this period. If you are unable to perform the job for 15 or more consecutive work days, but work at least 8 hours, then the insurance company must restart your weekly benefits; however, in that case, the insurance company may ask the State Board for permission to suspend your benefits.
If your employer doesn’t have a light-duty position for you but files a Form WC-104, then you can continue to receive temporary total disability benefits for up to 52 weeks. At that time, your benefits automatically will be reduced to the maximum eligible Temporary Partial Disability benefit.
What if you disagree with your assigned work status?
In an attempt to get workers back on the floor as soon as possible to save lost time and money for employers/insurers, some workers’ compensation physicians might be overly quick to release you to work. If you feel that your authorized physician is attempting to release you to work prematurely, you will want to speak to a local workers’ compensation attorney for help. As much as everyone would like, you cannot rush the healing process. Trying to do too much too soon can worsen your condition and cost both you and your employer more in medical bills down the road.
Your lawyer can talk to you about your right to a second opinion. In most cases, if you’ve been receiving benefits, you’re entitled to a free second opinion or independent medical examination. If you’re dissatisfied with your care, you may change your authorized treating physician one time to another physician on the panel of physicians without prior approval from your employer. Your employer or the State Board would have to approve any subsequent change.
Getting Answers to Your Workers’ Compensation Questions
If you’ve recently been released to work in Atlanta, Georgia, you are welcome to call the workers’ compensation team at Bader Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation. We stand up for injured workers’ rights and are here to answer any of your claims questions. Call us today at 678-562-5595.