You do not have to go back to work after your workers’ compensation payments end. There is no obligation to return to your original workplace after a workers’ compensation claim runs out, either. You can look for another job or remain unemployed.
If your doctor determines that you are well enough to return to work before your benefits expire, and you refuse to, it could result in your workers’ compensation payments terminated. The doctor may also determine that you are able to return to work a different, less strenuous job than before. If you earn less in this new role, workers’ compensation may offer you a reduced benefit payment of up to $450 weekly, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC).
Keep in mind that your workers’ compensation benefits may end as soon as you return to work, and that rushing the decision to resume working before you are healed may prolong or exacerbate your injuries.
Before Resuming Work
If your workers’ compensation has ended, speak with your doctor before attempting to resume your previous job. Discuss the following points with him or her:
- Are you cleared to return to work? Have your injuries sufficiently healed?
- Where do you stand with regards to your Maximum Medical Improvement or MMI level?
- If you have not fully recovered, are there any restrictions that you must follow before resuming work?
You can only have this discussion if your doctor knows what your job duties are, so first walk your doctor through what a regular day looks like for you, and any duties you have that may affect your condition. This conversation can also help you determine whether you want to return to your previous job or if it may be better for you to find new employment that will better support your condition and injury history.
If you are cleared to go back to work but need to follow certain restrictions such as not lifting heavy objects, you may want to take a written note from your doctor to your employer outlining those restrictions.
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Benefits Offered by Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation System
Georgia workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of your regular weekly wages every week, up to a maximum of $675 per week. This amount may last for 400 weeks, or until you are cleared to return to work by your doctor. There could be other circumstances, such as a permanent disability, that impact how long you are able to receive compensation.
Workers’ compensation also pays for the costs of medical treatment, including medications, therapies, and travel expenses to receive care. There may also be job training or placement assistance available to you through the Georgia SBWC.
Georgia requires that any company with over three employees, including part-time employees, carry unemployment insurance.
When a Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied
It is not uncommon for a Georgia workers’ compensation claim to be denied. There are many reasons why this may happen. These include:
- A lack of evidence that the injury occurred at work
- A lack of evidence that the injury exists
- The workers’ compensation process was not followed correctly
- Technical errors in the application
Fortunately, Georgia provides injured employees with two chances to appeal a denied claim. This can allow them to gather additional evidence and to present their case before an SBWC judge. If the judge also denies the employee benefits, a second appeal can be made before the Appellate Division.
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Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for Help on Your Case
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers helps injured employees in the Atlanta area with all aspects of their workers’ compensation claims. We may be able to help you if:
- You are just starting the workers’ compensation claims process
- Your initial claim was denied, and you want help with an appeal
- You believe that you have been treated unfairly at any stage of the process by your doctor, your employer, or by the Georgia SBWC
For help with these concerns, or to discuss whether you have to return to work after your workers’ compensation ends, contact a member of our team today at (678) 562-5595. A representative of Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can evaluate your case and discuss your legal options in a free, no-obligation consultation.