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Light Duty Job Offers After a Work Injury

If you have been injured, you probably want to get better and go back to work as quickly as possible.  Sometimes, though, you may be asked to come back too soon or to do a job that is too hard for you.

If your employer offers you a light duty job, it is important to understand how this affects your right to receive Georgia workers’ compensation benefits.  In many situations, trying the light duty job will likely mean the difference between getting a check and not.

Besides the obvious, immediate effect this will have on your family’s weekly income, it can impact your entire workers’ compensation claim.  There are a few things you need to know to avoid potential traps that could damage your case.

Rules of Light Duty Job Offers

Many insurance companies will try to get your doctor to release you to return to limited duty work and then try to get your employer to offer work within the doctor’s limitations. Getting well and getting back to work is in your best interest, but be careful.  There are dangers lurking here that you need to consider, especially when your employer follows the rules laid out in O.C.G.A. § 34-9-240 and Board Rule 240.  These rules call for the employer to use forms provided by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation including a form WC-240A (a job description submitted to your treating physician for approval) and a WC-240 (the actual notice that the light duty job is being offered to you and your doctor has approved it).

Should I Attempt the Light Duty Job

The first thing you should be concerned about if you receive a light duty job offer on a Form WC-240 is that the insurance company may be able to stop your workers’ compensation weekly benefit check if you do not try the job.  OCGA §34-9-240 provides that an insurance company may suspend benefits immediately if you refuse suitable work that is offered to you on the specified Georgia State Board forms.

If you try the job for more than eight (8) hours but have to stop it after less than fifteen (15) scheduled work days, the insurance company must restart your workers’ compensation checks immediately.  If the insurance company wants to contest your right to further workers’ compensation benefits, they can file for a hearing with a judge who will decide whether the job that has been offered to you is suitable.

But, the important difference here is that you will receive your check while you are waiting on your court date.  If you don’t try the light duty job and they suspend your benefits, you probably will not have any income until a judge rules in your favor (many months later).

Because trying the light duty job will likely mean the difference between getting a check and not, it is usually in your best interest to try the job and see if you can do it.  Besides, if you find that you are able to do the job, you may be paid full pay instead of the reduced weekly amount that workers’ compensation pays.

If you try the job and then stop because you cannot continue doing it, your employer and their insurance will likely say the job is suitable and you should have continued working.  That will be the argument that will then head to court – is the light duty job within the restrictions your doctor gave for your work injury?

Do I Need Help?

This is a highly technical and tricky area of Georgia workers’ compensation law.  It is important to know what you are facing and what your options are before you actually return to attempt the light duty work.  There are several steps that must be taken and specific forms that must be sent to you and your doctor.  Our attorneys find that many times employers and insurers do not follow all these steps.

It is a good idea to consult with an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation as soon as you become aware that your employer wants to bring you back to work on light duty.  At Perkins Studdard, our attorneys have advised numerous clients through the return to work process and have litigated these cases through successful hearings and appeals.  To get a free consultation with one of our attorneys, simply fill out the “Need Help” form or call the phone number on the right side of this page.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.

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