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Pitfalls in a Catastrophic Workers’ Compensation Case – Providing Evidence of Your Work Restrictions

Another pitfall is that the medical reports from your treating doctors will not be specific enough to win the catastrophic case.

What type of evidence of work restrictions do I need?

Usually, the only way medical evidence will help you win your catastrophic case is if it allows a vocational expert to testify that you cannot perform your prior work or other work available in substantial numbers in the national economy for which you are otherwise qualified. It often comes down to exactly what type of work restrictions your doctors give you.

There are some work restrictions that may keep you from doing all kinds of jobs. For example, if you cannot lift very much, cannot sit very long, and cannot stand very long, then there is a good chance that you are not going to be able to do any work that is available in “substantial number in the national economy”. However, if your doctor does not clearly state that, then the vocational expert and the workers’ compensation administrative law judge will not have the evidence to determine that your work injury is catastrophic. It is very important for your treating doctors to be very specific about all the ways that your injury can affect your ability to work.

You also have to prove that you cannot do your prior work in order to qualify for a catastrophic designation. If your prior work was physically demanding, this may be easy. If your prior work was not physically demanding, then it is going to be more difficult. However, if you do not establish that you cannot do your prior work, you will lose your catastrophic case (unless you satisfy one of the specific types of catastrophic injuries reference in O.C.G.A. §34-9-200.1(g)(6) which were discussed in my earlier blog posts).

Getting help with a catastrophic designation

Catastrophic designation is a very complicated area of the Georgia workers’ compensation law. You do not have to have an attorney to handle any part of your workers’ compensation case, but this is an area of the law where I would almost always say that someone is making a mistake if they do not get an attorney. There are simply too many pitfalls in proving your catastrophic case for it to be a good decision to try to do it on your own.  You can get a free consultation with one of our attorneys by calling the phone number on the right or completing the “Need Help” form on 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.

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Jason Perkins

Workers' Compensation Attorney

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