When we get hurt at work, we expect to be taken care of. Employees in Georgia are entitled to certain benefits under workers’ compensation. These include both financial benefits and medical care. The goal is to make sure you can take care of your family while you’re waiting to go back to work. There are times, however, when you return to work before you’re fully healed. This is called light duty.
Typically, the reason you go on workers’ comp is because you can’t do your job. Your injuries are too serious for you to work. Most people stay home during this time until they’re healed. They don’t return to work until they’re physically recovered, but a lot of employers offer their employees modified work so that they can contribute while they’re waiting to heal from their injuries.
Light duty is usually reserved for office workers. It is not really something available to people who do physical labor. There are exceptions to this rule though. For example, even a warehouse worker can be offered light duty. They could use him to process orders or do something that isn’t physical.
The question is – does your employer have to offer you light duty? And, if they do, are you required to take it? Workers’ comp lawyers in Albany, Georgia deal with these questions all the time.
Your Albany Workers’ Comp Lawyer Knows How Light Duty Works in Georgia
When you go out on workers’ comp, you could be released to something called light duty. When your doctor decides that you can go back to work, he may recommend that you ease back into it. He may recommend that you return to work for light duty while you’re waiting for your injuries to fully heal.
The law in Georgia used to be pretty clear when it came to light duty. If you didn’t at least try to light duty job, you would lose your benefits. You didn’t have the right to refuse. Nor did you have to right to assume that you couldn’t do the job.
Today, the rule is a little different. Yes, you are required to at least try the light duty. If you don’t, your benefits will be cut off. If you find that you’re unable to do the job, you can let your employer know. As long as you stop performing the light duty within fifteen (15) days, you can resume collecting your benefits.
While you’re on light duty, you should receive your full pay. This is another consideration. While collecting workers’ comp, you only earn about 2/3 of your pay. Once you return to light duty, you’ll go back to receiving your full wages.
Your Albany Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help if Your Benefits Are Terminated Due to Light Duty Issues
In Georgia, if you refuse light duty, you’ll lose your workers’ compensation benefits. The only way you can try to get them back is by filing an appeal. Your workers’ comp attorney will be able to help you do this.
The problem is that it takes months for the commission to process your appeal. This means you could go weeks or even months with no benefits. You’ll have no way to feed your family. There’s nothing your lawyer can really do to rush this process.
This is why you’re usually better off at least trying the light duty. If you try and find it’s too painful, you can let your employer know. They can either look for an alternate assignment or put you back on workers’ comp.
Employers prefer that you accept the light duty position. They are already paying someone to do the job you used to do. It’s in their best interests that you be somewhat productive while recovering from your accident.
Contact a Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Albany, Georgia Today
If you have questions about returning to work after your workers’ comp claim, contact a workers’ comp lawyer in Albany. Your lawyer can review your case and let you know your rights. He can review the issues you’re having with light duty and let you know your options.
You should call and schedule a consultation with your Albany workers’ comp lawyer. You can sit down with an experienced lawyer who knows exactly how to handle your situation. The consultation is free and you don’t pay a dime until you settle your case.
The insurance company will have attorneys working for them and you should too.