If you treat with an authorized workers' comp doctor in Georgia, that doctor is supposed to do a few things when he sees you. First, the doctor is supposed to diagnose your injury. Next, the doctor is supposed to come up with a treatment plan. But lastly, and very importantly, that doctor is also supposed to say what kind of work you can perform, and whether or not you have work restrictions.
Generally, a Georgia workers' comp doctor will say one of three things when it comes to work restrictions:
Option #1: No work
Option #2: Full-duty work without any restrictions
Option #3: It is safe to return to work, but only under certain restrictions
If the doctor says no work, then you should not return to work, and after seven days, income benefits will become due. If the doctor says you have no work restrictions at all, you should return to the job and make your best effort to continue working; not doing so will most likely put your continued employment in jeopardy.
But what if the doctor gives you work restrictions? In that scenario, you should make sure you get a copy of the restrictions in writing. You will want to bring a copy of these restrictions to your job and show them to your supervisor. You should then ask whether your employer can actually provide you with a suitable job within the restrictions. If they can, it is in your best interest to try the job. If, on the other hand, they don't have a suitable job, or they don't have any kind of light-duty positions at all, you will most likely be entitled to income benefits after seven days have passed. Under this scenario, it is the equivalent of getting a no-work status from the doctor.
Of course, how things are supposed to work in theory and how they work in reality are often very different things. Your employer may initially tell you that they have light-duty work but once you are back on the job, they may demand that you perform work beyond the doctor's restrictions. Or they may just ignore the restrictions completely.
If you have been given work restrictions, or any kind of work status note from a doctor and are having problems with your job or are unsure what to do next give the O'Connell Law Firm a call today!