Returning to Work
If you have been out of work following an on-the-job injury and your employer calls to tell you to return to work, I would strongly advise you not to set foot on your employer’s premises unless a form called Form WC-240 has been issued in your case.
Form WC-240 is critical to the issue of getting you back to work in what is often referred to as light duty. Not just some technical requirement, this form (also called the “NOTICE TO EMPLOYEE OF OFFER OF SUITABLE EMPLOYMENT”) is used by employers to formally notify you of an offer of injury-appropriate work, which is suitable to your impaired condition, as is required by Georgia law.
This form, with all attachments, including an accurate light duty job description, the date and time that the job will be available, etc., must be provided to you and your counsel at least ten days prior to the date you are expected to return to work. A copy is also filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board.
This form protects both sides, though it can provide a subtle advantage to your employer. WC-240 can provide a method to suspend your benefits if you are unwilling to attempt a suitable light duty job which has been approved by the authorized treating physician. Your benefits may be halted until such time as you no longer refuse, or until it is determined by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation that your refusal is justified.
The WC-240 also protects you, the injured worker. If you show up at your workplace and your employer does not have a light duty job as described on the WC-240, your refusal to try a job outside those limitations will not impact negatively on your ongoing case and befits. Also, if you try the light duty job for up to 14 days and cannot perform it based on your physical limitations, your compensation benefits will resume immediately.
Do Not Return to Work without a WC-240 and Do Not Respond to Pressure
from Your Employer to Return Unless You Have the WC-240 Form in Hand
If you return to work without a WC-240, you risk the situation where the light duty job is too much for you and if you cannot perform it you may suffer a loss of benefits or your employment all together. If you return to work as outlined in the WC-240, the burden falls on the employer and/or their insurer to try to stop your benefits.
The issues of WC-240 are complicated and you could benefit immeasurably from the assistance of counsel experienced in this area – to make sure your rights are properly asserted and you get the compensation and care you deserve.
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