Q: In a worker’s comp case how much say does your attorney have in deciding when you can go back to work?
My doctor has already released me to go back on light duty.
A: Your lawyer has more influence over your return to work than you might imagine, but less than you might want. The person who has the most control over whether you return to work is your authorized treating doctor ("ATP"). However, a good local attorney has a lot of relationships with doctors, and cultivates a good reputation amongst the medical community. That way, when the lawyer speaks with the doctors about your injury, the doctors are more likely to listen, and to adjust your work status. Your lawyer will also know what forms must be filed by an Employer/Insurer before they can force you to attempt a light duty job. Typically, in Georgia, the insurer will send the doctor a WC-240A form, which identifies some job which they think you can do. If the doctor agrees, and the form is correctly completed, filed, and served, then the insurer can force you to return to light duty work on penalty of losing your weekly income benefits if you fail to do so. Even in that situation, a good local attorney will know when you can be pulled back out of work, and can often get your weekly benefits restarted, assuming the "light duty" job offered by the Employer is not really appropriate. If you haven't talked this over with your lawyer, I recommend that you do so. If you can't reach your lawyer on the phone, or they don't seem to understand this process, consider hiring someone more experienced and responsive. Good luck!
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