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Light Duty Return to Work

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What you should know about returning to work on light duty: The importance of the WC-240 form

If you're receiving worker's compensation benefits and you receive a light duty release to go back to work, should you go back to work?

This is a very important question, and so many of my clients seek out my help on this very issue. Unfortunately, many of my clients ask me about this after it's too late and they have already returned to work without taking proper steps!

When you are receiving weekly benefits checks, or temporary total disability (TTD) checks, your treating doctor may issue a statement which says you can return to work on "light duty." Well, before doing so, you need to be aware of some things. First, before returning to work, you need to obtain and complete what is known as a WC-240 form. The WC-240 form is a form sent to you by the workers' comp insurance company which specifically outlines the type of work you are returning to, the light duty restrictions, the pay rate,

the supervisor, and the time and date of your return. Failure to complete this form can have a negative impact on your workers' comp case. In some cases, without returning that form, your benefits can stop and you might never receive them again until you return to court, perhaps three months later! This usually happens when you return to light duty work without the form and then are unable to do the job and have to stop.

On the other hand, if you have the WC-240 Form and you make an attempt to return to light duty work at the particular job that is set forth in the WC-240 Form - BUT you are unable to do that job - then you can indeed get your TTD benefits reinstated without having to go back to court three months later. You have to attempt the job on the day you are supposed to return to work per the WC-240, and you have up to 14 days to try that job out. If there is difficulty, let's say if your pain escalates,

if you hurt yourself again, etc., then you must report that to your supervisor, call your attorney, and call your doctor and return to his or her office. At that point, your attorney will be calling the insurance company to let them know that you've made the attempt to return to work, you cannot do so, and your temporary total disability benefits must be reinstated at once. It is very, very important to know your rights.

In conclusion, you should never go back to a light duty job without that WC-240!

This applies as long as you have been receiving temporary total disability checks initially (i.e. before returning to work). However, if you've never been receiving temporary total disability checks and you were on a no-work status or a light duty status before choosing to go back to work, then this doesn't apply.

It is only applicable when you were initially receiving TTD and then go back to work on light duty when you need to do the WC-240. In this case, if you fail to go back to work with a WC-240 Form, that could have a very detrimental effect on your case.

Jodi Ginsberg is a practicing workers' compensation attorney in Atlanta, GA. She has been practicing law for over 20 years, and her website can be found at http://www.atlantaworkerscompensation.net

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