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Returning to work after a job-related injury

Working as a nurse means that you have to do a lot of lifting. It was only a matter of time before you hurt your back while moving a patient.

Your doctor has ordered you to be out of work for two weeks before returning for light duty. But since a nurse's job very rarely includes "light duty," you're worried about how your supervisor is going to react to your doctor's orders.

Will you lose your job for having to take the time off? Do Georgia's workers' compensation laws for lost wages and medical expenses cover you?

These are the type of questions you could be asking yourself after being hurt on the job. If you are unsure of your employer's workers' compensation insurance or how it applies to you, your best option is to contact an Atlanta attorney experienced with workplace injuries.

Read below for information on workers' compensation and what you can expect when returning to work.

Right to medical care

Under workers' compensation laws, you are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care to treat your back injury. Treatment includes all medical bills, prescriptions, rehabilitation, and even mileage reimbursement for trips to the hospital and the doctor.

Temporary disability payments

The time your doctor is ordering you take off of work might entitle you to temporary disability payments. You could receive at least partial compensation for lost wages. However, there are maximum and minimum limits to the amount you can receive. In order to receive the payments, your doctor must provide verification that you are unable to work.

Permanent disability award

If it turns out that your back injury is so severe that you will not ever completely recover from the effects, you may be entitle to a monetary award for permanent disability. The award will depend on the level you are physically limited in your activities. Other factors that affect the amount are your age, occupation, and you earning ability at the time of the accident.

Vocational rehabilitation assistance

If you are unable to return to your nursing position, your workers' compensation benefits might include assistance in getting another job.

Returning to work

Once you return to work and begin receiving pay equal to or greater than the amount you were making prior to the injury, your workers' compensation benefits will most like end. If you are earning a lesser amount, you may still qualify for benefits but at a lower rate.

While the Family Medical Leave Act requires an employer to reinstate you to your old position when you are able to return to work, workers' compensation does not provide that protection. Instead, workers' comp . is an insurance program that is regulated by state laws. Most of the time state laws do not require that you be reinstated to your original position.

Dealing with a workers' compensation claim is a very difficult process that you should not attempt alone. In order to ensure that your rights are protected, contact a local Georgia attorney experienced with workers' compensation claims.

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