Another potential category of exposure for the Employer/Insurer in the Workers' Compensation case is benefits for vocational rehabilitation. While many attorneys practicing in this area may assert that this category can be as much of a nuisance to the injured worker and his attorney as it can be a benefit, it should still be addressed in the attempt to maximize settlement value. Unless the case involves a catastrophic injury or other particularized considerations, however, this category is not a large area of monetary exposure for the Employer/Insurer by the time a case is ready to be settled. The general framework for vocational rehabilitation benefits can be found in O.C.G.A. Sec. 34-9-200.1 and Board Rule 200.1.
Vocational rehabilitation benefits and related services in the Workers' Compensation context can include services of nurse case managers and/or vocational rehabilitation counselors, as well as vocational testing and training, and even education expense for retraining and placement into a new occupation if and when the circumstances require it. These services can include having a nurse or vocational rehabilitation counselor coordinate medical care and appointments for the Employee/Claimant while he is treating; attend visits with the injured worker during care; coordinate testing as necessary to determine physical and mental capacities and aptitudes as the injured worker becomes able to return to work; and provide assistance with searching for suitable work.
Cooperation with vocational rehabilitation is not now required of the Employee/Claimant under the Workers' Compensation Act in claims that are not considered catastrophic. If you are unsure as to whether you qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits, speak with an Atlanta workers' compensation lawyer from our firm today. Here at Douglas F. Kaleita, P.C., we have been handling personal injury and workers' comp cases for over 22 years. Contact our office today to discuss your case by calling (888) 665-7699.