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What Should I Do After a Work Injury in Georgia?

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After your work injury, how can you move on with your life? You've mapped out your goals. You know precisely what you want and what it will take to achieve your ambitions. So why are you still stuck at step one?

Obtaining fair compensation can beat down even the most optimistic employees, but this is not the time to give up hope. Keep reading to learn more about overcoming everyday obstacles:

Considering Other Professions

Despite fully recovering, you may have discovered that you are no longer cut out for highly physical work. Refrain from stubbornly pursuing a career path that no longer makes sense. You can still fulfill your goal of feeling productive; you might have to pursue your dream in a different capacity. For example, instead of taking on the more physical aspects of construction, you could work in the office or try for a management position. In addition, your experience could prompt new endeavors, such as campaigning for better adherence to workplace safety standards.

Changing professions may prove necessary. Don't let a new career path scare you; take time to acquaint yourself with your new field. Seek training from community colleges or apprentice programs. Utilize the numerous transferable skills developed in your previous profession.

Only Equating Success With Your Job

Professional pursuits can deliver fulfillment, but a successful career is by no means the only hallmark of a satisfying life. If you can no longer resume your previous job, find new ways to define yourself. Hobbies, volunteer efforts, and strong relationships can fill the void left by a demanding career. Set goals outside of the work world and celebrate each new achievement.

Overcome legal and personal obstacles with assistance from Smith, Wallis, and Scott, LLP. Our team is here to help you succeed. Call or email us to set up a confidential case consultation.

After a Georgia Workplace Injury: Preparing to Return to Your Chosen Field

Despite having suffered an injury on the job, you are determined to return to your former profession. This is a wise choice, not only for your finances but also for your mental health and social life. As you recover, however, you'll encounter new challenges, both physical and mental. These challenges can make previously simple workplace tasks a lot more complicated. So keep the following in mind as you return to your chosen field:

Take it Slow

It's tempting to return full force and prove that you are as capable as ever, but that is a recipe for aggravating your injury. So be careful, and do not take on more than you can handle.

Many employers are surprisingly forgiving of workers who cannot fully take on their former duties after injury. Consider asking your employer for a different set of responsibilities as you continue to recover. Again, communication is vital — your employer will not know if a job is beyond your capacity unless you speak up.

Document Your Symptoms

Keep a careful record of your symptoms at work and home. If your condition worsens, take detailed notes and seek prompt medical care. Depending on your current situation and recovery, you may be eligible for ongoing benefits, such as intermittent lost time or reduced earning honors.

Use Good Judgment and Consider Switching Careers

Even the most determined employees often cannot return to their former duties after suffering a workplace injury. It is worth trying, of course, but if you cannot handle your former job, it may be time to consider working in a new field. Of course, only you know what you can take, so be aware of your post-injury abilities.

The mental burden can be considerable in the aftermath of a workplace injury. Keep the legal stress to a minimum with help from Smith, Wallis, and Scott, LLP.

Finding Work in a New Field After Your Georgia Work Injury

After suffering a workplace injury and undergoing a grueling recovery period, you believe you're ready to work again — but not for your former employer. Your injuries may be too severe, or your mental trauma too significant to handle the demands of your old job. Knowing your limits is good, but your workers' compensation will only carry you so far. So keep the following considerations in mind as you hunt for a new job in a new career field:

Think About the Physical Aspects of Your New Career 

Could you be trading one physically grueling field for another? Some jobs seem more accessible to outsiders than they are, so do your research and determine whether you can handle the physical demands of your intended career path. It may help to shadow somebody in the field so that you know exactly what a typical day on the job will entail.

Utilize Your Transferable Skills

Many of the skills you developed in your previous profession can be used to transfer seamlessly into a new field. As you search for a new career path, take stock of all you've accomplished thus far, and determine which skills new employers might value. For example, communication skills can be developed even in very physical jobs, and the teamwork you've demonstrated in your past work might impress a new employer.

Frame This Transition As An Exciting Opportunity

Transiting may prove difficult if you loved the job you had before your injury. Instead of viewing this career shift as a burden, consider the possibilities. What began as a devastating injury may end with you discovering the career of your dreams.

As you pursue work in a new field, Smith, Wallis, and Scott, LLP can help you obtain the workers' compensation you are owed. Call 770-214-2500 for more information.

The Road to Recovery After Your Georgia Work Injury

Recovery after a workplace injury can be frustratingly slow, but your ultimate goal is to get back to work as soon as possible. Minimal stress and a healthy lifestyle can accelerate the recovery process, so be sure to incorporate the following practices into your daily life:

Pursue Strength Training

Strength training can help your body bounce back from injury while reducing the potential for future injuries. If you're already working with a physical therapist, complete all the exercises you've been instructed to do at home. In the future, it may also help to work with a personal trainer.

Eat a Healthy Diet

The proper nutrients can make a huge difference as you embark on the recovery process — and foods that lack nutrients can bring your progress to a standstill. Of course, fruits and vegetables are essential, but healthy protein sources are equally crucial for muscle repair. Likewise, keep refined carbohydrates to a minimum. Keeping all food groups in moderation will result in a balanced diet and a healthier body.

Tackle Stress

The mental aspects of recovery are often more challenging than the physical pain and discomfort. It's easy to get discouraged, especially if the recovery process doesn't go as quickly as you anticipated. However, the last thing you need right now is additional stress, so tackle it head-on through prayer, meditation, yoga, or regular visits with a therapist.

Documentation

Certain behaviors and practices may worsen your condition, but documentation makes it easier to identify patterns. For example, record your diet, strength training regimen, and any symptoms you observe during the day. Then, make adjustments accordingly, based on the advice of your physician or physical therapist.

As you tackle the mental and physical aspects of recovery, let Smith, Wallis, and Scott, LLP handle the legal side of your case.

Getting Back to Work After Your Injury

In your vision of life after your work injury, you've returned to work following a lengthy recovery period. You may carry out the same daily tasks that occupied your time before your injury. Another possible outcome: your injury convinced you to take stock of your career and what it could be. Rather than return to your former job, you now enjoy a better position for an employer who values your health and safety. Either way, you earn enough to get by and enjoy complete professional satisfaction.

Work-Life Balance After Your Work Injury

There is more to life than work. While the right job can deliver fulfillment, many people with seemingly miserable occupations find happiness. Be realistic about your job prospects; if a total return to work isn't in the cards, envision a satisfying life away from the daily grind. Your injury may keep you from your previous position, but you can still make the most of your talent as a part-time employee or volunteer.

Allow Yourself to Mourn

Denying reality will only make you feel worse. If your injury destroyed your career trajectory, take some time to feel bad about it. Set a limit on your mourning, however. In special situations, Georgia workers' compensation covers mental health treatment; take advantage of counseling opportunities.

Smith, Wallis, and Scott, LLP can help you navigate your workers' compensation settlement and achieve your dream life. Get in touch today to learn more.

Avoiding Reinjury After Your Georgia Work Injury

A workplace injury has left you unable to complete your typical job duties. Reinjury could result in a much more extended leave and may even call the legitimacy of your earlier workers' compensation claim into doubt. At this point, avoiding additional injury should be your chief priority. Speak with your doctor and therapist about the following potentially innovative ideas:

Yoga After Your Injury

A limber body and a good balance are crucial to injury prevention. Consider enrolling in an easy yoga class at a local studio, or better yet, one specifically targeted at people dealing with illness and injury. Avoid the temptation to challenge yourself with an advanced course such as vinyasa or ashtanga, as overdoing it could lead to the exact afflictions you're trying to prevent.

Take it Easy

There are better times to try strenuous new activities such as water skiing or snowboarding than the aftermath of a workplace injury. Recreation-related reinjury is not eligible for compensation, and it could even call your previous injury into doubt. Consult a physician before trying any potentially strenuous activities.

As you recover, look to Smith, Wallis, and Scott, LLP, for assistance with your Georgia worker's compensation claim.

Resources for After Your Georgia Work Injury

Knowledge is power in the aftermath of a workplace injury. These resources will provide valuable insight and inspiration as you recover from your injury and prepare for your return to the workforce:

  • The Puzzling Geography of Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation varies significantly from one state to the next. Learn more about regional disparities in this report from NPR and ProPublica, which shines a much-needed light on problematic issues with workers' comp and the treatment of injured employees.

  • Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job

Over time, the failure to provide proper coverage for injured employees leads to significant financial hardship. This Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) report highlights workers' compensation (or lack thereof) 's role in income inequality. It also offers suggestions for better protecting workers in the future.

  • How to Avoid the Most Common Workplace Injuries

As an employee, you may have little control over your employers' safety standards and adherence to OSHA regulations. However, you can avoid joint issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and eye strain. This Howcast video is most applicable to office workers but offers advice for those who regularly move heavy loads.

  • Workplace Injury: A Personal Story

You'll instantly relate to this story of woe from injured worker Bill Bowman. Bowman details how he and his family were impacted by workplace injury in this free podcast. Although he hails from Canada, his story offers valuable insight for anybody injured on the job.

The more you know about workers' compensation and its role in your recovery, the better. So get educated; contact Smith, Wallis, and Scott, LLP, for more information on workers' comp in Georgia.

  • Accidentally

A monthly podcast from the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards (IAIABC), Accidentally offers compelling insights into workers' compensation: its history, how it stands today, and anticipated innovations.

  • Workers' Compensation Research Institute Benchmarks

WCRI is committed to providing the public with accurate, up-to-date information on workers' compensation and its role in the United States economy. The organization offers extensive benchmark information.

  • These Are Our Stories

Although created in Australia, this YouTube video applies to injured workers in the United States who struggle to overcome unfortunate stereotypes of laziness and lethargy. In These Are Our Stories, Australians recovering from illnesses and conditions incurred on the job speak of their suffering, their recovery, and their hopes for lives free of pain and negative judgment.

  • OSHA's Most Cited Violations For 2016

Thousands of workers are killed yearly, and many more are injured due to safety violations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has yet to release violation information for 2017, but the 2016 list is in keeping with long-term trends. Ongoing issues include a complete lack of protection against falls, poor hazard communication, and minimal respiratory protection. A thorough understanding of these issues and their role in your injury (or could play in future injuries) could impact the capacity in which you eventually choose to return to work.

Once you've finished looking through the resources outlined above, contact Smith, Wallis, and Scott, LLP, to learn about workers' compensation.

What Are the Psychological Costs of Being on Worker's Compensation For an Extended Period?

In the short term, worker's compensation allows you to step back from a dangerous workplace setting and recover from injuries sustained on the job. Over time, however, a lack of meaningful work may leave you feeling socially and mentally unfulfilled, placing you at greater risk of depression. If you're currently on worker's compensation, look out for the problems detailed below:

Lack of Social Connection

One of the most underrated benefits of working a full-time job is spending significant time within a close social network. You might not always like your coworkers, but you have a great deal in common with them — and they can provide a shoulder to lean on when the going gets tough. Unfortunately, you may feel lonelier and less connected to your once solid social group if you spend your time away from work while receiving worker's compensation. This sense of disconnection could ultimately lead to depression.

Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness occurs when a victim or perceived victim develops a mindset of powerlessness. This is the brain's way of dealing with traumatic situations, but unfortunately, it can make it very difficult to move forward. For example, employees injured on the job may develop learned helplessness and rely on their worker's compensation as a crutch, thereby failing to reclaim the sense of accomplishment that once accompanied a successful day on the job.

As you strive for a worker's compensation claim that aligns with the severity of your injury, keep in mind that there could be a downside to taking long breaks from work. However, this understanding should allow you to take advantage of the compensation you're owed. Instead, help you avoid mental health problems that commonly strike employees who spend extended periods away from the workplace.

Contact Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP at your earliest convenience to learn more about the legal aspects of worker's compensation.

Adapting to a Different Lifestyle After Your Injury

There's no denying it—your workplace injury changed everything. Whether you currently suffer physical pain or anxiety about your future, life no longer looks quite like it did before your accident. The key to moving forward in peace? Acknowledging and accepting what's true now. As the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu eloquently said, "Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them—that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."

Follow these suggestions to get your life back on track:

Determine What's Different Now

Take a few minutes to think carefully about your day-to-day life and how it's changed since the accident. Examples may include:

  • An inability to pursue previous hobbies
  • Fewer social outings and an ensuing sense of social isolation
  • Limited mobility if you can no longer drive
  • You may no longer feel as if you contribute positively to your community or society at large

Clarify Your True Feelings and Needs

Once you've determined how life differs today, delve into your true feelings about the situation and your plans to move forward. Then, in your journal, reflect on the following questions:

  • Are there any silver linings to my problem? Any small ways in which my life is better today than it was before?
  • What stands in the form of the goals I set for myself before the accident?
  • How could my plans change to reflect my new reality while still allowing me to move forward with satisfaction?

A little reflection can make a big difference as you determine how to proceed. Life might not look exactly like it did before your workplace accident, but there's still plenty to accomplish and plenty to celebrate.

No matter how your life has changed—whether a lower back injury has made it impossible to lift your young child without pain or whiplash from a construction accident has caused you to rack up thousands in chiropractor bills—you can count on Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP for support. Call (770) 214-2500 today to learn how we can assist you with your Georgia workers' compensation case.

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