Workers' compensation law in Georgia requires most employers to provide medical benefits and temporary disability insurance to employees who are injured on the job. Are you facing a complex workers' compensation injury or case? You may need a lawyer to fight for you. Keep reading or click here for a few quick tips and further information concerning workers' compensation.
For a FREE initial consultation, call Lonati Law Firm at 678-363-3500.
If you've been injured at work, it's time to call an experienced Workers' Compensation Attorney in Dallas, GA, to protect your rights and help you navigate the legal system.
Workplace injuries vary and include things like broken bones due to falls and illnesses from occupational hazards, such as asbestos exposure. They can also include less frequent ailments like psychological harm and aggravation of preexisting conditions.
The first step to take after a workplace injury is to report it to your employer as soon as possible, even if it seems minor – small injuries can turn into larger issues. There is a 30-day time limitation for reporting an injury to obtain workers' compensation eligibility.
After reporting the incident, you will be provided with a list of doctors that you can visit. However, if your injuries are serious enough to require immediate medical attention, an emergency room visit or urgent care bill will be covered by the program, as well. Seeing a doctor soon after the injury is critical to receiving the necessary medical care and documenting your injuries.
Keeping good records is vital. Document your doctor's appointments and the results of each. Keep track of any time you miss work due to your injuries, as you may be entitled to payment for lost wages. Furthermore, if you return to work on light duty, it may reduce your earnings and result in eligibility for partial disability benefits.
Be sure you follow your doctor's recommended course of treatment to remain eligible for workers' comp benefits. An exception to this rule: If you believe you are getting substandard care, you might be able to go to a different doctor or get a second opinion.
When you suffer a workplace injury, talking to an experienced attorney with in-depth knowledge of Georgia workers' compensation laws is wise. These laws were created to protect workers, but some employers and insurance companies are not big fans of them and will attempt to deny legitimate claims.
A knowledgeable law firm like Lonati Law Firm, PC. in Dallas, Georgia, can work on your behalf to ensure you get the full benefits warranted for your injury. Call 678-363-3500 to set up a free consultation regarding your workplace injury.
Georgia law states that when an employer has three or more employees, they must provide workers' compensation. The definition of employee includes those working full-time, part-time, or seasonally. The only exceptions are sole proprietors, partners, railroad workers, US government workers, farmworkers, and domestic servants.
Employers usually obtain workers' compensation insurance through private insurers. The amount of workers' compensation an employer has to pay usually depends on various factors, including the industry, the kind of work the employee does, the location, and so on. On average, business owners in Georgia are expected to pay between $1.08 per $100 of payroll for workers' compensation insurance.
In the state of Georgia, workers' compensation benefits are awarded on a no-fault basis. This means that benefits cannot be withheld from an employee due to the employee's perceived negligence or fault. In exchange for no-fault workers' compensation rights, employees in Georgia forfeit the right to sue their employer in court for a work-related injury.
The state of Georgia provides temporary disability benefits to employees who are out of work for more than one week due to job-related injuries.
These benefits are capped at two-thirds of an employee's weekly income with a maximum benefit of $575 per week. Depending on the nature of a person's injury, benefits extend to the point of maximum medical improvement. If the injured person does not heal from his or her work-related injuries, workers' comp benefits can be paid out for up to 400 weeks. These benefits include medical care and rehabilitation care required for maximum medical improvement.
In the state of Georgia, you must report your injury to your employer with 30 days of the injury's occurrence. It is best to report your injury immediately after it happens. Once your report has been made, go directly to the hospital or a medical clinic to receive appropriate medical treatment.
Immediate treatment for your injuries gives you the best chance at a fast recovery. It also decreases the likelihood that your employer can reasonably claim that your injuries weren't related to your job.
If you fail to report your injury within the 30-day window, your workers' compensation claim may be denied by your employer or their insurance company.
An employee who has been injured at work is entitled to certain benefits, regardless of whether they are temporarily or permanently disabled. However, the benefits will vary depending on the severity of the injuries.
At Lonati Law Firm, we're dedicated to helping you navigate the murky waters of Georgia's workers' compensation laws with our expert guidance. No matter what you need—whether you're seeking disability or medical benefits—our lawyers can help. Even if the time period for your claim has ended due to a lack of cooperation from your employer, we may be able to help you get an extension so you can receive your benefits.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits
You'll receive TTD benefits if your doctor says you can't work while recovering or if you're put on "light work duty," but there's no such thing at your company. TTD benefits come into effect once you've been out of work for at least a week. If you're out of work for 21 days also, you will be entitled to cheques during that period.
TTD benefits are capped at two-thirds of an employee's weekly income with a maximum benefit of $675 as of July 1, 2019. They also cover the medical care and rehabilitation required to maximize medical recovery. However, unless you've had a catastrophic injury that takes weeks to heal, then you can only receive TTD benefits for up to 400 weeks.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits
Employees are entitled to TPD benefits if they can return to work but with some restrictions. These benefits apply if you're earning less than you used to before injury or illness. The reason for this could be that you are working fewer hours and are therefore getting paid less. TPD benefits are capped at two-thirds of your weekly earnings with a maximum benefit of $450.
When an employee dies due to a work-related accident, their surviving dependents—spouses or children—are eligible for workers' compensation death benefits. If the deceased has no surviving dependents, the employer is obligated to pay the State Board of Workers' Compensation half the amount they'd have owed the dependents, or $10,000.
Workers' Compensation death benefits should cover the funeral costs for the deceased, any medical bills accumulated after the work-related accident, and lost future income to the surviving dependents. Typically, the death benefit claimed by dependents would amount up to a maximum of $675 for 400 weeks.
However, this benefit comes with conditions. For the deceased's surviving children, they will receive benefits up till the age of 18 if they're enrolled in school. But if they're a full-time student over the age of 18, then they will receive benefits until they are 22.
If the surviving dependent is the deceased's spouse, they are eligible for benefits for up to 400 weeks. If they get married within this time period or cohabitate with a partner, they are no longer eligible for the workers' compensation death benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits
If your workplace injury has resulted in you living with a permanent disability, it makes you eligible for PPD benefits. However, it'll only be granted if you have no ongoing TPD or PPD claims and will have to be verified by your doctor.
With PPD benefits, you'll receive weekly payments for life at the TTD rate—that is, two-thirds of your weekly income with a maximum benefit of $675. PPD claims also happen to be the most common across the country.
Catastrophic Injury Benefits
Under Georgia law, there is no category for a "Permanent Total Disability." However, if a work-related accident results in losing a significant body part, you qualify for a catastrophic injury claim.
According to Georgia law, spinal cord injuries, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, second or third-degree burns, and total blindness fall under the category of a catastrophic injury. The benefits that come with this claim include financial benefits for life, medical treatment, and rehabilitation.
While a lawyer is not required, there are many reasons to seek the assistance of a workers' compensation lawyer, including:
There are many more reasons why having a lawyer to back you up and fight for your rights is beneficial. Oftentimes, insurance companies will even refuse workers' compensation claims if they suspect it may lead to fraud.
When you suffer a debilitating injury on the job, Georgia law entitles you to certain benefits, including supplemental income and medical care.
Work-related injuries can cause physical pain and suffering, disability, and even permanent immobility. So what are your rights in Georgia when you've been injured on the job? How can you make sure you receive the benefits and support to which you're entitled under Georgia law?
Today, we're examining the laws regarding workers' compensation in Georgia--and how they can affect you.
Here are some of the most common work injury questions our clients ask us at Lonati Law Firm. Have more questions for our Dallas workers comp lawyer? We are happy to answer them during a free consultation.
Workers' compensation is an insurance program paid by employers that provides financial and medical support to employees who fell ill or were injured while on the job. Some of the benefits that come with workers' compensation include emergency treatment, hospitalization fees, prescription costs, and physical rehabilitation.
Under Georgia law, workers' compensation benefits are awarded on a no-fault basis. This means that the employer can't deny an employee of benefits because of alleged incompetence. In exchange, employees are not able to sue their employer for work-related injury or illness.
The vast majority of Georgia businesses are required to carry workers' comp insurance.
According to the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation:
"Georgia requires most employers with three or more full-time, part-time or seasonal employees to have workers' compensation insurance. If the business is incorporated or an LLC, the corporate officers or members are included in the three or more employee count regardless of whether they exempt themselves from coverage."
All employers who regularly employ three or more people are required by Georgia law to carry workers' compensation insurance.
Failure to carry workers' comp when the law requires it can result in an employer being fined or criminally prosecuted. That employer may also be sued by the injured worker for damages related to their workplace injury.
It's important to note the types of employment that are not covered by Georgia's workers' compensation law: domestic servants, farm laborers, railroad workers, and US government agencies. Many of these industries are governed by their own unique statutes regarding on-the-job injuries.
The state of Georgia pays temporary disability benefits to employees who are out of work for more than one week due to injuries they suffered on the job.
These benefits are equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, with a cap of $575 per week. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be able to receive these benefits for up to 400 weeks. Additionally, employees injured on the job in Georgia are entitled to medical benefits. This means your employer is required to pay for all necessary medical expenses that you incurred as a result of your injury.
After your injury claim has been submitted to your employer's workers' compensation insurance, the insurance company has 21 days to investigate the claim and begin distributing benefits.
*This information changes often - see the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation Website for the current year's updated laws and benefit amounts.*
The time limit for filing a workers' compensation claim in Georgia is one year from the day of the injury. You must notify your employer within 30 days of being injured so they can report your injury to their workers' compensation insurance provider.
In Georgia, if your injury has been reported within 30 days of occurrence, then you may be eligible for workers' compensation—but it's always best to do it as soon as it happens. Written reports are not required, but if you do submit one, remember to keep a copy of it.
If you fail to make a report within 30 days, your claim may be dismissed by your employer or their insurance agency. In some cases, however, you may have to apply for a legal exception or take the case to civil court.
Once you've made your report, you should go directly to a hospital or a medical clinic and seek immediate medical treatment. The faster you're treated, the higher your chances are of a quick recovery. It could also lessen the likelihood of your employer claiming your injury isn't work-related.
If you've been injured on the job and have reported your injury to your employer, your employer is required by law to report your injury to their workers' compensation insurance company. Your employer has broken the law if they do any of the following after your workplace injury:
> Openly discourages you from reporting your injury
> Uses intimidation or fear to discourage you from reporting your injury (threatens demotion or termination, threatens to withhold pay, etc)
> Refuses to cooperate with your claim
> Refuses to submit your injury report to their workers' compensation insurance
In order to maximize your workers' compensation benefits, you must be aware of the legal stipulations of receiving treatment for a work-related injury.
Even if your employer accepts your claim, he or she may insist you be treated by a doctor chosen by the company. In actuality, your employer should present you with a list of Authorized Treating Physicians, all of which must be located within 50 miles of your job site. The list must include at least six physicians, with at least one minority doctor and one one orthopaedic surgeon. Injured employees are allowed to switch from one panel doctor to another one time without getting approval.
If your employer doesn't have a list of ATPs, he or she may have a Conformed Panel (which must contain 10 physicians to choose from) or an agreement with a Managed Care Organization.
The employer is required to post this list in obvious places around the job site or company office. If your employer offers none of these workers' comp physician lists, you (the employee) are allowed to choose your own physician for treatment.
Additionally, ATP lists, Conformed Panels and MCOs do not apply when an employee suffers a life-threatening injury. The employee should seek treatment at the nearest emergency medical facility. The employer will then be required to cover all medical costs related to the diagnosis and treatment of the emergency injury, even if the treating physician is not on the approved panel of physicians.
Once the emergency medical injury has been treated, any subsequent care related to the injury must be performed by a physician on your employer's list of ATPs.
There are several workers' compensation issues that require the expertise of a workers' comp lawyer:
1. Your benefits do not totally cover your injury-related medical expenses
2. Your claim has been denied for questionable reasons
3. Your benefits have not been paid out in a timely manner
4. You fear that your employer will retaliate against you for seeking benefits
Don't navigate the confusing waters of Georgia workers' comp without the expert guidance of a workers' compensation attorney.
A lawyer who specializes in workers' comp cases can help you win the disability and medical benefits you are entitled to under Georgia law. If the time period for your claim has elapsed due to your employer's lack of cooperation, we can help you get an extension on your benefits eligibility.
Contact our offices today for a free consultation and case evaluation: 678-363-3500
Lonati Law Firm in Dallas, Georgia, specializes in workers' compensation benefits claims and cases. We can help you file and receive the support you deserve for your workplace injury.
Contact our offices today to schedule your free initial consultation!
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