Have you been involved in a work-related injury and are now unable to work? If so, under Georgia law, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation to cover your medical costs and lost wages.
Here’s a look at how workers’ compensation works, what benefits you may get, and what you should do to make sure you’re fairly compensated:
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides you with a wage and covers some other costs if you sustain injuries on the job.
The amount you can receive varies depending on your role, income, cost of your injuries, and some other factors. But, the scheme is there to help ensure get financial compensation while not being able to work.
Workers’ comp is also paid in exchange for your right to sue your employer. You cannot sue your employer or seek further compensation once you’ve accepted workers’ compensation.
You should still retain an experienced workers’ comp lawyer, however. This can ensure fair treatment and may take all the worries of filing the necessary paperwork off your hands.
Workers’ comp will also pay benefits to your dependents if you were to die in a work-related incident.
How To Check If Your Employer Offers Workers’ Compensation
To put your mind at ease, you can check if workers’ compensation covers your workplace.
The law in Georgia states that any business with three or more workers must have workers’ compensation insurance. So, if there are at least three workers at your place of employment, your company should be covered.
If you want to verify this, you can do so by going to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation website.
What To Do if You’re Injured at Work
If you sustain an injury at work, you need to take the right steps to ensure you get the maximum amount of workers’ comp you’re entitled to.
To improve your chances, you should take the following steps:
Report the Injury Immediately
The first step is to report the injury to your supervisor and make sure it’s properly recorded. Every organization will have its own procedures to follow in the event of an accident while working.
When you’re able to, take pictures of your injury and where it happened. It will also help your case if you make a note of any witnesses as legal counsel may want to speak with them later.
Seek Medical Treatment
Your employer should provide the necessary medical treatment after you report the incident. They will typically send you to a doctor of their choosing, usually on the advice of their insurance company.
For this reason, it’s advisable that you seek the advice of your own doctor for a second opinion.
Hire an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney
There are two main reasons why it’s good advice to hire an attorney. The first is that you shouldn’t have to worry about filling out all the paperwork while you’re recovering from your injuries. In addition, it’s not your responsibility to understand how the workers’ compensation laws work in Georgia.
The second is that an attorney may be able to help you fight for the maximum compensation can get. This will sometimes be a higher amount than you would have otherwise been awarded by your employer’s insurance company.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits You May Be Eligible For
The types of compensation you’re eligible for and the amount you may get will depend on your individual circumstances.
However, to give you a general idea, here are the compensation benefits commonly under workers’ compensation in Georgia:
Medical Expenses – All authorized medical costs associated with your injury fall under coverage. This includes doctor bills, physical therapy, medication, travel expenses, and so on.
Wages/Benefits – You will receive the-thirds of your average weekly wage. However, maximum is $675 per week.
Vocational Rehabilitation – There are benefits available if you have to find a different job when you return to work because of your injuries.
Disability Benefits – You can get disability benefits if you now have a permanent disability as a result of your injury.
There is some room for additional benefits based on your individual circumstances. This is something a lawyer will be able to advise you on.
How Long Will You Receive Benefits For?
Under Georgia law, you can receive benefits for up to 400 weeks. If your injury was life-changing or there are special circumstances in your case, you may receive workers’ comp benefits for life.
This is also an area where working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is important. Typically, an employer’s insurance company will want to keep long-term costs down. Don’t be offended by this, it’s their job to keep their costs low.
However, if you’ve suffered long-term injuries you should be fairly compensated for the pain and suffering you have to live with. An attorney can fight for the maximum compensation for the longest possible duration.
Work With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
No matter how serious your injury was, if you sustained an injury at work and had to take time off you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations on workers’ compensation claims as explained in 34-9-82(a) of the Official Code of Georgia is one year. With a lot of work to do gathering evidence and filling out the paperwork, it’s within your best interests to act quickly.
Michael LaScala has been representing injured workers in Atlanta for many years. By hiring Michael, you can spend time recovering from your injuries, and rest assured he will be fighting for the maximum compensation you’re entitled to.
Contact the LaScala Firm at (404) 881-8866 or by submitting a contact form. We’ll get right back to you to arrange a time to discuss your case.