Accidental injuries and illnesses at work can be painful and upsetting. It is likely that you don’t know how you will pay for your medical care because you are unable to work and provide for your family. If you had a work-related accident, you can be qualified for workers’ compensation payments to pay for these expenses as well as other bills.
Workers’ compensation law might be difficult to comprehend on your own, and you might not know what questions to ask an attorney or whether to pursue legal action. Regardless of whether you or your employer were at fault for the accident that injured you, you are entitled to a number of benefits under no-fault insurance.
To fully grasp the advantages and procedure of a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Joel Thrift Law LLC’s Cartersville workers’ compensation attorney is available to guide you through the claims process.
What is a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
A trustworthy workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to provide you with information about their prior experience and relevant years of practice, as well as a list of cases they have handled. If you require legal counsel to assist you in a claim, make sure the attorney you choose has experience with workers’ compensation legislation.
If you need legal assistance, you should always do some research before selecting a workers’ compensation attorney to handle your claim. Not every lawyer is created equally.
With the aid of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney, victims of workplace injuries can pursue the maximum compensation to which they are legally entitled. A workers’ compensation attorney is committed to offering the employee the help they need to secure a satisfactory resolution to their workers’ compensation claims if the insurance adjuster tries to underpay the employee.
In contrast to employers who might not always have their employees’ best interests in mind, a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney will defend the employee’s rights and legal interests. Workers’ compensation lawyers can make securing your benefits simpler while you focus on getting better from your accident.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
All employees will have workers’ compensation insurance covering them for the life of their job starting on day one. An employee is not ineligible to receive benefits under the workers’ compensation program if they sustained an injury while working for another company or due to a medical condition that existed before starting employment. If an employee is hurt at work, they will be covered.
The employee must have been actively employed at the time of the injury in order to qualify for benefits under any workers’ compensation claim.
In Georgia, individuals who have an injury at work are entitled to compensation. The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Statutes and Rules, which outlines the administrative and appeals processes as well as the benefits an employee may be qualified for when wounded at work, protects an employee’s rights following an injury.
An employee who becomes ill or hurts themselves while performing their job can typically file a workers’ compensation claim to be reimbursed for lost wages and any medical costs incurred as a result of the injury, including those for emergency care, surgery, therapy, prescription medications, and other medical procedures and treatments.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Injured workers can receive benefits for medical care, temporary total disability, and permanent disability. According to Georgia Worker’s Compensation Law, your employer is required to offer you three different types of benefits. Your employer and insurance provider are required to provide and pay for any medical care you need as a result of a work-related illness or accident.
Your doctor can be chosen by your employer, but both the insurance provider and the employer are liable for paying for your medical bills. Additionally, they must pay for the gas you used and the mileage you incurred while traveling to see the doctor for any required appointments or rehabilitation.
Are Employers in Georgia Required to Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?
Most states have laws requiring employers to get workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Smaller businesses (those with fewer than three or four employees) are exempt from this requirement, while larger organizations with adequate assets may be allowed to self-insure or act as their own insurance companies in some jurisdictions.
When an employee is wounded at work, they file a claim with the insurance provider (or self-insuring employer), who subsequently pays medical and disability benefits in accordance with a state-approved formula. Unless they fall under certain exempt categories, employers who do not have workers’ compensation insurance are subject to fines, criminal charges, and civil liabilities.
According to Georgia law, even part-time employers that have three or more employees are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. If a business is a corporation or an LLC, it is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance even if it only has one or two employees. Verifying coverage can be done by visiting the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation and selecting “verify workers’ compensation insurance coverage” from the Popular Topics box.
Who is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
You can generally tell if you are eligible for Georgia workers’ compensation payments based on two fundamental considerations. First, your injury must have happened at work or as a result of your job duties. Second, you had to be working at the time of the accident.
You are considered an employee of a company that withholds taxes if you are employed to work there for a salary or hourly wage. You are normally considered an employee if you operate in this capacity full-time, part-time, or seasonally. This makes you eligible for workers’ compensation.
You might not be qualified for benefits under workers’ compensation if you are categorized as an independent contractor or freelancer. However, since many employees are mistakenly labeled as contractors and misled into thinking they are not entitled to compensation, you should still seek legal advice.
Workers’ compensation may be available in the event of an accident that results in physical harm while you are carrying out duties for your employer at work or elsewhere. The same holds true if harmful chemicals at work caused your illness.
If you already have an underlying health problem, such as heart disease, you are not eligible for workers’ compensation. Getting unwell from a condition unrelated to your work could disqualify you. Any uncertainty you may have regarding your eligibility can be resolved with advice from an expert workers’ compensation attorney.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
In order to examine the injury and submit a report to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC), your employer’s insurance provider has 21 days from the date of the injury. You can submit your own notice of claim and ask for a hearing or mediation to decide your benefits. You have one year from the reported injury date to submit a claim to SBWC.
Before a Claim
Any workplace accident should be reported as quickly as possible to your employer. Complete and provide the necessary documents to your employer. Visit a licensed doctor for medical care, and when choosing your doctor, ensure they are specific and detailed in their evaluation.
It is crucial to visit a recognized medical professional for authorized treatment if you want the workers’ compensation program to pay for your doctor visits and prescriptions. You can ask your employer for a list of doctors who are recognized by the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law or use the SBWC physician database. Before submitting a claim, you may want to speak with a lawyer.
Preparing a Claim
Filing a claim requires many forms and documentation. Before submitting the claim, it is best to compile all necessary information. First, you will need form WC-14, which is the notice of claim form and is used to require a hearing or mediation. Along with submitting the form, you will need documents that relate to the injury or illness you sustained while at work. This can include doctor’s receipts, prescriptions, diagnosis forms, and any medical bills that were incurred due to the injury.
Additionally, you will need documents showing employment at the time of the injury. This can be shown through earning statements or direct deposit wages. Once the forms are complete and the documents have been compiled, you can move on to filing the claim.
Filing a Claim
When filing a claim, complete the WC-14 form to the fullest extent possible. Include your name, address, the full name and address of your employer, and the name and address of their insurance provider. You should be as specific as possible about the nature of your injuries and the compensation you need.
Additionally, you must indicate on the form if your goal is only to alert SBWC of your claim or whether you also want a hearing or mediation. Contact the State Board of Workers’ Compensation to file the claim. The forms can be delivered in person or by mail to the location specified in Section E (“Certificate of Service”) of the form.
Additional forms should be sent to your employer and the company that handles their workers’ compensation insurance. Once the forms are complete and sent to the proper entities, then you must wait for the results.
After a Claim
If you were authorized for benefits and what those benefits are, your employer’s insurance claims office should notify you. If you disagree with the benefits that have been authorized or if your claim has been rejected, you have the right to ask SBWC for a hearing.
To continue to be eligible for benefits, make sure to comply with any medical interventions or rehabilitation programs that your doctor or the SBWC has prescribed.
You must go back to work when your doctor says you can, even if that means getting a different job because of your injury, in order to keep your eligibility for benefits.
How Long Can an Employee Receive Workers’ Compensation
The type of injury sustained will generally denote how long a worker can receive workers’ compensation benefits. It is typically until the doctor has deemed them eligible to return to the same job. There are times when a doctor says a person is eligible for work and can still receive benefits if they cannot return to the same line of work.
A lost wage reimbursement is due if an employee is unable to work for more than seven days. Temporary total and partial disability benefits are paid for up to 500 weeks or until you return to work.
Disability benefits to make up for lost wages and payment for medical expenses related to an occupational injury are the major elements of workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will pay for any incident-related medical expenses.
Some workplace injuries are referred to as “scheduled injuries.” Workers who suffer certain types of injuries are eligible for permanent partial disability benefits during their rehabilitation period as well as for a while after.
If an injury leaves you permanently unable to work, you are eligible to lifelong permanent full disability benefits.
Employer Duties After a Workplace Injury
An employer may need to routinely connect with other employees who witnessed the incident or have information about it in order to ensure they provide timely contributions to the claims investigation. If accountability is promoted, the claims process might go more rapidly, enabling everyone to resume work sooner.
After an employee makes a workers’ compensation claim, the insurance adjuster, the injured worker, and the medical specialists may contact the employer with inquiries or requests for information. There is a deadline for the claims procedure, so employers should respond to these inquiries as quickly as they can.
The employer is prohibited from making the employee report to work earlier than the medical practitioner has recommended after a decision has been made and the investigation is finished. They are also prohibited from disciplining the employee for any missing time while they are collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
Hiring a Work Injury Attorney
Call Joel Thrift Law LLC in Cartersville, Georgia, right away for a free consultation. After establishing an attorney-client relationship, we will go to work on your claim right away. Our knowledgeable Georgia workers’ compensation attorney will take care of your case. You can call us or find out how to reach us online. A Georgia personal injury lawyer at Joel Thrift Law LLC may help injured workers with their workers’ compensation and personal injury claims as well as benefit negotiations with insurance carriers.