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What you need to know about Georgia Workers compensation
In Georgia, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation handles work injury cases and determines benefits. This agency covers all injuries that arise out of and in the course of your employment, from specific injuries like a back sprain to occupational disease injuries such as exposure to hazardous materials.
You do not have to prove that your employer was at fault to make a claim for benefits in Georgia. You do have to show that your injuries arose out of and in the course of your employment. In other words, if you got hurt while doing something work related and during work hours, you are typically covered. You are not covered if your injury was the result of your willful misconduct. For example, if you get into a fight at work and get injured as a result, you are not eligible for benefits. On the other hand, injuries resulting from a mistake are generally covered. In most cases you cannot sue your employer for negligence.
These are the main benefits that you should be eligible for under Georgia workers’ compensation law:
Payment of 100% of your medical bills. As long as you see an authorized physician, there are no out-of-pocket expenses for treatment that is reasonable and related to your job injury.
Temporary total disability. If you are unable to work, you can get 2/3 of your average weekly wage. If your injury is catastrophic, there is no limit on how long you can receive these benefits; if your injury is non-catastrophic, the limit is 400 weeks of benefits.
Temporary partial disability. This type of benefit is available if you can return to work but only perform a job where you make less money. You will receive 2/3 of the difference between your pre-injury wages and your post-injury wages, and you can receive these benefits for up to 350 weeks.
Permanent partial disability. This benefit is determined by a formula that includes several factors such as your percentage of impairment (determined by your doctor), as well as the type of injury you have.
In order to receive medical coverage, you are required to see a doctor chosen by your employer. A list of approved doctors should be posted in the workplace. If you go to a doctor not on the list, it is considered "unauthorized treatment" and the cost will not be covered. There is usually an exception if your injury required emergency treatment.
If you are looking for a workers’ compensation attorney in Georgia, we recommend that you hire a lawyer that focuses their practice almost exclusively on representing injured workers and one that has a history of success. Workers’ compensation lawyers get paid on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if your case is successful. If you don’t receive any benefits as a result, you pay nothing.
Attorney’s fees in Georgia work injury claims are limited to 25% of whatever your lawyer recovers for you (up to 400 weeks of benefits). If you recover $40,000, the attorney fee would be $10,000. However, if you get nothing, you would owe them nothing. Since attorney fees in Georgia workers’ compensation cases are fairly uniform, it won’t cost you more to go with the best lawyer you can find.
In Georgia, the law requires you to give your employer notice of your injury within 30 days of the accident. You should do this in writing as soon as possible so that there is no dispute as to when notice was given. If you fail to provide proper notice your case can be dismissed.
If you are having trouble getting benefits, or have any other dispute with the insurance company, it’s important to file a claim right away. There is a time limit on claims – one year from the date of the injury – or your case will be forever barred. The claim should be filed with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Finally, please know that in Georgia a workers’ compensation claim is not a lawsuit, but rather a claim for benefits similar to filing for health insurance or long term disability. In almost every instance your law firm deals directly with the insurance company for your employer, not the employer themselves. Unlike health insurance coverage disputes, quick action can make a disputed job injury case more successful.
A good Georgia on the job injury attorney can guide you through the workers comp benefits process and be there in case you have questions or anything goes wrong. They can also prevent problems – such as unpaid benefits or denial of medical treatment. Contact our workers compensation free legal shield team today