Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation

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The Workers’ Compensation system in Georgia exists to provide medical treatment and income replacement to persons who have been injured on their jobs. If you have been injured at work, it is very important that you know both your RIGHTS and your RESPONSIBLITIES.

Workers’ Compensation is not like other areas of the law: it has very specific and technical rules. In order to ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to, you may hire an attorney to represent you. Workers’ Compensation attorneys have the necessary experience and knowledge to insist that the insurance company handle your claim properly.

The Edmonson Law Firm is dedicated to serving the hard-working citizens of Northeast Georgia. Please contact us for a free, candid and fair evaluation of your work injury situation. We do not want you to lose benefits you are entitled to – it is better to get the consultation and not need a lawyer than to not ask, and later learn you should have!

As with all areas of the law, you have both things you are entitled to (Rights) and things you must do (Responsibilities). Workers’ Compensation is no different – if you handle your responsibilities correctly, the odds of receiving your benefits promptly and correctly go way up.

Report Your Injury to Your Employer

The first and most important responsibility you have is reporting the injury on time. Georgia law gives you up to thirty days to report your injury. It is a far better practice to report your injury immediately, or as soon as practical thereafter. Delays in reporting, even of a few days, are looked at with suspicion by employers and insurers. Report your injury to your supervisor or to human resources.

Medical TreatmentThe First Benefit You Are Entitled To

After reporting your injury, ask to see a copy of the Posted Panel of Physicians. This list of doctors must include six practicing medical doctors or clinics. You are supposed to choose one doctor from the list. If your employer does not have a posted panel then let them know you will get a doctor, and will tell them who the doctor is after your appointment is confirmed.  Then, call us! We know many of the doctors who treat Workers’ Compensation patients, and who among them are more focused on your health than the insurance company’s needs.

Income Benefits

If the doctor places takes you out of work completely, you will be entitled to income benefits (called Total Temporary Disability, or TTD) on a weekly basis. Workers’ Compensation is required to pay you two-thirds of your average weekly wage, with a cap of $575.00 per week (for injuries after July 1, 2016). You must be out of work for at least seven consecutive days under the doctor’s orders, and you cannot receive TTD for the first week you are out unless you stay out of work at least 21 consecutive days.

So-called ‘light-duty’ restrictions are commonly placed on the injured worker by the doctor. This means the worker can do work within those restrictions, if the employer can accommodate them. If the employer doesn’t have a light duty job, or doesn’t wish to create a position that has such restrictions, then the worker will be eligible for TTD, as noted in the paragraph above.

Permanent DisabilityWhat If I Don’t Recover 100%

It is the intent of the Workers’ Compensation system to enable the injured worker to return to their job with a complete recovery, while providing income and medical treatment at no cost to the worker. Unfortunately, that result does not happen in every case. The Workers’ Compensation system compensates the permanently injured worker with a Permanent Partial Disability payment, based upon medical guidelines, the workers ‘comp rate’, and the degree of disability caused by the injury. Of course each case differs. Having an attorney working for you will maximize this final number, and thus the amount you receive.

Workers’ Compensation Is ComplicatedDon’t Travel Along

Generally speaking, any injury that you have while you are engaged in your employer’s business will be covered by Workers’ Compensation, but there are exceptions: Preexisting health issues won’t be covered, there are special rules for hernia injuries, injuries incurred during horseplay, and other situations that must be examined closely. Every case is heavily dependent on the facts. Reaching out to us for your free consult will determine how you should proceed.

The basic concepts of Workers’ Compensation seem simple enough.