Workers sustain injuries every day all across Georgia. Many workplace accidents are the result of careless mistakes. For example, a worker may get injured slipping on spilled liquid and falling. Or a worker may sustain a serious injury because a machine wasn't properly turned off when not in use.
Fortunately, Georgia workers' compensation is a "no-fault" system. That means that as long as you didn't intentionally cause your workplace injury or act in a reckless manner, then you don't have to prove fault. You must only prove that your injury happened within the scope of your employment. Injuries that occur during unscheduled work breaks or when traveling while on the clock also count.
When pursuing a workers' compensation case, it's important that you know what steps to take. So, it is important to consult with an attorney.
What must I do to pursue a successful workers' compensation claim?
It's important that you follow these steps after sustaining a workplace injury:
- Report your injury to your employer. You must inform your employer of your injury promptly. Failure to do so can hurt your chances of pursuing a successful workers' compensation claim. Documentation of your workplace injury proves that you sustained an injury on the job and your employer was notified of it. It also helps if you notify your employer with a witness present and write down the exact time and date. In Georgia, you have up to 30 days to report your injury to your employer.
- Get prompt medical attention. It's important that you notify a doctor that your injury happened at work. This will be documented in your medical evaluation and medical records. Your employer may have a panel of physicians that you can see, which is required by Georgia law. If there is no panel available at your job, or if the panel is not in compliance with Georgia law, you may be able to see a doctor of your choice.
- Follow the recommendations given by your doctor. When pursuing a workers' compensation claim, it's critical that you follow your doctor's recommendations. This may include taking pain medication as directed, applying ice to the site of the injury as directed, and avoiding certain activities.
Why consult with a workers' comp attorney?
Pursuing a workers' compensation claim is a complex process. For those who are not familiar with the Georgia workers' compensation system, it can be very easy to make errors when filling out Form WC-14, which is required to file a claim.
Any errors made in the claims process can result in your benefits being delayed or denied. The insurance companies that are responsible for issuing workers' compensation benefits are more interested in saving money than compensating you to the fullest extent. If they can find any errors in your claim, they will likely leverage them to pay you as little as possible.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates know how the Georgia workers' compensation system works and how to deal with insurance companies.
What benefits am I entitled to?
Workers' compensation benefits pay for:
- Medical expenses — Workers' compensation covers current and future medical expenses, such as emergency room visits, doctor's visits, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, prescription medication, surgery, rehabilitation and physical therapy.
- Lost wages — Georgia workers' compensation pays for 2/3 of your average weekly wage. Your weekly payments are calculated by the average amount of money you earned each week during the 13 weeks prior to being injured on the job. Bonuses and overtime pay may be factored in. The maximum rate is $675 per week, however.
- Temporary or permanent disabilities — Injured workers in Georgia may be eligible for disability benefits if they're unable to return to work or can only return to work for light duty. Disability benefits include:
- Temporary Total Disability — for workers who aren't able to return to work.
- Temporary Partial Disability — for workers who are able to return to work for a position that pays less.
- Permanent Partial Disability — for workers who suffer a permanent disability as a result of a workplace injury.
The legal team at The Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates will work with your doctor and the insurance company responsible for your benefits to help you obtain every dollar you're entitled to.
We serve clients in the greater Atlanta area and offer free and confidential case evaluations. Contact us online to get started.