What You Should Know About Georgia Workers Compensation Claims Based on Catastrophic Injuries


April 08, 2013

Workers suffer injuries on-the-job caused by a variety of sources, such as worksite accidents, industrial exposure to toxic substances and repetitive motion tasks on a daily basis in Atlanta and throughout the surrounding areas of Georgia. While many injuries suffered in the workplace will justify temporary benefits and medical care, some forms of work-related injuries may be categorized as “catastrophic.” Under Georgia workers' compensation law, this term refers to situations where the Georgia Board of Workers' Compensation designates a serious injury as being severe enough that it is unlikely the injured worker will ever be able return to work.

If the workplace injury or occupational illness is deemed to be catastrophic, the 400 week limit on temporary disability benefits does not apply. While a catastrophic injury may result in receiving temporary disability benefits indefinitely, it also is theoretically possible that a doctor could deem you ready to return to work prior to receiving the 400 weeks of temporary benefits. Under Georgia law, cases now deemed catastrophic may have benefits paid until the injured worker reaches full retirement age for Social Security purposes. Only the State Board of Workers’ Compensation can deem your case to be catastrophic, this is not a decision made by a doctor, the insurance company or any other government agency.

Workers' compensation carriers are are particularly concerned about cases involving catastrophic injuries because the insurance carrier’s exposure is essentially unlimited. In catastrophic injury cases, a “rehabilitation supplier” will be assigned to your case who is technically neutral but tends to have interests more aligned with the insurer. Additionally, if you apply for or receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration or a private insurer, these benefits could be affected by you receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

When you have suffered a catastrophic injury claim at your workplace, issues to be considered include:

  • Degree of future medical care that will be needed
  • Probability that future surgeries will be required
  • Will the claimant need home health care
  • Application or consideration of Social Security Disability or private disability insurance
  • Provisions of the Medicare set aside (If you receive Social Security or Social Security Disability)
  • Appropriate vehicle adaptations
  • Comparative benefits of settlement compared to maintaining the status quo longer-term
  • Need for home modifications

While these are not the only issues to be considered in a workers' compensation case in Georgia that involves a catastrophic injury, these factors provide insight into the complex issues and substantial range of factors that must be considered. An experienced Georgia workers' compensation attorney can analyze your needs and situation to determine the best approach to handling your claim for long-term workers' compensation benefits.

Catastrophic injuries may include the following:

  • Loss of limbs (amputations)
  • Extensive third-degree burns
  • Loss of vision (blindness)
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Other severe injuries that prevent you from working

Our experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorneys represent our clients in pursuing their claims and obtaining medical and rehabilitative services. Your employer’s workers' compensation insurance carrier may dispute whether you are capable of returning to work. We frequently use well-regarded medical specialists to maximize our clients’ claims. We are equally prepared to utilize litigation or negotiation to successfully resolve our clients’ workers' compensation claims.

Our Georgia workers' compensation attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.