Basic Overview of Georgia Worker's Compensation Claims
The Georgia worker's compensation system provides a remedy for employees that may include medical, income and permanent disability benefits to those hurt while on the job. These benefits, which are provided to help you recover and get back to work and/or compensate you for partial or total disability, are available through the worker's compensation insurance policies paid for by employers in most cases. In the event of a death on the job, worker's compensation also can provide benefits to dependents of an employee who suffers an occupational illness or injury. Georgia law requires that employees be covered from their first day on the job, and any business in Georgia that has three or more employees must carry worker's compensation insurance. If you've been hurt or experience symptoms of an occupational illness, it is important to report such work-related conditions to your supervisor as soon as possible. Delaying more than 30 days may mean loss of benefits.
Employers also are required to make information about doctors available to their workers. There should be a panel of physicians posted on the premises listing authorized treating physicians. After notice to management of a work injury, typically the employer will schedule a visit with a physician on the panel. Once medical care is approved with an authorized treating physician by your employer, worker's compensation should cover your hospital expenses, doctor visits and any necessary travel costs. Georgia law also provides that if your accident happened after July 1, 2013, medical treatment may be provided for a maximum of 400 weeks, unless your injury is so severe that you eligible for "catastrophic" designation. With "catastrophic' designation there is no limit to the duration of medical care. Also, if the injury is designated "catastrophic," you may be eligible for lost wage benefits beyond 400 weeks. If you are able to go back to work, but only in some kind of limited or reduced capacity because of your injury, you may receive such benefits but in a lesser amount if you earn less while working on modified duty. The benefits for lost wages may be stopped if you are released by a doctor to return to work with no restrictions.
If an injury is so severe that you are entitled to "catastrophic" designation, then you may be entitled to assistance in finding another job. This might entail some help with education or job training.
To qualify for wage replacement benefits, Georgia worker's compensation law requires that the authorized treating physician determine that you are disabled for more than seven days. The first check for benefits to partially compensate for lost income should be sent to you within three weeks of the first day you were taken out of work. The amount of this income replacement benefit is two-thirds of your average wage per week.
If there is a problem with the claim procedure or you are simply not receiving the worker's compensation benefits that you are entitled to under Georgia law, you should seek prompt legal advice. An injured employee has just one year from the date of injury to file a claim with the State Board of Worker's Compensation unless the employer has paid some medical or lost wage benefits. Similar to a trial set in a courthouse, an administrative law judge will listen to your claim at the hearing and make a decision as to whether or not benefits should be provided.
While you can represent yourself at a worker's compensation hearing, it is almost always in your best interest to choose representation by an experienced Georgia worker's compensation law firm. The benefits associated with a worker's compensation claim do not include pain and suffering, impaired enjoyment of life experiences, loss of consortium, punitive damages and some other forms of compensation generally available in personal injury claims. Because Georgia worker's compensation benefits provide the exclusive remedy against an employer for work-related injuries and occupational illnesses, our Atlanta worker's compensation lawyers also explore the viability of a third party lawsuit against other responsible parties whose negligence contribute to our client's injuries.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case
At Montlick and Associates, our capable Georgia worker's compensation lawyers and caring staff understand the challenges of coping with a workplace injury. If you or a family member has been injured on-the-job or suffered work-related illness, our Atlanta worker's compensation attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years 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.