Here in Georgia, we have a rather complex system for handling workers’ compensation. However, the law is designed to give fair benefits to people who have been injured while working, in order to pay for medical bills, settlements for long-term injuries, and lost wages. Even if your injury was a result of your own mistake while on the job, you are still eligible for workers’ compensation. The trade-off for not having to prove it was someone else’s fault, though, is that workers give up the right to receive money for pain and suffering. Because you can only get paid for lost income, permanent disabilities, and medical bills, you have to be very on the ball in the early going when it comes to coordinating your medical care. Our Athens workers’ compensation lawyers can help you navigate this tricky time.
In what circumstances am I eligible to receive workers’ compensation?
In Georgia, workers are available for compensation when they are injured while working. Sometimes, employers will attempt to avoid paying workers compensation by saying that the injured employee was actually an “independent contractor.” If this has happened to you, do not just take the company’s word at face value—call our offices to make sure you know where you stand. According to the law, if your employer tells you what job to do, how to do it, and when to do it, then you are most likely eligible.
How much money will I receive while I am injured?
Your employer is required to pay two-thirds of your average weekly pay for the 13 weeks before the injury, with a maximum of $550.00 per week. You should verify this rate with a lawyer, though, since the maximum rate changes every few years. The maximum period of time you can receive the TTD is 400 weeks so do not count on it lasting forever.
Can I include pain and suffering in my claim?
Simply put, no. Unlike car accident settlements, workers’ compensation can only pay for medical bills, long-term injuries, and lost wages.
How much do workers’ compensation lawyers charge?
Unlike most legal claims, in workers’ compensation cases attorneys are required by law to charge a “contingency fee” of no more than 25% of the money you receive.
Who pays for my emergency room visit?
If you need to go to the emergency room after a work-related injury, your employer must pay for it, so do not hesitate to go.
Will my boss tell me which doctor to visit?
Yes, in most cases. Employers have “panels” of pre-approved physicians who can treat injured employees. However, if you have reason to believe that your doctor’s diagnosis is too conservative, you have the right to file a motion with the Workers Compensation Board to change doctors.
Will I be compensated for every day I am absent from work?
You will be compensated for all lost wages unless you miss fewer than seven consecutive workdays.
Will I have to take a drug test before receiving workers’ compensation?
Yes, you will have to take a drug test in order to receive workers’ compensation. If you fail the test, you will probably be denied benefits.
What if my employer fires me after I am injured while working?
Your employer must continue to pay benefits for as long as you are injured, regardless of your employment status with the company.
How much time do I have to pursue my worker’s compensation case?
Under Georgia law, you are required to file a WC-14 claim within one year of the date you were injured or the last employer-paid medical treatment or two years from the last income benefit. If your employer arranged medical treatment for your injury, then you have one year from the date of that medical treatment.
If you are dealing with a major injury or paralysis case, you want to be sure to have an extremely experienced Athens workers compensation lawyer to guide you through the process. You certainly do not need to hire a “mill firm” that never lets you speak with an actual attorney. If your lawyer is not returning your calls or you simply feel in the dark about the status of your case, then the time has come to find a new lawyer. Our firm values every client and every case, and we have the experience necessary to help you receive the maximum amount of workers’ compensation. Contact us today.