Getting injured on the job can make life very difficult. A workplace accident may leave you with severe and potentially life-threatening injuries that do not allow you to work for an extended period of time or work in the same capacity as you did before the injury. Fortunately, injured workers in the state of Georgia may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. This means you could receive compensation to cover medical and rehabilitation expenses and a percentage of your lost income.
The process for obtaining benefits can be complicated to handle on your own. This is why you should give serious thought to contacting a skilled Brunswick workers’ compensation lawyer to help handle your workers’ compensation claim. Our legal team has in-depth knowledge of Georgia workers’ compensation laws and the Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker. We can guide you throughout the entire claims process, including appealing denied claims. We know how important compensation can be as you try to recover and move forward with your life, which is why we will work hard to obtain the benefits you deserve. The attorneys at Roden Law have recovered millions in compensation for our clients, including a $900,000 settlement for a worker who was initially denied benefits after suffering a significant hand injury.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with us to get started. You will not be charged any legal fees or costs for our services unless we obtain maximum compensation for your case.
Call 1-844-RESULTS today to see how we might be able to help you.
Injuries that Qualify for Workers' Compensation
People who work in construction, mining, hospitals, warehouses, factories and other industrial-type environments are more prone to suffer a work-related injury. However, that does not mean all injured workers in Georgia are covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Those not covered include employees of an employer who has less than three regular employees, farm laborers, domestic servants, most railroad employees, U.S. government employees and independent contractors, in accordance with the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 34-9-2.
Aside from job eligibility, workers are often not sure if their injury will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Under O.C.G.A. §34-9-1(4), an injury or illness that arises out of and in the course of employment is covered by workers’ compensation. These injuries can include sudden accidents such as falls or physical issues that come on gradually.
Injuries that are compensable include heart attacks, strokes, infections and other medical conditions where it can be proven that your work either caused your disabling condition or caused a pre-existing condition to become worse or combined with an underlying condition to cause disability.
Catastrophic injuries involve amputations, spinal cord injuries involving severe paralysis, severe brain injuries, severe second or third-degree burns, total blindness, or any other type of injury severe enough to prevent you from doing almost any work (O.C.G.A. § 34-9-200.1(g)).
Once designated as having a catastrophic injury, you may be eligible to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but no more than the maximum allowed under the law for a work-related injury. You could also receive medical and vocational rehabilitation benefits to aid in your recovery.
An occupational disease is caused over time by certain factors present in the work environment. This could include exposure to toxic substances, coming into contact with asbestos, radiation poisoning or bacterial or fungal exposure.
In order to receive benefits for an occupational disease, you must show a direct causal connection between your employment and the disease. It cannot be a disease that is an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed (O.C.G.A § 34-9-280 (2)).
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you need a dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer in Brunswick by your side who understands your rights and legal options to help you obtain fair compensation.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Workers' Compensation Benefits Available
If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, the type and amount of benefits that are available will depend on the severity of your injury and how long it takes for you to recover.
The Georgia State Board of Worker’s Compensation (SBWC) lists several benefits available to injured workers, including the following:
Workers’ compensation will cover all reasonable, necessary and authorized medical treatment related to your workplace injury. This could include hospital stays, doctor visits, surgeries, rehabilitation services, physical therapy, medical equipment, prescription medications, diagnostic and imaging tests and mileage for traveling to and from medical appointments. For most injuries, medical benefits are unlimited for up to 400 weeks, according to the SBWC’s summary of workers’ compensation provisions.
Temporary Total Disability
If you miss more than seven days from work due to your injury, you may be entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits. You will be paid for the first seven days only after you have been out of work for more than 21 consecutive days. These benefits are equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage at the time of your injury and not to exceed the maximum rate under the law.
In Georgia, you cannot receive more than $575 per week. These benefits also continue until you reach maximum medical improvement or until 400 weeks have passed, whichever is sooner. Your authorized treating physician must verify your disability and absence from work due to your injury.
Temporary Partial Disability
These types of benefits are issued if you are able to work but are earning less than you normally would. Temporary partial disability benefits are equal to two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage at the time of your injury and your current earnings. Benefits cap at $383 per week and continue until you reach 350 weeks.
Permanent Partial Disability
These types of benefits are issued if you suffer a permanent disability from a work injury. You would receive two-thirds of the difference between your current earnings and your average weekly wage before you were injured or disabled. These benefits cap at $575 per week.
The duration of benefits depends on the type of injury. Some injuries are referred to as scheduled awards, such as the loss of use of a hand. You can receive benefits for this injury for a maximum of 160 weeks. Other injuries have different maximums for the duration of benefits. Unscheduled awards are those not on the schedule and you can receive for a maximum of 300 weeks for these kinds of injuries. The amount payable is based on a percentage given by your authorized treating physician in accordance with the American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines.
Permanent Total Disability
This benefit is only for severe injuries, such as the loss or use of both eyes, hands, arms, feet, legs or a combination of the two that prevents you from working at all. If you have a permanent total disability, you will receive weekly payments for the rest of your life at the temporary total rate.
The Brunswick workers’ compensation attorneys at our firm have the legal knowledge and experience to guide you through the workers’ compensation process to pursue the benefits you deserve.
Call Roden Law right now at 1-844-RESULTS.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Georgia
If you suffer a work-related injury or illness covered by the workers’ compensation system, you have 30 days from the date of the injury to report it to your employer.
It is important that you notify your employer immediately and be as specific as possible. Include details about what happened, such as when and where you were injured, how it happened, the symptoms that you are currently experiencing, and anyone who witnessed the accident.
Employers and their workers’ compensation insurance insurers are looking for any reason to deny or devalue your claim. If you wait to file a claim, they may argue that you are not as seriously injured or ill as you say you are.
Once you report your injury, you must complete and file a WC-14: Notice of Claim form with the SBWC and send a copy of the form to your employer and their workers’ compensation insurer. According to O.C.G.A § 34-9-82, you must make a claim for your injuries within one year from the date of your injury.
After filing a claim, you will need to seek medical care from an authorized treating physician. Your employer should have a list of at least six qualified physicians posted for you to choose from. You can only receive treatment for your work injury or illness from one of these physicians. Should you choose to go to a doctor not on the approved list, then it will be considered unauthorized treatment and your employer will not be responsible for the cost associated with your medical care (O.C.G.A. § 34-9-201).
If your claim is approved, you should begin receiving benefits within 21 days after the first day you missed work. If you are out more than 21 consecutive days, then you will be paid for the first week.
A workers’ compensation lawyer in Brunswick can help you fill out your claim form and answer any questions you have about applying for benefits.
Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form to get started.
Appealing a Workers' Compensation Denial
Unfortunately, a claim may be denied or devalued by your employer or its workers’ compensation insurance company. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 52 percent – more than half - of Georgia workers’ compensation claims are currently being denied.
When this happens, you have a right to file an appeal with the SBWC. You will need to complete and file Form WC-14 and indicate on the form that you want a hearing to appeal the decision. Once the form is submitted, the SBWC will decide whether or not to proceed with an appeal hearing and conduct an investigation. The SBWC will often require that you go through mediation before your hearing. During mediation, a neutral third-party will attempt to negotiate a resolution that both sides can agree on.
If a workers’ compensation hearing is scheduled, then both sides will be notified as to the exact date, time and location of the hearing. An administrative law judge at the hearing will listen and obtain evidence from both sides to make a decision. This decision is written out and given to both sides.
No further action can be taken unless you are still unsatisfied with any aspect of the decision. You have 20 days from the date of the judge’s decision to file an appeal with the SBWC’s Appellate Division.
If the SBWC’s ruling is also unfavorable, you may take your appeal to the Georgia Superior Court. The deadline to file is 20 days from the date of the SBWC’s decision. The last attempt to appeal a claim is directly with the Georgia Court of Appeals within 20 days from the Georgia Superior Court’s ruling.
Talk to a member of our legal team by calling 1-844-RESULTS.
Contact a Brunswick Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now
Have you suffered a serious injury or illness at work?
If so, you should strongly consider legal representation. A qualified attorney can manage every step of the claims process to help you obtain the benefits you need while you focus on your recovery.
The Brunswick workers’ compensation lawyers at Roden Law have many years of combined experience pursuing compensation for injured workers and their families. We are well-versed in the Georgia workers’ compensation system and understand what it takes to file a claim or appeal a denied claim and recover fair compensation.
Your consultation with our firm is free and at no risk or obligation to you. We do not charge any fees or costs unless we are successful in recovering compensation for you.