Workplace injuries are often severe, requiring expensive medical treatment and preventing you from working for an extended period of time. Fortunately, you can file a workers' compensation claim to recover compensation for medical bills and other damages caused by your injuries.
However, the process of applying for workers' compensation in Georgia can be complicated and difficult to manage on your own. That is why you should strongly consider working with a trusted Savannah workers' compensation lawyer on your claim. The attorneys at Roden Law have a detailed understanding of the process and can guide you every step of the way, including each step of the appeals process. We know how to determine what forms of compensation you are entitled and how to pursue all you are owed. Our reputable attorneys have recovered millions in workers' compensation settlements.
Schedule a free, no obligation legal consultation today to determine your legal options. We do not charge for representing you unless you receive compensation.
Call one of our attorneys today at 1-844-RESULTS.
Injuries That Qualify for Benefits
Any Savannah personal injury that is the result of an accident arising out of and in the course of employment is covered by the workers' compensation system, according to Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) 34-9-1(4).
This includes diseases that result naturally and unavoidably from your work environment and conditions that are aggravated by your work. However, you can only receive benefits for as long as the disability is aggravated by something that occurred in the course of your employment.
You cannot receive benefits for injuries caused by another person's intentional actions. The law also excludes the following medical issues unless victims can provide enough evidence to show that these conditions were the result of the performance of usual work:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Blockage of coronary blood vessels
If you were injured or have a disease you think is connected to your job, contact a workers' compensation lawyer in Savannah for a free legal consultation. We can help you determine if you may be entitled to benefits and how much you could receive.
Contact Roden Law right now by calling 1-844-RESULTS.
Types of Workplace Accidents
There are a variety of workplace accidents and dangerous situations that could result in an injury that is covered by workers' compensation, including:
- Slip and fall accidents – These can occur when workers slip on wet floors. In some cases, there was water on the floor and in others there was a sticky or slippery substance, like oil or chemicals that are used in the facility.
- Falling debris accidents – These are accidents where something falls and hits a worker. For instance, a worker could be injured by something falling off a shelf or a steel beam or piece of machinery falling or crashing into a worker.
- Overexertion injuries – These types of injuries are often caused by things such as regular heavy lifting or repetitive motions. In some cases, continually pushing or throwing something can cause strains, sprains or nerve damage.
- Explosions – These are common in construction jobs, such as on an oil rig in the ocean. Explosions can also occur when people are working on electrical systems.
- Machinery accidents – These are common Savannah construction accidents. One type of machinery accident is when machinery falls on a worker. There are also situations where workers are pinned against a wall by a piece of machinery.
Contact a Savannah workers' compensation attorney right now for a free legal consultation.
Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits
If you were injured at work, our attorneys may be able to help you obtain compensation through a workers' compensation claim.
If your claim is approved, the type and amount of benefits you receive will be based on the severity of your injury and the amount of time it takes for you to recover.
The Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation (SBWC) provides several types of benefits to workers who suffered a covered injury:
If your claim is approved, you will be entitled to compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to the treatment of your injury for as long as your treatment is authorized. However, treatment can only be authorized for up to 400 weeks, unless it is determined you have a catastrophic injury, according to the SWBC summary of workers' compensation provisions. These expenses must be paid within 30 days of you submitting a receipt for charges.
You can be reimbursed for the cost of treatment as well as the cost of traveling to and from visits with doctors. State law requires that you be reimbursed for these expenses within 15 days of submitting an itemized receipt of your mileage costs. Our workers' compensation attorneys in Savannah can help you collect these receipts to pursue all of the medical compensation you are entitled.
Temporary Partial Disability
If your injury forces you to temporarily reduce your hours or job responsibilities so you are earning less money than before, you could be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits.
This benefit is equal to two-thirds of the difference between your current earnings and your average weekly wage (AWW). Your average weekly wage is one-thirteenth of your earnings during the 13 weeks preceding your injury.
This means that if your AWW was $500 per week before your injury and you are now earning $250, you would receive approximately $166 in temporary partial disability compensation. The most you can earn in temporary partial disability is $383 per week, as of July 1, 2017. Temporary partial disability benefits can be paid out for a maximum of 350 weeks from the date of your injury.
Permanent Partial Disability
This is similar to a temporary partial disability, except your injury is permanent so it will affect your earnings for the rest of your life. If you are approved for permanent partial disability, you will receive two-thirds of the difference between your current earnings and your AWW before you were injured or disabled. The maximum amount you can receive is $575.
There are two types of awards for permanent partial disabilities:
- Scheduled awards – The SBWC has a list of disabilities that entitle victims to a certain number of weeks of permanent partial disability benefits. For example, if you lost an arm or lost the use of the arm, you are entitled to a maximum of 225 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits. If you lost hearing in both ears, you can receive benefits for up to 150 weeks.
- Unscheduled awards – These are for disabilities that are not on the schedule. These awards are often for injuries to the head, spine or internal organs. In these cases, you will be given a disability rating according to the American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines in Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Your disability rating determines how long you can receive benefits, up to a maximum of 300 weeks. If you have a 50 percent rating, you are entitled to 150 weeks of benefits.
Our Savannah workers' compensation lawyers have detailed knowledge of AMA guidelines on disability ratings and will work to help ensure you receive a fair disability rating.
Temporary Total Disability
A temporary total disability is one that prevents you from doing any work for more than seven days, at minimum. You are entitled to two-thirds of your AWW, up to a maximum of $575 per week. You can receive temporary total disability benefits for a maximum of 400 weeks, unless you have a catastrophic injury.
You cannot receive compensation for the first seven days of your disability unless you are disabled for 21 days.
Permanent Total Disability
This is for severe situations where you are unable to do any type of work for the rest of your life. In these cases, victims receive temporary total benefits for the rest of their lives. This means you receive two-thirds of your AWW from before the injury.
Permanent total disability benefits are reserved for severe injuries, such as losing both arms or the use of both eyes.
The Savannah workers' compensation attorneys at our firm are committed to pursuing all of the compensation you deserve. We can help you file a claim and work to ensure it contains the information necessary to help you obtain fair compensation.
If you do not receive the appropriate benefits for your situation, we are prepared to appeal to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form today.
How to Apply for Workers' Compensation Benefits
If you suffer an injury at work, you should report it to your employer right away by notifying your supervisor. If you do not report the injury within 30 days, you may be denied benefits.
When you notify your employer, be sure to provide details about what happened, including when you were injured, how it occurred and the symptoms you are dealing with.
After reporting the injury to your employer, complete and submit Form WC-14: Notice of Claim to your employer or its workers' compensation insurer. Contact information for your employer's insurance carrier should be posted in a visible location in your workplace. If you have trouble finding it, you can contact the SWBC's coverage desk for help filing your claim.
Obtaining Medical Care
After filing a claim, you need to seek medical care from an authorized medical care provider. Your employer should have posted a list of physicians to choose from.
Your employer is also required to post a name of the Workers' Compensation Managed Care Organization (MCO) that has been certified to provide medical services for workplace injuries. A representative from the MCO can help you schedule appointments with approved physicians.
Reviewing Your Claim
While you are receiving care, your employer's workers' compensation insurance company will investigate your claim. This consists of:
- Reviewing your medical records
- Analyzing your employment experience, education and wages
- Scheduling a functional capacity evaluation, which reviews your ability to perform work duties
When Will You Receive Benefits?
If your claim is approved, the insurer will decide what type of benefits you are entitled to, and you will begin receiving compensation within 21 days of the first day you missed work.
The workers' compensation lawyers in Savannah at our firm can you with your claim if you have not received or been approved for the benefits you need.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form right now.
How to Appeal a Denied Claim
If your workers' compensation claim is denied, you have the right to file an appeal with the SWBC. You will need to file Form WC-14 and note that you are requesting a hearing. The hearing is similar to a trial in a Georgia court room: An administrative law judge will hear both sides of the case and make a decision on resolving the claim.
The SWBC has full authority to decide to hear an appeal and conduct an investigation, according to state rules and regulations. The board also has the authority to direct you to participate in a mediation session under the board's guidance and supervision. Mediation is when a mediator works with both sides to come to a mutually agreeable resolution of the dispute.
Our workers' compensation lawyers in Savannah can represent you at a hearing or mediation, defending your best interests and pursuing the benefits you are entitled. We will carefully review your situation and collect any additional evidence that might help your case, including medical records or other information about the accident.
Our attorneys might even be able to resolve the situation before a hearing or mediation. Employers and their insurance companies often decide to reach out to resolve the situation rather than facing the extra legal expenses of a mediation or hearing. However, we enter these negotiations with a clear idea of what you are entitled and we will not accept any unfair offers.
If we are unable to secure the compensation you deserve after mediation or a hearing, we can help you file an appeal with the SWBC's Appellate Division. There is a deadline of 20 days from the judge's order to file an appeal.
These appeals are often decided based on written arguments submitted by our attorneys and attorneys for the other side. However, you also have the right to request an in-person hearing. The Savannah workers' compensation lawyers at Roden Law will carefully review your situation to determine if we should request an in-person hearing.
If we are unsuccessful at this stage, the last option is to file an appeal to the Georgia Superior Court within 20 days of receiving the appellate division's decision. However, the superior court cannot overturn the board's decision unless it is found that:
- Board members acted outside the scope of their powers
- The decision was fraudulent
- The facts do not support the decision
- There is not enough evidence to warrant the decision that was made
- The decision was contrary to the law
The workers' compensation attorneys in Savannah at our firm have been through the workers' compensation process many times with a variety of cases. We understand each stage of the appeals process and what it will take to have a chance of being successful. We are prepared to manage every aspect of your case to try to secure fair compensation. This way you can focus on your health and recovery, which is the most important thing throughout this process.
Contact Roden Law today by completing a Free Case Evaluation form.
The workers' compensation system was created to provide a way for injured workers to obtain compensation without employers facing lawsuits. Because of this, workers cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer for a workplace injury.
However, there are some situations where workers have the ability to file a lawsuit for an injury they suffered at work. These are called third-party lawsuits, and they are filed against third parties who are liable for your injury. Third parties could include:
- Equipment manufacturers
- General contractors
- Construction site owners
- Negligent drivers, if you were injured in a car accident
One of the main differences between third-party claims and workers' compensation claims is negligence. In a workers' compensation claim you only need to prove you suffered an injury in the course of your employment. However, in a third-party claim, which is a personal injury lawsuit, we must prove that your injury was caused by the reckless or careless actions of another person or entity.
Another difference between a workers' compensation claim and third-party claim is that you can pursue forms of compensation that are not available in a workers' compensation claim. This includes damages like physical pain and suffering.
When you meet with our Savannah workers' compensation lawyers, we can determine if it makes sense to pursue a third-party claim. If so, we can manage this claim while handling the workers' compensation process. We are committed to fighting for all of the compensation you deserve.
Deadline for Third-Party Claims
You have two years from the date negligence occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit for your workplace injury. This deadline is set by Georgia's personal injury statute of limitations.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Contact a Savannah Workers' Compensation Lawyer
If you were injured at work, you deserve compensation for the effect it has had on your earning capacity. You should also be compensated for all medical expenses related to your treatment.
The attorneys at Roden Law understand what you are going through because we have helped many people through the workers' compensation process. We know how to advocate for your best interests every step of the way.
Your consultation with our attorneys is free, and you will not be charged legal fees unless you receive compensation.