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What is workers compensation?

Workers compensation is a type of insurance meant to compensate workers who get hurt on the job. If provides for medical benefits, income benefits, and potentially death benefits to surviving dependants. Workers compensation is a no-fault system in Georgia. That means it doesn’t matter who is to blame for your injury. Our primary job is to make sure our clients get all of the benefits that they are entitled to. The benefits you are potentially entitled to under Georgia’s workers compensation system are:

  • A weekly check
  • 100 percent coverage for all of the medical care related to your injury with no co-pay and no deductible.
  • Money for permanent impairment
  • Benefits for an on-the-job injury resulting in death

Although this may sound very simple, there are complicated rules about how you are supposed to chose a doctor, when you are supposed to notify your employer of the injury, how long you are entitled to receive a check, etc. These rules can be found in the Georgia Workers Compensation Act and in administrative rules published by the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation. The rules are so complicated that many lawyers do not understand them unless they have significant workers’ compensation experience.

There are many arbitrary deadlines and requirements in Workers Compensation that can harm your case. The Insurance Companies is aware of these rules and will use them against you. Often times, by the times you realize what happened, the value of your case may be irreparably harmed. As experienced workers compensation lawyers, our job is to make sure that you don’t fall into any of the common traps that insurance companies will use to deny you medical treatment of cut of your weekly check. And ultimately, our job is to make sure you get the largest possible settlement you can from the insurance company.

Frequently Asked Questions.

This is usually not a good idea. You have a right to medical treatment in workers comp. But in most cases you are required to pick a doctor from your employer's "panel of physicians". If you go "off the panel" then the insurance company may refuse to pay for treatment.

The panel must be posted in a prominet location at your work place. The employer must provide the list as soon as you become injured. Typically, the panel must contain the names of at least 6 doctors, including one orthopedic doctor. The panel may contain no more than two "industrial clinics."

If your employer does not have a panel of physicians or the panel of physicians is invalid, you should consult a lawyer. You may be entitled to choose any doctor you want.

Workers Compensation coverage begins the first day of the job. Employers with three or more employees are required to have workers compensation insurance.

Workers' compensation laws define an on-the-job injury as one that "arises out of and in the course of employment". That means that that the accident was related to the time, place, and circumsatance of your employment (for example performing job duties during regular business hours). That also includes employees travelling for work, or performing a special errand for the employer outside work hours. It also means that the work was at least in some way a contributing cause of the injury.

The insurance adjuster does not owe you any duty of good faith or fair dealing. Even if they are nice on the phone, they are actively working to reduce the value of your claim.

And absolutely do not let the adjuster take a recorded statement from you. It may seem like an innocent interview, but the adjuster is on a fishing expedition to look anything they can use to deny your claim. You are not required to give them evidence to use against you.

It is very common for workers compensation claims to be denied, even based on weak legal arguments. You have a right to request a hearing with the State Board of Workers compensation if your claim has been denied. If you have been denied medical treatment, a weekly check, or even your entire claim, then contact a workers comp lawyer immediately. A lawyer will be able to file the request for a hearing, gather relevant evidence through discovery, and argue your case in front of a workers compensation judge.

These are benefits that are payable to eligible dependents when an on-the-job injury results in death. Eligible dependents include the spouse and minor children of the deceased. The benefits are paid weekly in the amount of 2/3 of the workers average wage at the time of the accident (but not to exceed the maximum allowed by law - currently $675). Funeral expenses are payable up to the maximum available by law.

We charge the industry standard 25 percent of any benefits recovered. You do not owe us anything unless we are able to recover benefits for you. There is absolutely no up front cost to hire a workers comp lawyer.

No. The only requirement is that your employment has to somehow contribute to the injury. For example, repetive motion injuries and even carpal tunnel syndrome can be covered by workers comp. Even an aggravation of an old injury is covered by comp if your employement caused the aggravation.

Sometimes, but you cannot sue your employer for personal injury. You may sue a third party who causes you an injury while you are on the job. It is possible to have a comp claim and a personal injury lawsuit at the same time. This most often occurs when an employee has a work injury while driving. If you have a car accident while working, you can sue the at fault driver and file a workers comp claim against your employer.

Maybe. Just because your employer calls you an "independent contractor" does not necessarily mean that you are considered an independent conractor for the purposes of workers comp. Generally speaking, you will be covered where your employer exercises control over the manner and time of your work.

Yes, but only if you can show through medical evidence that the condition was attributable to the performance of your usual work duties

Yes. The insurance company is also responsible for paying the cost of your mileage to and from the pharmacy.

This depend on the individual facts of your case. You typically don't want to settle the case if you are unsure about what future medical treatment you might need. But if you are ready to make a demand on the insurance company, it will often take the insurance company at least a month to get settlement authority to respond to your offer.

Also, a judge cannot order a settlement in a workers compensation case. The case can only be settled through the agreement of the parties. If the insurance company is being unreasonable, it could take much longer to settle the case. Unfortunately, some lawyers will want to churn cases out as quickly as possible. Sometimes you do have to hold out to get a good settlement, and you need a lawyer who will apply pressure on the insurance company and go the distance for you.

Yes. The reimbursement rate is set by state law. As of 2021, the reimbursement rate is 40 cents per mile. The Insurance company must also provide transportation for you if you are unable to transport yourself to the doctor.

In the case of a legitimate emergency, workers comp is required to pay for the treatment. However, when the emergency ends, you must go back to treating with the doctor you selected from the panel of physicians.

Deadlines in Your Workers Compensation Case

There are a number of dealines that you should be aware of in a Workers compensation case:

  • You have 30 days to notify your employer of an injury.
  • If you beleive you have had benefits denied, you must file a claim within one year of the date of the last authorized medical treatment or two years of your last payment of weekly benefits.
  • If you are totally disabled and unable to return to work, you are limited to 400 weeks (6.5 years) of benefits, unless your case can be designated catastrophic.
  • You have one year to request reimbursement for medical expenses, including mileage costs.
  • If you are not working and it is determined that you have been able to perform light duty work for 52 consecutive weeks or 78 aggragate weeks, your weekly benefits can be reduced to two thirds of your average weekly wage at a maxumum rate of $450.

Workers compensation laws are complicated and the penalties for missing a deadline are severe. One of the benefits of having a lawyer on the case is that they will make sure your benefits do not end prematurely or that you do not waive your rights.

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