If you or a loved one was injured in Decatur while working, you might be entitled to receive workers’ compensation. You can file a workers’ compensation claim to pursue benefits, which may be able to help you recover damages you incurred from a work-related injury.
If you already filed a workers’ compensation claim but were denied benefits, a Decatur workers’ compensation lawyer at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can help you appeal your claim and continue to fight for workers’ compensation.
It May Be Worth Getting a Workers’ Compensation Attorney if You Have Never Filed a Claim Before
While you do have the right to represent yourself when filing for workers’ compensation, you might want to consider hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer if:
- You have never filed for workers’ compensation before.
- Your claim was denied, and you do not know how to appeal this decision.
- You do not know how much workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive.
- Your employer is choosing to be represented by a lawyer and you want a legal advocate to protect your interests.
There are many benefits to hiring an attorney from our firm to help you with your workers’ compensation case, particularly because we offer to take on several legal duties for our clients.
If you are still recovering from a work-related injury, you might find it convenient to work with our legal team, as we can manage your case for you and keep you updated as your case navigates the claims process. You do not have to face your employer or their legal team on your own. We will communicate with you to build your case and provide advice as legal decisions need to be made.
For a free legal consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Decatur, call (404) 888-8888
What Does a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Do?
When you work with one of our lawyers, our team works together to build your claim. Still, what does this even mean?
One aspect of getting your workers’ compensation claim approved is that you must be able to prove your injury and subsequent damages were work-related. You do not need to prove who is at fault for your injury. However, the challenge that many people face is proving how severe their work injury is and how much compensation it actually entitles them to seek.
Each state has different requirements and limits on how they distribute workers’ compensation benefits, and we will use our understanding of these laws to determine how much you may be able to receive. In the meantime, however, our focus may first be on getting enough information to support your case. This may require:
- Reviewing the accident report filed by your employer
- Investigating your accident to determine if other information or evidence is available
- Speaking with witnesses who saw the accident, such as other coworkers
- Getting analysis from a medical professional to prove how long your recovery may last, which may affect how long you receive benefits
- Filling out paperwork on your behalf and submitting it within any important deadlines
- Communicating with other involved parties such as your employer, their workers’ compensation insurance company, or their legal team
Once we develop your case, we will then represent you during hearings about your claim and potentially negotiate a settlement. If your claim gets denied, we can help you appeal this decision.
Decatur Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Near Me (404) 888-8888
How Much Does a Decatur Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Cost?
Our team will discuss our rates with you in your free consultation before we start working with you. That being said, we work on a contingency-fee-basis. We do not charge attorney’s fees before your case settles and only take payment if we are able to help you secure compensation.
Should you receive benefits, our fee comes out from your retroactive benefits payments so that you never have to pay out of pocket.
We Can Calculate How Much Compensation You May Be Entitled to Receive
When you apply for workers’ compensation, you are applying for benefits to help you recover damages related to your injury. These damages may include:
- Medical expenses to cover your injury’s treatment
- Wages you lost due to having to miss work to treat or recover from your injury
- Wages you expect to lose in the future because of your injury
- Costs for rehabilitation or occupational therapy
- Mileage costs for going to doctor’s appointments
Our team can collect evidence to prove the value of your financial damages and calculate them for you. We may also review your medical records or consult a medical professional to determine how long you should expect to undergo treatment for your injuries or whether they are considered permanent.
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How Long You Can Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If your claim is approved, your workers’ compensation benefits will be two-thirds of your average weekly wage prior to being injured. However, there are variations in how long you can receive benefits and there are limitations on how much you can receive for certain types of injuries.
For example, the following are different types of disability benefits you may be able to receive as workers’ compensation:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits: C.G.A. §34-9-261 mandates that if you were injured and missed work for at least seven days, you may receive up to $675 a week until you recover, but for no more than 400 weeks.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits: C.G.A. §34-9-262 mandates that if you are able to work but at a reduced rate of your previous earnings, you may receive two-thirds of the difference between your current and previous pay, but no more than $450 per week. You can receive benefits until you recover or for up to 350 weeks.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits: C.G.A. §34-9-263 mandates that if you suffered permanent partial disability, you may receive benefits based on the percentage of bodily loss you have. These caps are the same as TTD benefits; however, the maximum number of weeks you may receive benefits vary by bodily loss.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits: If you suffered permanent total disability, you may be able to receive benefits for life, in which case they would follow TTD limitations.
We can discuss these rates in more detail in future consultations.
You Must Follow Certain Rules And Deadlines to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits
According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC), you must file a report on your work-related injury to your employer within 30 days of it happening. If you fail to meet this deadline, you might not be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
There are other factors that may affect your ability to receive benefits. For example, O.C.G.A. §34-9-220 dictates that no person shall receive workers’ compensation benefits for the first seven days of being injured and out of work. However, if you were out of work because of your injury for 21 consecutive days, you can be reimbursed for the first seven days you missed work.
Your Workers’ Compensation Rights Vs. Employers’ Rights in Georgia
As you file for workers’ compensation, you should be aware of both your and your employer’s rights so that you know what to anticipate during your legal pursuit.
In your case, you have a right to receive workers’ compensation:
- From the first day you are employed
- If you work for a business with at least three workers and your employer has purchased workers’ compensation insurance
- Even if you have a pre-existing condition, as long as your injury aggravated it
- Even if you return to work, as long as you have a permanent partial disability or are working at a lower wage than you were prior to your injury
That being said, the Georgia Secretary of State mentions that Georgia is an at-will employment state. This means your employer has a right to fire you for any reason, including no reason at all in Georgia. You may be fired while pursuing or receiving workers’ compensation.
However, if you get hurt on the job and file for workers’ compensation, you are entitled to certain rights from your employer, in that they must provide you:
- An authorized medical physician to treat your injuries
- Another job that can meet the physical limitations you have
If your workplace does not offer another position to accommodate your physical needs, their insurance must pay you indemnity benefits. Our legal team may use this as leverage to negotiate a settlement with your employer.
When you work with our team, we do the research to know what your rights are in Georgia.
We Can Help You Appeal if Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Was Denied
If you file a workers’ compensation claim and it gets denied, your chances at receiving benefits do not end there. You can continue your pursuit of benefits by filing an appeal and requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ), who will review your case.
Below is a brief description of the appeals process in Georgia.
The Appeals Process for Workers’ Compensation Claims
There are four stages to the appeals process for workers’ compensation claims. You do not have to go through each stage to have your claim approved; however, if your claim continues to get denied, we can continue to navigate to the next stage to pursue compensation.
These stages are:
- Hearing with an ALJ: The first stage when you file an appeal involves requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge. This is not a trial case; however, you may want to present your case as if it were, as you will only have a few minutes to argue why you are entitled to receive benefits. Should you decide to work with our team, we can serve as your representative and present your case on your behalf.
- Hearing with the Appellate Division: If the ALJ denies your claim, you can continue to appeal and request a hearing with the Appellate Division of the SBWC. According to the C.G.A. §34-9-103, you have 20 days after the ALJ’s decision to request this hearing. During this stage, the board members of the Appellate Division will review your case and the hearing with the ALJ, then decide whether they agree or disagree with the ALJ’s decision.
- Hearing with the Georgia Superior Court: If the Appellate Division agrees with the ALJ and denies your claim, you have 20 days to appeal their decision to the Georgia Superior Court, per Board Rule 103. This higher court will review records of previous hearings, briefs, and oral arguments about your case.
- Hearing with the Georgia Court of Appeals: If the Georgia Superior Court denies your claim, you have 20 days to appeal their decision to the Georgia Court of Appeals, per C.G.A. §34-9-105. This is the final stage of the appeals process, so any decision made here is final.
Between these stages, it may take time to schedule dates to present oral arguments. Our legal team can describe how long this process might take when necessary and keep you updated on your case’s progress.
You May Have Legal Options to File a Lawsuit About Your Work-Related Injury
One question you might have is whether or not you are allowed to sue your employer for a work-related injury. To put it simply, no. Employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance for this specific reason—to not get sued by employees—so this is your only option for compensation from them.
However, if your work-related injury involves third parties, you may be able to pursue compensation against them via a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Our legal team handles both workers’ compensation claims and personal injury cases, so we can provide legal assistance in both situations.
Identifying Liable Third Parties
While an employer is liable for injuries that occur on their worksites, other parties may be held liable for work-related injuries if their negligence contributed to the cause of the accident.
For example, you might file a lawsuit against one of the following types of third parties:
- Another coworker who acted willfully negligent and caused you harm
- A manufacturer if faulty equipment or machinery led to your injury
- A non-employee individual who caused the accident
Our legal team can review your case to see if we can identify other liable parties involved in your accident. If so, we may pursue civil action against them to recover your damages.
Damages You Can Recover in a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
Unlike with workers’ compensation claims, which place limits on the kind of damages you can recover and how much compensation you can claim, personal injury cases offer a lump-sum amount of compensation for your total damages. These damages may include your economic and non-economic damages, which are essentially your financial, physical, and emotional damages.
Our team can collect different forms of evidence to prove the value of your damages and calculate how much compensation you should pursue. We may pursue compensation for:
- Your medical treatment expenses
- Current and future income loss
- Reduced earning capacity
- Your pain and suffering
- Permanent disabilities you suffered
- Loss of quality of life, including loss of joy in hobbies and activities
- Property damage
- Permanent changes in your appearance, such as scarring or burns
- Emotional anguish
- Psychological trauma and other mental injuries
If a work-related injury leads to the death of a loved one, qualifying surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to pursue damages related to their loved one’s death. These damages include funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of emotional support, among others. Surviving family members may also qualify to receive workers’ compensation on behalf of their loved one.
Call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation About Your Case
If you were injured at work and want to file a workers’ compensation claim, call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers at (404) 888-8888 for a free consultation. We can have a Decatur workers’ compensation lawyer review your case and help you fight for the benefits you need.
Alternatively, if you already submitted a claim but were denied benefits, our law firm can help you appeal your case. You have rights as a worker, and we want to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Call today to get started.