Though rules and regulations regarding workers comp may vary from state to state, in general, it compensates injured workers for medical expenses and lost wages that have been incurred as the result of an injury.
Workers are eligible for workers’ compensation whether they are responsible for their injuries or not. In return, they are not able to sue their employers for any injury that may have been incurred. The only time a worker is not eligible for workers’ compensation is if they engaged in negligent behavior that contributed to their injuries.
What Type of Injuries does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation covers any injury sustained in the workplace or any sort of injury or illness that may be a consequence of doing that work. It also provides compensation to the loved ones of someone who died due to a work-related illness or injury.
For a free legal consultation with a workers' compensation lawyer serving Norcross, call (404) 888-8888
Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation in the State of Georgia
According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, all employers with three or more employees must have workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp covers full-time and part-time employees as well as minors who may be employed by the company.
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Workers’ Compensation Disability Ratings and Compensation
As soon as an injury occurs or an illness is detected, employees must undergo a doctor’s independent medical evaluation (IME). The assessment may include oral and physical exams, lab testing, and imaging studies if needed. The doctor will use the results to determine an appropriate disability rating, usually based on American Medical Association guidelines. Your rating will determine the Georgia workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled and will be one of the following:
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
Your doctor may assign a TPD rating if you can perform light-duty work, take a modified job position, or work a limited number of hours. If this is the case, your income may be decreased. Workers’ compensation will then supplement two-thirds of the difference between your previous and current wages.
In Georgia, you will qualify for a maximum of $450 per week, and payments will continue for up to 350 weeks or when you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI has been achieved when your doctor determines your recovery has plateaued or that no other form of treatment will improve your condition.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
You may be assigned TTD if an injury or illness prevents you from returning to work for at least seven days. Your compensation will be the equivalent of two-thirds of your weekly salary. You are entitled to receive up to $675 per week for as long as 400 weeks. The length of time you may receive benefits depends on when and if you reach MMI. Those who don’t fully recover will likely qualify for PPD.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
If you are eligible for PPD, your injury or illness won’t prevent you from working, but you are believed to have incurred permanent bodily damage. Like TTD, PPD benefits are payable in an amount equivalent to two-thirds of your weekly average, up to $675 a week.
These benefits are paid to the injured employee for the number of weeks specified by the disability percentage determined by their doctor. This duration varies according to the body part injured, per O.C.G.A. § 34-9-263.
What About Permanent Total Disability Benefits?
Of note, in Georgia, there is no disability rating known as permanent total disability benefits. Still, it is possible to permanently receive benefits for a total disability related to a catastrophic injury, such as multiple amputations or the loss of two or more bodily functions.
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What does Workers Compensation Cover? A Workers Compensation Attorney in Norcross Explains
If you are injured, workers comp will cover the following:
Medical Expenses: These include any medical expenses that may have been incurred as a result of sustaining the injury.
Loss of Income: Income benefits will cover any loss of income due to missed work as resulting from the injury.
Death Benefits: These are benefits loved ones are eligible to receive if a member of their family dies due to a work-related injury.
How to File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation
Once an injury occurs, a worker must report the injury within 30 days.
From there, it is up to the employer to file a First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease form. If your employer does not do so, they may face civil penalties.
If you are having trouble getting workers compensation because your employer will not file the proper paperwork, it is important to team up with a reliable Norcross, GA workers’ compensation attorney to see to it that you get the compensation you deserve.
Appealing a Denied Claim
In some cases, an employer or insurance carrier will deny your claim. If this occurs, you may be eligible to take legal action. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file an appeal.
If a claim is denied, you will get a notice from the State Board of Worker’s Comp explaining the reason for the denial. They will give you the option to request a hearing.
A State Board Workers Compensation hearing takes place before a judge. During the process, you will be able to present the judge with evidence explaining why you feel you are eligible for benefits. The evidence can include your own testimony, expert medical testimony, testimony from relevant witnesses, and any photos or paperwork supporting your case.
If the hearing results in the judge denying your case, you can still file an appeal with the Appellate Division of the State Board of Worker’s Comp Insurance. The appeal must be filed within 20 days of the receiving notice of the denial.
When Can I Sue My Employer?
In most instances, you won’t be allowed to take your employer to court for a work-related injury or illness because workers’ compensation uses a no-fault system. This means that you, as an employee, can be compensated with medical benefits and part of your wages even if you are partially or wholly responsible for your injuries.
The caveat is that you cannot sue your employer as they are protected by the very act of offering workers’ compensation, which most employers must do by law. However, if they do not, you may be entitled to file a civil claim against your employer for work-related injuries. There are also a few other exceptions in which an employee can sue an employer for a work-related injury, such as the following:
- The employer willfully physically assaults the employee and causes injuries.
An injury is exacerbated by something employment-related that the employer fraudulently conceals. The principle of dual capacity applies, where an injured employee can seek legal action against an employer when their injury is unrelated to their capacity as an employee.
Filing a Third-Party Claim
While you are not eligible to sue your employer for your work-related injury, you may be able to file a civil action against a third party who contributed to your injury. This might be the manufacturer of a defective product, the owner of a defective property, or anyone whose negligent behavior may have caused your injury.
Third-party claims will allow you to be compensated for non-economic losses like pain and suffering.
Why You Need a Reliable Norcross, GA Lawyer for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Sometimes, workers’ compensation cases are simple and straightforward, but other times, things can get complicated. An employer may deny the employee their compensation. In some cases, an employee may be asked to return to work before they are fully recovered, or an employer may argue that an employee sustained injuries due to their own negligent behavior.
These are all cases where you will need the help of an experienced Norcross workers’ compensation lawyer.
A reliable Norcross workers’ compensation attorney will make sure all the necessary paperwork and forms are filed as needed. They will also help you gather evidence, appeal a decision, and ensure you are fully compensated for any expenses and losses.
You may be concerned about the expenses you will incur to get the compensation you deserve, but fortunately, Georgia law limits the compensation a worker’s comp attorney receives to 25% of the worker’s income benefits.
Finding a Norcross Workers’ Compensation Attorney to Represent Your Workers’ Comp Case
If your workers’ comp case starts to get complicated, you will want to find a Norcross, GA, workers’ compensation lawyer you can trust to see to it that you are covered for your losses and expenses.
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers specializes in workers’ compensation cases. We have an in-depth knowledge of workers’ compensation law and a sense of empathy that allows us to connect with our clients on a deeper level.
If you are suffering from a work-related injury, you are probably coping with a lot of stress. Make your legal matters one less thing you have to deal with. Call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers first. We will always see to it that justice is served.