The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation in Georgia is one year from the date of your accident. This means you must file a workers’ compensation claim within one year of the date of your accident if you are to qualify for compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses. You must also inform your employer, your supervisor, or direct boss within 30 days of your accident.
A failure to meet either of these timelines can harm your workers’ compensation claim, and you may inadvertently forfeit your right to compensation.
How Workers’ Compensation Works
Workers’ compensation is a workplace injury insurance program. Employers purchase this insurance to cover their employees’ medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses in the event of a work-related injury or illness. Workers’ comp also covers income losses up to certain limits.
The only exclusions are injuries that are not work-related, injuries sustained outside of work hours, injuries caused by the abuse of controlled substances, and injuries suffered while performing actions that are not in accordance with company standards.
If your employer provides workers’ compensation, you will have access to this coverage from your first day on the job. If you ever suffer a work-related accident or injury, you must immediately inform your employer and fill out Form WC-14 with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC).
If you are a farmworker, a railroad worker, a longshoreman, a federal employee, a volunteer, or a domestic worker, you usually do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
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Workers’ compensation covers any injuries or illnesses that are caused by, suffered during, or aggravated by work you normally perform as part of your job. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were almost nine million work-related injuries reported in the United States in 2017.
Slip and falls account for over 25% of all work-related injuries, while vehicle accidents account for another 25%. Some of the most common injuries a workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta, GA, will see include the following:
- Electrocutions and heavy machinery accidents
- Inadequate worker training and supervision
- Cuts, lacerations, puncture wounds, and bruises
- Broken bones, internal organ damage, and internal bleeding
- Nerve, muscle, tissue, and tendon damage
- Sprains, strains, burns, and chemical hazard exposure
- Explosions, eye injuries, dental damage, and facial disfigurement
- Paralysis, amputations, and wrongful death
The treatment costs for such accidents and the financial losses that they can cause are often substantial, which is why workers’ compensation coverage is so important for millions of Americans.
To access this coverage in the event of an injury, you must be aware of the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation in Georgia. Missing your filing deadlines can cause you to forfeit your right to this coverage.
Benefits and Compensation Limits
The weekly benefits you may be entitled to will vary from case to case and will depend on several factors. These can include:
- The type of work you do.
- The salary or wages you earned before your accident or injuries.
- The extent of your injuries.
- Whether you can return to work at all or in a different, lower-paying capacity.
- When and how your injuries occurred.
- How long your injuries are expected to last.
- Whether you receive any other forms of compensation.
Compensation is pro-rated to two-thirds of your weekly income up to a maximum of $675 per week. Different injuries will entitle you to different compensation periods. Based on Statute 24-9-263 of the Georgia Code, the loss of an arm or a leg entitles you to 225 weeks of benefits, for example.
If you are still injured but can return to work, your maximum weekly benefits may fall to $450 per week, but you can receive payments for up to seven years after your accident. If you receive other benefits—such as Social Security Disability payments—you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits but only up to a total of 80% of your average weekly earnings.
An authorized doctor will have to assess your injuries. Based on his or her testimony and any other evidence you have of your injuries and losses, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation. If you are eligible, you should receive your first paycheck within three weeks or so of filing your claim.
Contact Us for Guidance and Assistance
Disputes in workers’ compensation cases are common. You may not agree with the disability rating assigned to you by your employer’s panel doctor, you may miss your filing window, or you may find it difficult to gather the evidence needed to support your claim.
The Bader Scott Injury Lawyers team may be able to assist you. Call us at (678) 562-5595 to learn more about what you should do based on the specifics of your case and for help filing a claim if your case warrants one.