There are some key qualifications for workers’ compensation. First, and perhaps most obvious, you must be an employee for a company that carries workers’ compensation insurance. The law requires most employers in Georgia to have workers’ compensation coverage, with some exceptions depending on various factors.
For example, companies that only hire employees as independent contractors may not be subject to workers’ compensation laws. Employers who have fewer than three employees also do not need to have this coverage.
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must also have an injury or illness that is work-related. This means that if you suffered an injury due to your work, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who caused the injury.
The same concept applies to work-related illnesses. Some exceptions can make this requirement hard to understand in certain situations, which is why it may help to discuss your case with an attorney.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Related to Pre-Existing Conditions
The aggravation of a pre-existing condition may also qualify an employee to receive workers’ compensation benefits under certain circumstances. According to Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC), if work activities aggravate an employee’s pre-existing injury or condition, benefits may be available until the aggravation resolves.
However, benefits are not necessarily available to cover the underlying injury or illness itself. Navigating this fine line, along with other laws related to workers’ compensation, can be difficult.
State Workers’ Compensation Laws
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The details of workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. However, all states must have workers’ compensation guidelines in place for when an employee suffers an injury or illness on the job. In the State of Georgia, the SBWC enforces a variety of laws regarding qualifications for benefits.
For example, O.C.G.A. § 34-9-220 specifies that you must miss a minimum of 21 works days before you can receive benefits for your first seven days of lost income. There are additional laws pertaining to the amount of benefits you may be eligible for and how long you are able to receive them. Moreover, before you can receive benefits, you must follow the appropriate timeline for reporting your injury and seeking medical attention.
Reporting Your Injury and Meeting Deadlines
You must be sure that you report your injury to your employer promptly. The SBWC recommends discussing the injury with your employer as soon as possible, within 30 days at the most. If you fail to do so, you may give up your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
You must also make sure that you meet the filing deadline for workers’ compensation in your state. In Georgia, you must submit the necessary paperwork to the SBWC within a year of reporting your injury to your employer.
In addition, you will need to visit an approved physician for diagnosis and treatment. It is important to follow the instructions of the doctor regarding your treatment to avoid jeopardizing your claim. However, you may be able to seek a second opinion if you disagree with your first doctor’s recommendations.
Factors That May Disqualify You from Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Many factors can affect the outcome of a workers’ compensation case. For instance, the SBWC may deny a claim for benefits if the employee’s injuries happened while they were off duty or because they were participating in any of the following:
- Drug or alcohol use
- Criminal activity
- A fight with another employee
Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Today
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A lawyer who takes on workers’ compensation cases can address your concerns and help you stay on track when reporting an injury to your employer and filing for benefits. If you believe you meet the qualifications for workers’ compensation in Georgia but received a claim denial, a lawyer from Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can help you.
When you are suffering from an injury that keeps you from working, it can be tough to process the documentation for a workers’ compensation appeal. The team at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers will stand by your side and help you work through your workers’ compensation case if you hire us to represent you.
Allow us to advocate for you with the SBWC as your case moves forward. Our lawyers will collect necessary information, communicate with other parties on your behalf, and answer any questions that you may have.
To learn more about navigating workers’ compensation in Georgia, contact a member of our office today by calling (404) 888-8888.