When you have been injured on the job and require medical care, you are eligible for mileage reimbursement under Georgia workers’ compensation laws. This should help you pay for your care-related transportation expenses. Your employer’s insurer should reimburse you for expenses such as your fuel for trips to your authorized doctor, Independent Medical Exams (IME) provider, hospital, and specialist referrals, including physical therapy.
This reimbursement comes in addition to the other benefits you should receive after your workers’ compensation claim is approved. Most Georgia employees have access to these benefits after being hurt on the job.
Reimbursement for Travel Expenses
Board Rule 203(d) states: “Medical expenses shall include but are not limited to the reasonable cost of travel between the employee’s home and the place of examination or treatment or physical therapy, or pharmacy.” Therefore, your reimbursement is calculated per mile traveled. Because of fluctuations in fuel prices, this figure is subject to change at the State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s discretion.
In 2000, the mileage rate was $0.25 per mile, and in 2005, it increased to $0.28. Then the fuel crisis impacted the economy and increased rates once again. As a result, as of this writing, in March 2022, injured workers are now entitled to receive $0.40 per mile.
Also, when you need care that is “beyond your home city” and the travel time is four hours or more, you are entitled to recover the actual cost of your meals and lodging. The cap on the cost of meals is $30 per day. You may also be reimbursed additional compensation for your hotel and other related travel costs.
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How Long Does Reimbursements for Mileage Take
After you submit a request for reimbursement, the insurance company has thirty (30) days to reimburse you for approved expenses. If the insurance company fails to reimburse you within thirty (30) days of receiving your request, a penalty will be added to the reimbursement amount.
You must submit a request for reimbursement within one (1) year of the date of service (that is, the date of the medical treatment you received). And failure to do so will mean that you will not be entitled to reimbursement from the insurance company.
It is imperative to keep all your receipts, bills, and other documentation related to every trip you make to the doctor or receive additional medical care. For example, imagine you live in Conyers but need to travel to Shepherd Center in Atlanta twice a week for therapy. You will need documentation of these trips. In addition, you will want to file for reimbursement. Driving 30+ miles each way can really add up.
Staying on Top of Your Workers’ Compensation Case
While you can recover mileage reimbursement, if you do not submit documentation of these costs to the insurer, you will not receive compensation for them. This is why it is so important to keep track of your mileage and other travel expenses and save your receipts.
The law specifies that if you do not submit your request for reimbursement for travel expenses within one year, you forgo your rights to compensation for them. When you are unable to work and are living off of workers’ compensation benefits, every little bit counts.
A trip to the doctor’s office 30 miles from your home (60 miles round-trip) is another $24 in your pocket. For a trip to a treatment center six hours away, you might be due reimbursement for $288 in gas, $80 for a hotel, and $30 for meals. It adds up. Our tip: Stay diligent in tracking your mileage and expenses.
What Evidence Should I Have to Document My Trips?
We recommend keeping anything you receive that shows how far you traveled, what you did, and how much you paid. For example, you should keep all lodging, food, and gas receipts. Also, have a notebook or spreadsheet where you record each appointment, the date, where you went, how many miles you drove, and your related expenses.
You may not need every piece of documentation you keep but having it ready to go in a file folder will ensure you can prove any part of your reimbursement request if needed.
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Other Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you recently suffered an on-the-job injury or are just curious about how the process works, you may not fully understand all the benefits available to you through a workers’ compensation claim. Most workers in Georgia are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. State law requires almost all employers with three or more workers to provide this coverage. The law includes full-time, part-time, and seasonal staff.
Workers’ compensation benefits should be available for covered employees when:
- They are hurt on the job or while handling work-related tasks
- They get sick because of workplace exposure, such as to toxic chemicals
- They suffer a chronic use injury linked to their work
Workers’ compensation covers all necessary and approved medical care related to the injury or illness. In addition, if the injured employee cannot go back to their job, they receive wage loss benefits. This should cover about two-thirds of their usual pay, although it could be less if they can work but must accept fewer hours or cannot complete their entire job tasks.
In some cases, occupational training is available. This is usually used when the employee’s injuries prevent them from returning to their previous job, or they need to learn a new way of doing their job because of permanent injuries.
When a worker passes away due to a job-related injury or illness, their family can recover funeral and burial costs and a one-time death benefit.
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Let Us Help You Get the Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Deserve
When you sustain a work-related injury or illness, you are entitled to several benefits, including medical treatment. If you need help filing for mileage reimbursement or have any questions about what benefits to which you are entitled, contact our workers’ compensation attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers in Atlanta.
Contact us today for a free consultation at your convenience. We are here to help you fight for the benefits you need and deserve based on your workers’ compensation coverage.
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