The amount of pay you get if you are injured at work depends upon the facts of your case. While workers’ compensation in Georgia pays for your medical and travel costs, you must miss work for at least seven days before lost compensation benefits begin, as stated by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. An approved medical provider will determine when you can return to work.
If a temporary or permanent disability lasts for at least 21 days, then you will receive payment for the first week you missed. Otherwise, you must take that time as personal time off (PTO) or unpaid. There are other benefits for which you may receive, which means you should speak with an Atlanta workers’ comp attorney to discuss the fairness of your workers’ compensation settlement.
How Workers’ Compensation Calculates Missed Time at Work
Your average weekly wage is the starting point that workers’ compensation insurers use to calculate your missed work wages. The insurance company, along with your doctor’s opinion, will assign a disability rating for permanent disabilities or determine if you are temporarily disabled with the expectation that you can return to work.
Per the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 34-9-260, you determine your average weekly wage by calculating your total hourly rate or salary, tips, meal allowances, and other forms of compensation. Depending upon your wages from the previous 13 weeks, this number can cause a significant deviation away from your typical earnings.
There are a few types of disability benefits you might receive to make up for some of your lost work wages. They include temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and permanent partial disability.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
If your work injury results in a total disability with the expectation that you will eventually recover and come back to work, you may receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. According to O.C.G.A. § 34-9-261, the insurer will pay two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but you cannot receive more than $675 per week. Workers’ compensation limits these benefits to a maximum of 400 weeks from the date of your injury unless a doctor determines that it is catastrophic.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
You can receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits when you are partially impaired but not totally disabled. Most people are unable to perform their job as usual. However, they can perform other tasks that require less occupational strain. Sometimes, fewer work hours are necessary.
You receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but according to O.C.G.A. § 34-9-262, the payment cannot exceed more than $450 per week. Workers’ compensation will pay these benefits for up to 350 weeks after an injury.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
The workers’ compensation system reserves permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits for more severely disabled workers. It relates to your level of physical capacity, not your earning ability. Under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-263, insurers will have a doctor determine your impairment by a percentage of lost bodily use. PPD does not begin until you can no longer receive TPD or TTD.
Penalties for Late Payments
You can also receive a 15 percent penalty payment if you do not receive your disability benefits on time, per O.C.G.A. § 34-9-221. This amount is in addition to what they already owe you. The consequences are steep, which means that, in general, you should receive your payments promptly. However, your Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can help you if you are experiencing issues.
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Using Personal Time Off (PTO) for Time Missed at Work
Periodic or routine doctor’s appointments may become part of your aftercare plan. In some cases, time away from work is covered. However, if a doctor clears you for work, then you may have to use PTO or take unpaid time to attend these appointments.
Employees with fewer than seven days off from work do not receive any form of wage reimbursement. As such, you may have to use your PTO to pay for this time away from work. If you do not have available PTO, then it is possible that you will take it unpaid.
Other Benefits Workers’ Compensation Offers
Not only does workers’ compensation pay for your lost work wages and disability, but it also pays for your reasonable and necessary medical costs and out-of-pocket expenses.
Other benefits that workers’ compensation will pay include:
- Current and future medical benefits
- Mileage and travel reimbursement
- Vocational and occupational rehabilitation
- Death benefits for survivors
It is challenging to approximate how much pay you get if you are injured at work without allowing your injuries and prognosis to develop. Your workers’ compensation lawyer will help you establish how much your case is worth and what is fair and equitable as you learn more about your injuries.
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What To Do if Your Employer Denies Your Claim
If the company or insurer rejects your claim, seek the advice of an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney. He or she can help you handle the legal complexities to determine if the denial was legal or if there are missed opportunities to obtain compensation.
For more challenging cases, your attorney can represent you in a hearing that takes place before an administrative law judge (ALJ). It is a chance for you to argue the facts of your case and present evidence. Rather than attempt to manage this part alone, focus on your health and allow a legal professional to help you obtain equitable compensation.
Consult an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers understands that you need money to pay for your medical bills, time missed at work, and more. Our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers will devise a personalized case strategy that protects your rights and holds insurers accountable to applicable laws and policy language.
Call us now to schedule your free consultation at (678) 562-5595.
If you choose to hire our team to represent you, we will not charge you an advance payment to take on your case. We only get paid for our time and resources when you win.