Documenting a worker’s comp injury begins with immediately reporting the injury or illness to your employer. It is important not to delay this step, as waiting to report the injury will delay compensation. In addition, in some states, you could be barred from your right to file for workers’ compensation benefits after a certain time.
In Georgia, you must report your accident to your supervisor or foreman within 30 days, according to Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC).
Specifics to Include When Documenting Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Workers’ compensation programs will cover your medical, rehabilitation, and income losses if you have incurred an injury while performing specific tasks during work hours.
If injured at work:
- Report the injury and accident: Provide a written report of the accident and your injuries to a supervisor or administrator as soon as possible. Fill out any form provided by your employer and submit it to the appropriate organization. If a coworker or someone else witnessed your injuries, inform your employer of the witness. Even if you think your injuries are minor right now, it is imperative to notify a person of authority about them in case they escalate into significant health issues. Be as specific as possible about your injury when filling out the details.
If your injury is too severe and prohibits you from making a report, you will be provided immediate medical attention, and another person can report the accident.
- See a doctor immediately: Your employer will direct you to an authorized treating physician (ATP) for medical care. According to O.C.G.A. § 39.9.201, employers must provide you with a selection panel of at least six physicians to choose from. It is imperative to seek treatment from one of the doctors on this list to get your medical bills and medications covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The selected ATP can refer you to other specialists if your situation requires it. If you are dissatisfied with your initial selection, you can choose another physician from the list once without obtaining permission from your employer or the insurance provider.
You should see a physician immediately following an accident so that your injuries are accurately documented without delay. This record will detail the extent of your injuries and link them to your workplace accident.
- Be honest and accurate with your doctor: Your ATP plays an important role in facilitating your medical care and the direction of your work injury case’s path. A few privileges ATP holds are administering your medical treatment and testing, directing you to other specialists, and assessing which job duties you can perform. They might also release you to your regular work without restrictions which will halt or suspend your workers’ compensation benefits.
During your meeting with your ATR, describe your symptom truthfully, without exaggerating or downplaying them. Remember to include all symptoms, even if they seem insignificant.
- Save receipts: You will have to gather all the documents, such as prescription orders, medical bills, and records showing any other treatments, to get your expenses covered by your employer. Also, ensure that you do not miss any doctor’s appointments, treatments, or physical therapy appointments, as the employer’s insurance provider could use this as evidence to claim that you are not hurt.
- Keep a record of your time off from work: In Georgia, you could be entitled to weekly temporary total disability benefits if you take more than seven days off due to an injury. However, you will only be paid for the first seven days you miss if you are out for more than 21 consecutive days because of your injuries. Also, once you return to work, you will be compensated for the reduced wages if you are making less due to your on-the-job injury. This is known as a temporary partial disability.
Ensure that you have accurate and up-to-date records of your lost wages and missed days from work so you can be appropriately compensated.
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Will My On-the-Job Accident be Investigated?
Workplace accidents are often investigated promptly to verify the accuracy of the information obtained and to see if additional policies need to be implemented to maintain workplace safety.
Here are additional steps you can take to protect yourself and your right to fair compensation from your employer:
- Take pictures and video footage of the accident scene and your injuries so your employer or insurance provider cannot refute your injuries’ severity.
- Attain copies of your medical records to learn the full extent of your injuries. This record can help prove that your injuries were not pre-existing. Conversely, the records could show that the accident worsened your pre-existing injuries, even if they were.
Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers to Discuss Your Claim Today
If you or a loved one were injured at work in a preventable accident, our workers’ compensation attorney at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers is here to file your claim and gather evidence to ensure you receive all benefits to which you are entitled.
Contact our firm today for a free consultation to learn about your legal options for compensation and how we can help.