It does not matter who is the responsible party in a workers’ compensation case. When an accident happens on the clock, most workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This is because Georgia has a no-fault workers’ compensation system and requires employers with more than three workers—including part-time workers—to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
This means that a worker whose own actions caused or contributed to their injuries while at work may still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if a kitchen worker dropped a pot of hot water that burned their legs, they may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
For many injured workers, the workers’ compensation benefits process centers on proving their injury and how it occurred at work, rather than proving who is responsible for it.
Potential Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Georgia
According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC), workers in the state are eligible for benefits as soon as they begin their job.
The Georgia workers’ compensation system pays out accordingly:
For Injured Workers Unable to Work
Accounting for accidents occurring after July 1, 2019, eligible workers will receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage. This amount cannot exceed $675 each week. The duration of the payments may continue for a maximum of 400 weeks. Workers who have suffered permanent catastrophic injuries may receive benefits for life.
For Workers with Reduced Earning Capability
If you are able to return to work, but you are relegated to a lower-paying job due to your injuries, you can receive a reduced benefit in relation to your earnings. These benefits cannot exceed $450 a week, and they cannot last more than 350 weeks.
For Surviving Families of Deceased Workers
Surviving spouses, children, and stepchildren of workers who die on the job may receive two-thirds of their loved one’s weekly wage, maxing out at $675 per week. For workers who leave behind a spouse with no children, the maximum compensation amount available to the spouse is $270,000.
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The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
You should notify your employer immediately about any workplace accident or injuries that you experience. It is also recommended that you comply with all medical treatment relevant to your case.
If you wish to file a workers’ compensation claim, you can get a Form WC-14 from the Georgia SBWC, either by calling them or by visiting their website.
If your workers’ compensation benefits have been denied, you may ask for a hearing in front of an SBWC judge. Once the hearing is underway, the presiding judge will make their ruling after listening to the arguments from both parties. Even if this judge rules against you, you are allowed a second appeal to the Appellate Division.
A Lawyer Can Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Although you are able to apply for workers’ compensation benefits or appeal a denial of benefits on your own, you can also hire a lawyer to represent you during this process. Many workers’ compensation lawyers operate on a contingency-fee basis, where they only collect payment as a portion of your benefits if your case succeeds.
Having an attorney can take some of the pressure off you during a potentially difficult time and allow you to focus on your recovery. A lawyer can work to:
- Gather evidence to prove that your injuries occurred in the workplace
- Interpret the details of your workers’ compensation policy or denial letter
- Gather evidence in your case, including testimony from medical or vocational experts
- Offer legal guidance and answer your questions along the way
- Handle all paperwork, deadlines, and communications in your case
- Represent you before a judge during the appeals process
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Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Can Help You
Here at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, our attorneys work hard to help our Atlanta-area clients with their workers’ compensation claims. Whether you are just getting started or if your application was denied and you are facing the appeals process, Bader Scott Injury Lawyers may be able to support you.
By performing a detailed investigation into the circumstances surrounding your accident, we can try to gather evidence that you deserve benefits regardless of who the responsible party in your workers’ compensation case was.
To get started with your free consultation, contact a Bader Scott Injury Lawyers team member today at (404) 888-8888.