Workplace accidents happen more often than we may expect. They can be scary and if your injuries are serious, they can be painful and expensive to treat. The good news is that many categories of workers in Georgia can benefit from workers’ compensation. That’s because employers with more than three employees need to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy. It covers workers who are injured on the job or who develop occupational diseases. Many employees benefit from workers’ compensation pay-outs. In 2016, more than 7, 600 workers’ compensation claims were filed. These workers were able to get their medical bills covered and receive compensation for lost wages. It should, however, be noted that workers’ compensation benefits are not automatic. You have to apply and your claim may be denied by the insurance company. You may have to appeal this decision. For this, you will need the help of a workers’ comp lawyer in Marietta.
What Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Marietta Will Tell You
- Employers are not required to have this type of insurance for independent workers. This group often includes agricultural workers, domestic workers, and casual laborers. These workers would have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to get compensation. The only other option would be to draw on their own medical insurance or pay out of pocket.
- Georgia has a no-fault system. This means that you can receive compensation for your workplace injury even if you brought it on yourself. You are not required to prove that your employer somehow caused your injury. However, if you are found to have been grossly negligent, your compensation may be in jeopardy. An example of this is getting into an accident while driving the company’s vehicle under the influence.
- Both part-time and full-time employees can benefit from workers’ compensation if they suffer injuries on the job.
- Injured workers need to see a doctor approved by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. This will ensure that they are covered for medical consultations, surgery and other treatment, medication, and rehabilitation.
- There are caps on how much you can receive in workers’ comp. For example, compensation for lost wages cannot be more than $575 per week.
- When you accept workers’ compensation, you cannot bring a lawsuit against your employer in connection with the same injury. You can, however, go after a third party, if necessary. Workers’ compensation lawyers in Marietta can advise you on this.
- You have to file your workers’ compensation claim within strict deadlines. If you fail to do so, you may not receive your benefits.
Workers’ Comp Attorneys in Marietta Know How You Should File for Benefits
Workers’ comp attorneys are familiar with all the above guidelines and more. They know which forms you need to fill out and how you go about getting evidence of your injuries. There is no reason why you should try to go through this process alone. A workers’ comp lawyer in Marietta will work hard to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Workers’ comp attorneys in Marietta always outline the steps clients need to take when seeking compensation for workplace injuries. We’ll go through them here. You will be more informed when you meet with a workers’ comp attorney in Marietta.
Report Your Injury to Your Employer
You have a maximum of 30 days within which to tell your employer that you received an injury at work. However, workers’ comp attorneys in Marietta advise you to do so immediately. Delays can reduce the likelihood that you will be compensated for your injuries. Depending on the size and structure of your workplace, you can report directly to the head or through your supervisor.
Seek Medical Attention
If your injury was serious, you may have been rushed for emergency medical treatment. With occupational illnesses or less serious injuries, you still need to get examined. You will need to visit a doctor approved by your employer’s insurer. Their report will be key to your claim for benefits. You need to go as soon as possible and follow all medical advice. Make sure you keep any follow-up appointments.
Make Sure Your Employer Does Their Part
When your employer becomes aware of your injury or illness, they will need to investigate. They then have to notify their insurance company via a first report form. This is required under Georgia law regardless of how minor the injury appears. It serves notice that you will be making a claim under workers’ compensation. If your employer fails to make a report, contact a workers’ comp lawyer in Marietta, GA.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Marietta
Some workers’ compensation claims in Marietta, GA are straightforward. The employee files a claim, the employer submits paperwork on time and the insurance company approves the claim. Unfortunately, not every injured worker’s case goes like this. It is then that they need the services of a workers’ comp lawyer in Marietta.
Sometimes, employers don’t want to report workplace injuries. They fear their premiums will increase. They may also doubt whether you really sustained your injuries on the job. Time is of the essence here. The insurance company won’t pay out your benefits until they have details of your injuries. Any reluctance on the part of your employer should be reported to one of the workers’ compensation attorneys.
There are times when the insurance company denies your claim even though it’s legitimate. They may refuse to pay for certain medical procedures or offer you a claim that won’t cover your losses. They will have lawyers on their side so you won’t be able to fight alone. If you have any trouble with an insurance company, contact an accident lawyer in Marietta. The solution may be as simple as providing more evidence or correcting an error on a form. Alternatively, your lawyer may need to enter extensive negotiations with the insurance company. They may be able to get you a better offer.
Regardless of where the opposition is coming from, workers’ compensation lawyers in Marietta will fight for you. They know which documents need to be filed and when they have to be submitted. They know the insurance company may not want to pay out a large settlement. Workers’ comp attorneys will, therefore, amass as much evidence of your injury as possible. They will be prepared to negotiate with the insurance company or employer on your behalf. All of this would be difficult for you to do on your own. That’s why you need to hire a workers’ comp lawyer in Marietta. You are entitled to workers’ compensation if you are injured on the job. However, that doesn’t mean you will get it. You stand the best chance with an attorney by your side.
How Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Calculated
You may be wondering how much compensation you are entitled to under workers’ compensation. It depends on your injuries and how much you were making in your post.
The most common injuries are:
- Slips and falls
- Industrial actions
- Falling objects
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Falling objects
If you were using drugs or alcohol at the time of your injury, your benefits may be reduced. You could also get fewer benefits if you neglected to use safety devices or didn’t pay attention to safety rules.
Authorized medical expenses and lost wages can be reimbursed. You can be compensated for temporary or permanent partial disability and temporary or permanent full disability. Your compensation will reflect whether you are unable to work again or if you can work in a reduced capacity. You won’t get to collect full benefits if you return to work and perform different duties.
There are three ways to calculate the amount you will get.
- The insurance company can use your average weekly income for the 13 weeks before your injury or illness. If you made $26 000 over that period, your weekly pay would be $2 000.
- The insurance company can use the weekly income of someone else in a similar post. This applies if you had not been in your post for 13 weeks before the injury. Maybe you recently joined the company or you recently transferred from another post.
- The insurance company can use your hourly rate to determine what your average weekly wage would be. This applies if you weren’t in the post for 13 weeks and there is no one in a comparable post.
As your workers’ comp attorney in Marietta, GA will explain, these wages are used to determine compensation. They don’t equate to what your compensation will be. In Georgia, the workers’ compensation guidelines indicate that the income benefits should be 2/3 of the worker’s average weekly wage. Therefore, the worker who made $2 000 per week would only be eligible for $1 333 in compensation. However, they wouldn’t even receive that. Under Georgia’s laws, you can only get a maximum $575 per week.
You can see the downside of workers’ compensation. You don’t have to go through a lengthy court process to get benefits. You don’t have to prove your employer was at fault. However, your weekly payments could be well below what you earned while you were working. That’s why it’s important to work with a workers’ comp attorneys to get the maximum compensation possible. Given the restrictions, you don’t want to go through the process alone.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
If an employee loses their life in a workplace accident, their next of kin may be eligible for benefits. Spouses, children and other dependents are usually able to get some form of compensation. They can get a weekly income of not more than $575. They can also claim funeral expenses up to $7, 500.
A spouse can claim death benefits for up to 4 000 weeks or until they turn 65-years-old. However, if they remarry or enter into a similar relationship, the benefits will cease. Children get benefits until age 18 or 22 if they are in college. If they are unable to earn an income because of physical or mental disability, they claim benefits for longer.
In the absence of a spouse or children, secondary beneficiaries can claim death benefits. They can include the deceased worker’s mother, father, grandparents or grandchildren. The caveat is that they must have been receiving financial support from the deceased. They must have been getting it for three months prior to the injury or illness that led to death. They will have to prove this in order to get compensation. The services of workers’ compensation lawyers Marietta will go a long way in helping such beneficiaries.
Ask a Workers’ Comp Attorney: Can I Get Fired While on Workers’ Comp?
The short answer is yes, you can get fired while on workers’ comp. However, as any workers’ comp lawyer in Marietta will tell you, your claim can’t be the reason you get fired. Your employer shouldn’t punish you for filing a workers’ comp claim. If they do, workers’ comp attorneys in Marietta will be able to fight for you.
If your employer goes through a restructuring exercise while you are on workers’ comp you can lose your job. Being on workers’ comp won’t protect you. Your employer can say your services were simply no longer required. If you have doubts, reach out to a workers’ comp attorney.
Contact Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Marietta Today
If your workers’ comp claim seems complicated from the outset, workers’ compensation lawyers in Marietta can come to your aid. If your claim seemed simple but was later denied, don’t feel like you have to accept the denial. Don’t think you have to fight alone. Call Schneider Hammers today and let us evaluate your case. We have a workers’ comp lawyer in Marietta who can fight for you. They can ensure you get the benefits you deserve. Contact us at (678)-846-6900 and schedule a free consultation.