Although the workers’ compensation system is specifically designed to help employees, many don’t fully understand or appreciate their rights to benefits after a work injury. They often end up being forced to do what their employer tells them after getting hurt at work, which, unfortunately, may not be in their best interest.
If you have experienced an injury while at work and lost time and wages from your job, you need to speak with an Acworth workers’ compensation attorney. John Foy & Associates are experienced and can quickly tend to your concerns and questions to help you get the maximum benefits.
Benefits You Get Under Workers’ Compensation in Acworth
The type and amount of benefits that you should get under workers’ compensation will depend on the specific kind of injury or illness that you experienced. In most cases, you should be receiving the following benefits:
- Per Ga. Code § 34-9-200, your employer is required to give you medical care to address your health needs after a work injury, including accidents, long-term or repetitive injuries, and chronic illnesses or medical conditions.
- Unlike personal injury cases, you are entitled to get medical care right away after your work injury. You should also receive reimbursement for any miles you have to drive to get to doctor’s appointments or follow up medical treatment.
- Employees who have been unable to work for at least seven days are entitled to receive weekly income benefits which are meant to replace some income while you recover. Unfortunately, they may not be your full wages, but it can help you get by until you can work again.
- If you can go back to work, but you cannot work as many hours, you may be entitled to additional benefits than what you are being paid by your employer.
- You may also be able to get benefits (depending on the injured part of your body) that compensate you for the permanent loss of your earning capacity. This depends on if your work injury resulted in the decreased use of a body part and therefore affects your ability to earn a living.
- In severe work accidents, you may be entitled to receive job training. In cases where job training is permitted, you generally cannot go back to your pre-injury job, but you can continue to do some work if you get additional education or training.
In cases where you have lost a loved one because of a work injury, you may also be able to get death benefits for those who are dependent on the worker for support. Burial expenses are also included up to a specific amount as well.
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Can Your Employer Fire You After You Were Injured at Work in Georgia?
Georgia is an at-will state, meaning an employer can end your employment for virtually any legal reason. However, firing you simply because you’re hurt or because you filed a claim is not a valid legal reason. If you were fired because you reported an accident or requested workers’ compensation benefits, you may have a wrongful termination claim.
Even if you lose your job after you start your case, your employer in Georgia is still required to pay you the benefits that you’re entitled to receive. If your employment ends because you cannot physically or mentally continue doing your job due to the accident, the benefits you receive from your employer may be significantly higher.
Can You Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits Even If You’re at Fault for the Accident?
There’s no real measure of fault in most workers’ compensation cases, meaning that even if you caused the injury or accident, you should still be able to get benefits. This is unlike a personal injury case where your fault would decrease the amount of money you can get for your claim. Fault is typically not the focus of workers’ compensation cases.
There are, however, some limitations to this general rule. If your injury was the result of any of the following actions, you might have a harder time receiving benefits:
- Situations where you deliberately harmed yourself
- Using drugs or alcohol while on the job
In most cases, your employer will have to prove that you engaged in any of these activities before they can deny benefits. You should still try to obtain benefits even when you think you may have been partially at fault. Your Acworth workers’ compensation attorney can help you work through these issues and explain the best course of action for your case.
Filing a Claim With a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer’s Help
In Georgia, any employer with over three employees is required to offer workers’ compensation insurance. In order for the workers’ compensation claim to begin, injured workers must file what is known as a notice of injury with their employer within 30 days of their accident. It is important to report your injury as soon as possible to adhere to the Georgia statute of limitations.
Following this notice of injury, an Acworth workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file a WC-14 form with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Your attorney will then need to get more detailed information about your case such as:
- Where on the work site the injury took place
- Your status of employment and relationship with the defending employer
- Proving your injury was due to the course of work
- Verifying the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation has jurisdiction
- Collecting records of your wages
After you have reported your injury, you will need to see one of the doctors provided by your employer’s insurance. Your lawyer can help you pick the right one from the list your insurance provides. If for some reason your claim is denied, they can help you find a doctor who can offer you a second opinion for your appeal.
What to Do Iif Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied
There’s no guarantee that your claim gets approved. If the insurance company decides that there isn’t enough evidence that the injury was caused by an accident on your company’s property or site, or that it was the result of a preexisting condition, your claim could be denied. Employers use a range of tactics to try to undermine a workers’ compensation claim such as:
- Claiming the victim’s fall was caused by their own negligence
- Unjustly giving the employee a negative performance review
- Falsely claiming that their injury has already healed
- Terminating an injured employee who has been cleared for work by an employer-assigned doctor
To appeal your denied workers’ compensation claim, your attorney will schedule a hearing within 60 days of when the judge received your file. This judge, after hearing both sides of the case, will either issue you an award or deny your claim. In some cases, the appeals process can go even further, and you are able to appeal your claim again if it has been denied.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Acworth for Free
Our team of lawyers at John Foy & Associates has been helping work injury victims in Acworth, Georgia, for over 20 years. We know how confusing it can be to work through getting the right workers’ compensation benefits and medical care after a work injury. We can help you get in touch with medical professionals that have your best interests in mind.
You don’t have to go through this process alone. Our team of workers’ compensation lawyers in Acworth can help ensure that you’re getting the right medical care and the full amount of benefits that you are entitled to receive. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.