You are eligible for workers’ compensation from your first day on the job in Georgia. This means that if you are injured at work, you are entitled to medical benefits and wages while you recover. This insurance system was set up to help you, not punish anyone else.
Once you get hurt, contact our workers’ compensation attorneys in Atlanta at our law firm so we can represent your interests. We will help you navigate this intricate system, and you don’t have to pay our lawyers unless you win.
Atlanta Workers’ Compensation FAQs
Navigating Georgia’s workers’ comp system can be tricky following a work-related injury. Get the answers to your frequently asked questions from our knowledgeable Atlanta legal team.
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How Do You Know If You Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
You would likely be eligible for workers’ compensation if you were hurt on the job. However, in Georgia, you must have a physical injury to qualify.
You may also be eligible for psychiatric care if you have an emotional injury and a physical wound. For example, if you have been assaulted on the job by a colleague, supervisor, or client, you could have emotional after-effects.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be entitled to a full salary award. A workers’ compensation attorney will review your claim and best advise on your next steps.
Employer Obligations To Provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Your employer is legally obligated to purchase workers’ compensation insurance if their business has three or more employees, including the owner. The insurance carrier or a third-party administrator is responsible for paying out benefits.
There aren’t supposed to be adversaries in your pursuit of workers’ compensation benefits, but sometimes, there are. For example, some doctors try to send people back to work too soon, and employers cast doubt on victims’ injuries.
As an Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer at our firm says:
“Insurance companies know the rules. Attorneys know the rules. You don’t know the rules. Let us help you navigate this system.”
Insurance carriers have attorneys helping them long before anyone gets hurt. They know exactly what to do and how to save their company as much money as possible.
Can Independent Contractors Sue for Benefits?
You may qualify for workers’ compensation even if you are labeled an independent contractor and receive a W-9 for tax purposes. One of our top attorneys says: “In nine out of 10 cases, the employer is eligible for coverage.”
Let a workers’ compensation lawyer determine if you qualify. State and federal labor laws can be complex and difficult to understand. Plus, mistakes could be extremely costly, especially when you are injured and depend on this compensation to survive and recuperate.
How To File a Workers’ Compensation Case in Atlanta
First, you must inform your employer that you have been injured on the job. You have 30 days to do this, and you may have already told a supervisor or colleague who should have contacted your manager. Second, we urge you to contact a lawyer to help you navigate this process.
Do not give recorded statements or sign papers for your employer or insurance company without contacting an attorney. By law, you are not required to give insurance agents or employers a recorded statement.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys in Atlanta always recommend against giving a recorded statement that will undoubtedly be used against you. The point of the benefits is to get you back on your feet. Unfortunately, there may be undue pressure for you to return to work before you are able.
See a Doctor To Improve Your Chances for Maximum Compensation
There are mistakes you can avoid that could otherwise compromise your chances of receiving a fair settlement in your workers’ compensation case.
For one thing, don’t miss your doctor’s appointments or ignore your doctor’s advice. It may be difficult to prove you suffer from a severe accident-related injury if you don’t see your doctor to treat it.
Gather Medical Documents and Records
Keep copies of any and all medical documentation you receive, including prescriptions, to help you prove you are receiving treatment.
Medical documents will prove the extent of how much treatment you need and that you aren’t exaggerating your injuries. Also, you will have a record of your medical expenses, which you may include in your claim for reimbursement purposes.
Disclose Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Further, make sure to disclose all pre-existing conditions from which you suffer. If your failure to disclose any previous conditions is uncovered, it can endanger your claim.
The insurance company may argue that you were hiding the information because your injuries were related to your condition, not the workplace accident, and you were looking for a payout based on fraud.
What Is the Average Workers’ Comp Settlement in Georgia?
Your compensation in a workers’ comp settlement depends on several items. First, the amount you get is typically two-thirds of your wages, capped at $675 per week. Many settlements reflect that value, but there could be additional factors that impact how much your case is worth.
For this reason, it’s difficult to estimate a true average of workers’ compensation settlements. However, when you consult with a skilled attorney, they will help you better understand exactly how much you should get in any settlement related to your injury.
In a workers’ comp claim, you are eligible for:
- Weekly paycheck: If a doctor takes you off the job for seven or more days, you are entitled to two-thirds of your weekly paycheck. Workers’ compensation is tax-exempt, so your take-home pay may not change. You might be eligible for part of that difference if you can work at a less physically demanding job and earn less than before.
- Medical bills, physical therapy, and associated costs, including transportation: At least six physicians must provide your medical treatment. Your employer must offer information on this panel.
- Disability benefits: According to the American Medical Association guidelines, injured workers are entitled to some payment if they are permanently wounded. This is called a permanent or partial disability rating.
Is There a Time Limit To File a Workers’ Compensation Case in Atlanta?
Yes, there is a time limit to file a case. You have one year from the date of your workplace accident to act. If you get medical care, it is one year from the last medical treatment paid for by the insurance carrier and two years from the date you received a check for workers’ compensation.
You have 30 days to report your injury to your employer. However, that definition can be very broad, and a verbal conversation is often enough to qualify for a report. A workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta, GA, will help sort out these details.
How Long Does It Take To Settle a Workers’ Comp Case in Georgia?
Unfortunately, there is no solid answer to this question. For example, your workers’ compensation claim in Atlanta might take several weeks to several months and more than a year.
While many employers are understanding, insurance companies and opposing attorneys may try to drag out proceedings in an effort not to pay (or to pay you too little). That’s why having a workers’ comp attorney is important to help you fight for the money you deserve.
Very few people have enough savings to stay out of work for months or more without income. In some cases, the opposing side will try to use this financial pressure to get you to settle for less than the proper amount.
Why Should You Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
“Imagine that you are trying to get from Point A to Point B, you’ve never been there before, and you don’t have a map.” That’s how one of our top attorneys describes navigating the insurance system without legal help.
Workers’ compensation is an administrative system with very strict rules about your rights if you are injured on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance companies and employers are very well-versed in the rules of the system. You are not.
The Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers at our law firm have been practicing in this arena for more than 25 years. We will help you navigate this intricate system. We can also help you get to doctors whose main purpose is to facilitate your recovery and won’t release you back to work before you are recovered.
Will You Have To Testify Against Your Boss?
Many people feel guilty about “harming” a boss’ business, but you are not going after an employer. You are simply trying to enforce a right you are entitled to under the law. Hopefully, your boss will be on your side throughout this process.
We prepare every case as if we are going to court. However, we often settle prior to appearing before a judge. Workers’ compensation cases are treated differently from personal injury claims.
The court provides expedited hearings within six to eight weeks because the system is set up to protect and compensate you as quickly as possible.
What Should You Do if Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your workers’ compensation claim will be approved. The insurance company may ultimately decide that you haven’t provided enough evidence to support your claim or that your injuries might have resulted from a pre-existing condition.
Now what? All hope is not lost; you could still recoup compensation.
A workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta, GA, will get to work on helping you file an appeal, which may proceed to a hearing. If you are granted a hearing, a judge will hear both sides of the case and decide whether to award or deny your claim.
In an appeal, your attorney can help in a variety of ways:
- Gathering and preserving additional evidence of your injury
- Speaking with eyewitnesses of the event that injured you
- Providing notification to your employer and their insurance company
- Filing your appeal within the appropriate time frame
- Arguing your case before the judge
Is There a Pattern to Georgia Workplace Accidents?
While statistics provide a useful overview, they may not capture the nuances and complexities of each accident. Examining the circumstances and factors that contributed to each incident can provide valuable insights into how to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
By looking behind the numbers and understanding the real-life situations that led to workplace accidents in Georgia, employers, and safety professionals can take targeted action to improve safety practices and protect employees.
Employer Reported Injuries
Over 78,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in Georgia’s private industry sector in 2019. The resulting rate of occurrence per 100 persons employed full-time was 2.5. The national average was 2.8, so this rate was lower.
The incidence rate of total recordable cases (TRC) varied among different private industry sectors in Georgia. For example, the information sector had the lowest TRC incidence rate of 0.5, while the education and health services sector had the highest rate of 3.5.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia experienced 187 fatal work injuries in 2021. This number represents a decline from the previous year and ranges from a high of 249 in 1994 to a low of 101 in 2012.
The data shows that transportation incidents were the leading cause of fatal work injuries in the state, accounting for 41% of cases. The second leading cause of death on the job was violence or other injuries caused by other people or animals (37 deaths total). Finally, exposure to toxic substances or environments led to 31 work-related deaths.
These figures highlight the need for employers to take measures to prevent and address incidents of violence and exposure to harmful substances or environments in the workplace.
Contact an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
At John Foy & Associates, we are workers’ compensation law experts with decades of experience. We have the ability and know-how to help you navigate your case, gather evidence of your injury and its causation, negotiate with opposing parties, and even appeal a denial.
Don’t wait until the one-year deadline has passed and you lose the right to the compensation you’ve earned as an employee. Let us know about your case in a FREE consultation by filling out the case evaluation form on our contact page or calling our office today.
Our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys also work on contingency, which means you pay us nothing unless and until you get the compensation you need.