Regardless of industry, most Georgia employees are covered by a type of insurance called “workers’ compensation,” which ensures workers have access to medical care and financial support when they’re injured while working. Additionally, it is meant to provide compensation without having to file a lawsuit after being injured.
Collecting this benefit without a lawyer can be difficult. Insurance companies will try to pay out less than you’re entitled to receive by questioning the extremity of your injuries. You should get the benefits you deserve after a work injury, which is why talking to an Austell personal injury attorney from John Foy & Associates is important.
How do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Georgia?
Per Title 34 of the Georgia Code, employers with three or more employees must offer a workers’ compensation policy, which covers the costs of an employee’s injury while at work—regardless of how the injury occurred. If you are injured at work in Austell and want to file a workers’ compensation claim, the process consists of a few steps.
One of our attorneys will work with you to make sure you include all the information necessary in your Austell workers’ compensation claim. We will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Submit a Notice of Injury
Submit a Notice of Injury to your employer within 30 days of the injury occurring. It is critical to file this notice as soon as the injury occurs to prevent delays to the compensation claim process. Without the notice, your actual workers’ compensation claim can’t start yet.
File a WC-14 Form
Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys in Austell will help you fill out and file a WC-14 form with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. There are some important details that will need to be discussed, such as:
- Where on the work site the injury happened
- Proof that the injury was caused by the course of your work
- Confirmation that you’re employed by the defending employer
- Records of your wages
- Ensuring the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation has jurisdiction (as in, they are authorized to hear the case)
See an Approved Doctor
After you’ve reported the injury, you need to see a doctor under your employer’s insurance. They may offer you a list of at least six doctors to choose from, and your lawyer can help you determine the best one.
Get the strong arm
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation as an Independent Contractor?
Independent contractors in Austell and throughout Georgia are generally not offered workers’ compensation. This is important to know because sometimes employers will try to misclassify their employees as independent contractors as a way to avoid paying them workers’ compensation. If you believe this has happened to you, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
Even if you’re considered an independent contractor, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if:
- You don’t control your working conditions
- You are given a structured work schedule from a third party
- Another company, individual, or other entity determines how you complete your job
- A lawyer experienced in this area can look at your work situation and determine whether you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor and can still file a claim.
Any unfair treatment or issues with your claim can delay the process. A lawyer can help prevent you from waiting too long to get the benefits you need and deserve.
What Costs Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?·
Without the help of an Austell workers’ compensation attorney on your side, you don’t know how much you really need to cover your true costs. Workers compensation should cover all costs that are related to your injury at work. These include:
- Medical expenses like doctor and hospital visits, tests, and prescription medications
- Time you had to take off work to get treated and recover from the injuries
- Travel expenses to and from treatment (covered at 40 cents for every mile)
- Physical therapy
- Vocational training, if needed to return to work
- Additional money if the injury is permanent or leaves you with a disability
This also includes a continued paycheck during the time you’re out of work. This is generally less money than your regular pay, but you won’t pay taxes on it.
What If My Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation claims are too often denied. For example; you could be denied if the insurance company that offers the benefits doesn’t think you have sufficient evidence the injury was caused by a work accident. Other times, an employer may try to avoid the claim through sneaky tactics like:
- Giving an unfair negative performance review
- Claiming your injury was caused by your own carelessness
- Firing you even if you’ve been cleared for work by a doctor assigned by your employer
- Trying to say your injury has already healed, even if it hasn’t
To appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, a hearing must be scheduled within 60 days of the judge receiving your appeal. After the judge hears both sides of the workers’ compensation case, they’ll either deny your claim or issue you an award. Sometimes, you can keep appealing the claim even if you were denied again.
A workers’ compensation lawyer in Austell can help you with this appeals process to decrease your chances of getting denied again. They can also help you find a doctor to offer a second opinion, if needed, for the appeal.
Will I Need to Go to Trial in My Workers’ Compensation Case?
While not all workers’ compensation cases need to go to a Georgia court, some may need to for various reasons such as:
- You believe you were not fairly compensated.
- Your employer denied your compensation.
- The insurance company denied your compensation.
In these situations and others, you would want to request a hearing with George’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation. During this trial, an Administrative Law Judge will listen to both sides and decide what, if any, benefits you will receive.
Trials generally occur 60 days after the judge receives the WC-14 Form and are generally held in or near Austell County. Since your employer may be represented by a lawyer, it is important to have legal representation from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Can I Lose My Job Over My Workers’ Compensation Case?
Although you cannot be fired directly for filing a workers’ compensation claim, Georgia laws do not prevent your employer from firing you in retaliation. They can fire at-will employees for any reason, even if they are not actively working. But even if you are fired, there is some good news.
Your claim will not be revoked if you lose your job; you are still eligible to receive benefits. If you are actively receiving benefits, you will still keep your benefits. If you haven’t yet received a settlement, the value of your settlement may even go up.
Losing your job while actively applying for workers’ compensation benefits or currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits can be complicated. One of our skilled Austell workers’ compensation attorneys can help.
Talk to an Austell Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free
At John Foy & Associates, you’ve been fighting to help workers claim the benefits they deserve for over two decades. We know how hard it can be to recover from a workplace injury, and we help make the claims (or appeal) process as stress-free as possible so that you can recover what you need to cover your costs.
As a worker in Austell, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured at your job. Don’t delay getting help. Contact us today for a FREE consultation to speak with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Austell.