Workers’ compensation was created to protect injured workers in cities like Clarkston. If you have an employer, you’re probably covered by this protection. However, it can still be difficult to get the full recovery you deserve after being injured on the job. Insurance companies are quick to avoid paying. That’s why you need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Clarkston, GA.
At John Foy & Associates, we’re dedicated to helping workers in Clarkston and the rest of Georgia recover their costs after a work injury. We know how to communicate with the insurance provider, and we aren’t intimidated by their tactics.
To get started with a FREE consultation, call us today at (404) 400-4000.
How Workers Compensation Works in Clarkston
The concept of workers’ compensation (also known as workers’ comp) has been around since ancient times, but the workers’ compensation we know today spurred from the Employer’s Liability Law of 1871, according to LexisNexis. The basis is to provide financial support to workers who are hurt while performing the duties of their jobs.
Workers’ compensation should:
- Compensate you for the costs of your injuries, such as medical bills or long-term treatment.
- Allow you to make a claim without having to prove fault or go to court.
Unlike personal injury claims where the injured person must prove fault, the blame is not considered with workers’ compensation. It doesn’t matter how you were injured as long as the injury occurred at work.
Even if the injury was not related to your job duties, it’s still covered if it happened at your job. You also cannot sue your employer for damages.
Every employer in Georgia with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation coverage. That means if you work for them and are hurt on the job, their workers’ compensation policy should cover your injury costs.
How the Insurance Company Interferes with Your Rights
Although workers’ compensation should protect your rights as a worker, there are roadblocks. Insurance companies that provide workers’ compensation coverage care most about their bottom line. They will look for ways to avoid paying out your claim. They may employ strategies like:
- Questioning how your injuries happened
- Minimizing how badly you were hurt
- Offering a lowball settlement that does not cover your costs
- Sending you to medical professionals who aren’t best for your needs
This is why many injured workers need a Clarkston workers’ compensation lawyer. If the insurance company won’t play fair, you need a legal professional who can defend your rights and the benefits you’re legally allowed.
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Benefits of Workers’ Compensation in Clarkston
Although workers’ compensation should be guaranteed after a work injury, there are some limitations on how much money you can receive. Benefits you can receive include:
- Coverage of all medical costs resulting from the injuries you suffered in your workplace accident (as long as treatment is authorized and has been deemed necessary)
- Mileage reimbursement of travel to and from doctor appointments
- Rehabilitation services if you need to find a new job because of your injuries
If a worker dies on the job, certain family members can also receive two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage. They can also receive up to $7,500 in funeral and burial costs.
If you are unable to work because of your work injuries, workers’ compensation provides temporary or permanent disability benefits, as well.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability benefits are available to workers who cannot work for more than seven days because of their injuries. There are temporary partial or total benefits:
- Temporary partial disability means you can work, but not as much as before. Benefits provide two-thirds of the difference between your pay before and after you were hurt.
- Temporary total disability is provided when you can’t work during the treatment of your injuries. Payment is two-thirds of your regular weekly income until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) or after 400 weeks.
The state of Georgia has a cap on how much you can receive through temporary disability benefits. As of July 2017, partial benefits cannot exceed $383 per week, and total benefits cannot be more than $575 per week.
Permanent Disability Benefits
When you have finished treatment for your injuries, a doctor will evaluate you. If your injuries are severe enough to totally and permanently disable you, you will receive the temporary total disability payments for the rest of your life.
If you are not completely disabled but can now only perform lower-paying work, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. These benefits depend on how you’re disabled:
- Scheduled losses: If certain body parts listed on the Georgia schedule, such as hands, feet, arms, legs, or eyes, are disabled, you will receive two-thirds of your regular weekly pay for a certain number of weeks.
- Unscheduled losses: If your disabled body part is not on the Georgia schedule (such as head, spine, or organ injuries), benefits are awarded based on what disability rating your doctor gives.
The amount of time you receive these benefits depends on Georgia’s schedule of income benefits based on the disabled body part and its percentage of loss. Loss of use details is listed in Title 34-9-263 of the Georgia Code. Benefit caps are the same as temporary total disability.
Exceptions to Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Since workers’ compensation benefits cover you while you’re working, there can be certain gray areas. Usually, you need to be injured at the business where you work to receive benefits. However, you may also be covered if you are hurt while:
- Operating a company vehicle
- Traveling for your job
- Attending work meeting off-site
- Running an errand for your employer
This does not usually include injuries that happen while traveling to and from work. In these situations, you are not “on the clock.” Your injuries may be covered if you are hurt in the business parking lot.
Workers’ Compensation for Freelancers and Self-Employed People
Freelancers or sole proprietors are not eligible for workers’ compensation because they are seen as their own employers. However, if they purchase workers’ compensation for employees, they can request to also be covered as an employee.
As you can see, workers’ compensation benefits can be complex. To make sure you file correctly and protect your rights, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Clarkston for help.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Clarkston, GA for Free
If you were hurt while doing your job, you have a right to benefits for your injuries. Our workers’ compensation lawyers at John Foy & Associates can help. We’ve been helping injured workers support themselves and their families for more than 20 years. We can assist you, too—starting with a FREE consultation.
To get started with your free consultation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 now.