You are eligible for workers’ compensation in Georgia from the day you start your job. Workers’ compensation gives you a right to medical care and weekly pay if you’re injured while working. This system is designed to protect employees and help them get through recovery from their injuries without paying a financial cost.
Unfortunately, employers and their insurance companies don’t always want to pay the money you are owed. They know the complicated rules inside and out, so you’ll need a good workers’ compensation lawyer in Columbus on your side from the start who knows them just as well.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a system set up to make sure that workers who are injured on the job always get the care they need, without expensive lawsuits. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation is built to help you get the benefits you need to make up for lost work. The benefits it gives you include:
- Medical treatment: All your medical treatment, including hospital stays, is paid for by your employer’s insurance.
- Take-home pay: If your doctor takes you out of work for a week or more, you receive temporary pay while you recover. The amount is two-thirds of your regular paycheck, up to a maximum of $550, and it is tax-free. If you have a permanent injury, you may qualify for an additional payment.
- Physical therapy: If your injury requires physical therapy, it is included in the medical treatment you receive.
- All medication is covered.
- Necessary travel expenses: You will be reimbursed at a rate of 40 cents per mile for all travel to and from doctor or hospital visits, pharmacies, tests, and other medical-related trips.
In some cases, you may also be eligible for vocational rehabilitation. You may also qualify for a “partial disability” payment when your recovery is complete.
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What to Do After a Workplace Accident
While there is no one-size-fits-all guide to handling workplace accidents, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of getting the workers’ compensation you deserve. Anything that you can do to make sure your employer and their insurance provider know the extent of your injuries will help you secure much-needed compensation for your damages.
After a workplace accident, you should:
- Make sure you’re okay: Your safety is the most important thing in any workplace accident scenario. If you need medical attention, get it as soon as possible, and remove yourself from any dangerous situation that can turn worse.
- Notify your employer: The first step to getting workers’ compensation is letting your employer know that you’ve been injured. Don’t pretend that you’re fine or downplay your injuries. If it seems like you have fewer damages, you’ll receive less compensation.
- File your claim: This is the most important part of your workers’ compensation process. Filing your claim accurately and in a timely manner can mean getting your compensation as fast as possible.
- Follow up with medical treatments: Go to your approved medical provider whenever you need to and follow through with any procedures or therapies that they recommend.
- Get a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer in Columbus: Any step in the process can present problems or questions. A workers’ compensation attorney can help.
When you need help with your workers’ compensation, whether it’s a question during the application or a denial of benefits, our team can help. We offer free consultations to help you understand your situation before you decide to hire your lawyer.
Columbus Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Near Me 706-400-4000
How Much Is the Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
No two workers’ compensation cases are the same. Because of that, everyone’s workers’ compensation settlement will differ based on various factors surrounding your accident. Factors that can affect your settlement include:
- Where you were injured
- Whether you can work again
- How much you were making before your accident
- Your past and future medical bills
- Your age
In general, the most you can receive from workers’ compensation is $650 per week, and the longest you can receive workers’ compensation is 400 weeks, or eight years. Unfortunately, most people don’t receive that much for that long.
A lawyer can help you figure out how much your workers’ compensation settlement is worth. At your free initial consultation, one of our lawyers can walk you through your claim and tell you what you can expect.
What Sorts of Injuries Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
All injuries at the workplace are covered. Workers’ compensation claims are most common in the construction field, with the chief causes of injury being falls, electric shock, being struck by a falling object, or getting caught in or between equipment. However, accidents happen in every kind of work. Some of the common causes of workers’ comp claims include:
- Back and neck injuries
- Burns or scalds
- Hearing loss
- Joint pain
- Accidents while traveling for business
- Accidents while working with machinery or tools
There are more injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation, so even if you’re not sure, it’s worth it to get a free consultation about your claim. Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Columbus, GA, at John Foy & Associates can assess your situation and tell you if you can file a claim.
For a free legal consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Columbus, call 706-400-4000
Are Emotional or Psychological Injuries Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
To file a workers’ compensation claim you must have a physical injury. Emotional trauma on its own does not qualify, even though it can have serious and lasting consequences.
However, if the emotional trauma is connected to a physical injury that occurred at work, you do qualify for treatment as part of your claim. For example, if you were assaulted by someone in your workplace, you could file a claim for both physical and psychological injuries.
What If the Injury Occurred on the Way to Work or Somewhere Off-Premises?
We often see workers who got into an accident while driving to work. The answer is complicated. In general, no, injuries that happen during your commute to work are not covered.
Normally, workers’ compensation starts when you step onto your employer’s property. This could be a parking lot that your employer owns, a sidewalk on the company campus, or when you literally walk through the front door.
But there are cases where off-premises injuries are covered, including:
- Going on an errand for work as directed by your employer
- Going to off-site meetings
- While talking with a client, supervisor, or colleague on your cell phone
- While driving a company vehicle
- During paid travel
If the insurance company has wrongly denied your claim, you still have hope. A personal injury lawyer can help you build your claim and pursue compensation after a denied claim.
Do I Have to Sue My Employer?
No. In fact, in Columbus, you cannot sue your employer for an injury that happened on the job. Workers’ compensation is the only way to get the benefits you need in most cases. And it is a much quicker process than a lawsuit.
We talk to many workers that don’t feel right “blaming” or harming their employer. But you are not harming anyone with workers’ compensation. Your employer already pays for workers’ compensation insurance and you are simply getting a fair reimbursement of your costs, which is guaranteed to you by law.
Your employer cannot terminate you or take any action against you at work because of your injury or your claim. If they have, you can take legal action. Talk to one of our Columbus workers’ compensation lawyers to find out what your options are.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Georgia?
Yes, there is a very strict set of deadlines attached to workers’ compensation. In Georgia, you have just 30 days to report your injury to your employer, or you cannot file a claim. The claim itself must generally be filed within a year of the injury, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 34-9-82(a).
In some cases there are longer timeframes, but they are rare. The longer you wait, the more difficult your claim may be. Employers will argue that you would have known much sooner that an injury had serious effects.
We have worked with hundreds of injured workers. We know that it often takes weeks, months or even years to see the full extent of an injury. We also know that most workers don’t want to get involved in a legal process if they don’t have to.
But your health is your greatest asset, and you are guaranteed these benefits by law. You need to speak to a lawyer and make sure you get the full amount you need.
Talk to a Columbus, GA, Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free
We believe that every injured worker has a right to workers’ compensation. Let us help you. We have over 20 years of experience helping workers and their families get the benefits they need. We always take the side of the worker, never big companies.
The Columbus, GA, workers’ compensation lawyers at John Foy & Associates will give you a 100% free consultation and help you decide how to proceed with your claim. Don’t lose your workers’ compensation claim. Call us or fill out the contact form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.