Workers in Decatur are covered by workers’ compensation from the first day on the job. You can be covered regardless of your title, what type of work you do, or what your pay grade is. If you or anyone you love was injured while on the job, you should speak to a Decatur workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
John Foy & Associates has been helping injured workers for over 20 years. We understand the workers’ compensation system, the insurance companies, and how to get them to pay the full amount you deserve. Let us give you a free consultation to discuss your claim.
How does Workers’ Compensation Work?
Workers’ compensation, or “workers’ compensation,” is a government program that provides protection to workers who are injured on the job. It is one of our most important worker rights in this country. It has two goals:
- To get you, the injured worker, the medical care and financial support you need
- To avoid the need for slow, expensive lawsuits to resolve workplace injuries
The way the program works is simple. By law, employers must carry an insurance policy that protects their workers. If you get injured at your workplace, this policy provides coverage for your injuries and recovery.
The most important things to know about workers’ comp are:
- Workers’ compensation is not a “handout.” The insurance policy is paid for in large part by deductions from the workers’ paychecks.
- Workers’ compensation is your right in any workplace injury, regardless of how it happened or the kind of job you perform.
Under Georgia law, virtually every employer in the state must carry this insurance and tell their employees how to make a claim. Those big labor posters you see in your break room have the basics for your employer
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How Much of My Costs Will Workers’ Compensation Pay for?
Your workers’ compensation benefits should pay for the entire cost of your injury, including lost work time. Standard benefits for most injuries include:
- Medical care, doctor visits, tests, X-rays, and other treatments
- Medication costs
- Physical therapy if needed to recover from your injury
- Vocational training to help you return to work with your injury
- Travel costs (at a rate of $.40/mile) for all driving to and from medical appointments
- A paycheck until you are able to return to work. This paycheck is typically less than your normal pay, usually 2/3rds, but it is completely tax-free.
If your injury leads to a permanent condition or any kind of ongoing disability, you will also receive additional financial benefits. Families of workers will also receive added benefits in the tragic event of a death in the workplace. It is impossible for money to make up for these kinds of terrible losses, but the benefits can offset their financial impact.
What Types of Injuries does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
In general, any injury that happens at work should be covered, no matter how small. This means:
- You are covered no matter whose fault the injury is.
- You are covered no matter how the injury happened.
- You are covered even if the injury was not directly related to your work (for instance, tripping on the stairs).
- You never have to argue about blame to be approved.
The most common injuries we see come out of the construction industry. Specific injuries include falling, being struck by a falling object, getting caught in between equipment, and electrical shocks.
However, workers’ compensation claims can come out of any profession. We have seen claims from restaurants, office workers, delivery drivers and many other industries. Injuries don’t have to be sudden either; repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome are also covered.
Are There Any Injuries that Are Not Covered?
An injury will not usually be covered if it did not happen on the premises at work. However, there are many exceptions to this. Your injury may still be covered if:
- It happened while traveling for business.
- You were driving a company vehicle.
- You were running an errand off-site for your job.
- You were at a work meeting off-site.
- You were working remotely when it happened.
Unfortunately, injuries that happen while commuting are not usually covered. But an injury can be covered if it happened in a parking lot or sidewalk owned by the employer. Speak with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Decatur and we’ll study the details to see if you qualify.
Are Emotional/ Psychological Conditions Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
It depends on the circumstances. As a rule, workers’ compensation covers physical injuries and all of their related effects. So emotional trauma is covered only if it accompanies a physical injury.
For example, a worker who is physically attacked on company premises would get coverage for both the physical and psychological effects. However, a worker who was traumatized without a physical injury would not.
What Are My Responsibilities for Workers’ Compensation?
In order to have a successful claim, there are a few things you need to do to fulfill your responsibilities. These include:
- Notifying your manager or HR about the injury as soon as possible after it happens or you notice it.
- Following the claim process as posted on your employer’s labor information sheet.
- Seeing a doctor approved by your employer’s insurer. You are free to get a second opinion from your own doctor.
These are the most important responsibilities, but there are others. The standard Bill of Rights for workers’ compensation in Georgia can be found at the link.
Do I Have to Sue My Employer to Get Workers’ Compensation?
Never. In fact, in Decatur, workers’ compensation has explicitly replaced lawsuits when it comes to workplace injuries. You are not allowed to sue your employer directly, and there are several reasons for this:
- Lawsuits can go on for years; workers should not have to wait that long.
- The results of a lawsuit are unpredictable, and workers can never be sure that they’ll win.
- Under workers’ compensation, workers’ claims are with the insurance company, not with their employer.
We talk to many injured workers who are worried their employers will take action against them if they file a workers’ compensation claim. In reality, we find the opposite to be true: employers are often supportive and caring to their injured workers, while the insurance company is the one that tries to wriggle out of paying.
This is why it’s so important to have a good workers’ compensation attorney in Decatur on your side. Insurance agencies want to pay out as little as possible even if you deserve more. Decatur workers’ compensation attorneys like ours make sure they hold up their end of their contracts.
How Insurance Companies Fight Back Against Workers’ Compensation Claims
The insurance companies that pay out workers’ compensation benefits are not eager to approve claims. It is in their interest to pay the smallest amount possible, and there are many tactics they’ll try to make it stick.
They may do this by minimizing the extent of your injuries, disputing the facts of how you were injured, or even referring you to a doctor who you don’t believe has your best interests at heart. This can leave injured workers without the benefits they are guaranteed by the law.
You could also be the target of a private investigation. They could try to catch you on video doing something against your doctor’s orders and use that to deny you coverage. Be sure to follow all of your doctor’s instructions, no matter how trivial. The adjusters will be watching!
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Decatur Today
All workers have rights. At John Foy & Associates, we refuse to see a worker lose the money they are guaranteed by law. Let us give you a free consultation and help you get the benefits you deserve. Call us or use our contact form to get your FREE consultation today.