When you receive an injury at work that puts you out of work for days, your employer should provide you with workers’ compensation to cover some of your losses. In South Fulton, the law requires that anyone out of work for more than seven days should receive workers’ compensation to help them cover the expenses of taking time off of work and treating injuries.
However, while the law does require appropriate workers’ compensation, it’s not unusual for workers to have a hard time getting the coverage they need from their employer’s policies. In many cases, the insurance company isn’t interested in paying the total amount and thus tries to downplay your injuries or pressure you to go back to work.
To start getting the compensation and coverage you need, get in touch with a South Fulton personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
What Is Workers’ Compensation in South Fulton?
The law in Georgia requires that employers provide employees with workers’ compensation to cover the cost of medical treatment, medical equipment, surgical care, etc. This compensation should be provided for catastrophic injuries (spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis, amputation, severe brain injury, second or third-degree burns, blindness, etc.) and non-catastrophic injuries that prevent the employee from working for any time period longer than seven days.
Your job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits is to continually submit to examinations by physicians to ensure that you’re healing well and that you are receiving the best possible care and treatment. If you are not receiving the best treatment possible to get you back to work, your employer can request that you see another physician who will do a better job of helping you.
If your injury is not catastrophic, your employer does not have to provide you with compensation for more than 400 weeks unless you both agree to extended terms in writing. It’s vital that you very clearly identify the type and severity of the injury you suffered in your work accident to ensure that you receive the appropriate amount of compensation for as long as you need it.
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What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Workers’ compensation is specifically designed to help you recover from your injuries as quickly as possible so that, if possible, you can get back to work. Therefore, workers’ compensation will primarily cover medical expenses of various kinds. You should be able to get help paying, for example:
- Bills for emergency room visits.
- The cost of surgery.
- The expense for medication prescriptions.
- The cost of medical equipment such as crutches, wheelchairs, or even prosthetics.
- Bills for ongoing physical therapy.
- Money to help with gas expenses from driving to and from appointments.
In addition, if you are prevented from returning to work for at least seven days, your employer should pay you disability benefits of 60% of your salary, up to $1,000 per week. They should continue to pay until you are recovered and will even cover medical costs for subsequent injuries if your treatment leads to further issues.
Ultimately, workers’ compensation covers any expense directly related to the injury that you suffered while at work. The payments from workers’ compensation can continue until you are recovered or even long-term if you are disabled by your injury.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you’re injured at work and need to file a workers’ compensation claim, there are just a few simple steps you need to take.
- Notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible and fill out any paperwork provided by your employer for the purpose.
- Seek medical treatment from an approved physician–your employer will likely provide you with a list of approved physicians, or you can search the database.
- Gather relevant paperwork such as medical bills, prescription receipts, wage statements from your employer, and a WC-14 form giving notice of your claim.
- Fill out the WC-14 form as completely as possible, including your employer, their insurance company, information about your injury, and whether you want to seek mediation or a hearing to determine fault.
- File your claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC) and send a copy of the claim to your employer and their insurance provider.
Once you have followed these steps, you will learn from your employer’s insurance provider whether you qualify to receive benefits and what benefits you qualify for. You must then pursue treatment from the approved physician until you can return to work.
If your claim was denied, you could always request a hearing from the SBWC to fight for your claim if you believe that you were wrongly denied.
Working with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in South Fulton
It’s important that you speak with a South Fulton workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible when you decide to apply for a claim. It may be that your lawyer will advise you to wait to file a claim until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), which means that you have recovered as much as possible with the medical treatment you’ve been provided. If you reach MMI, you will likely have to seek disability payments for the duration of your life.
At this point, a doctor can evaluate how your injury is likely to impact the rest of your life. Your workers’ compensation lawyer in South Fulton can then help you determine how much compensation you should be able to recover based on the doctor’s prognosis. While your employer’s insurance company will likely start out with a settlement offer, it will probably be a lowball offer that doesn’t cover all your expenses.
To ensure you get what you truly need, get in touch with a lawyer to discuss:
- The severity of your injuries.
- The possibility of you returning to work in the future.
- The ramifications of your accident, including medical expenses and other future losses.