If you are employed in Valdosta, you’re likely covered by workers’ compensation from the first day you enter your place of work. Workers’ comp should provide benefits if you become injured on the job, but many people experience issues with the insurance company that pays those benefits. If you need help with your workers’ comp claim, a Valdosta personal injury lawyer can help.
Insurance companies are not excited about paying out money on any type of injury claim. The insurance company providing your employer’s workers’ comp insurance might look for ways to reduce the value of your claim and pay you less. Your employer might even make it harder for you to get the compensation you need. Thankfully, a lawyer can help.
At John Foy & Associates, our workers’ compensation lawyers have been helping injured workers get access to the benefits they deserve for more than two decades. We are not afraid to stand up to the insurance companies and fight for your rights. Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online and we’ll give you a FREE consultation and case evaluation to get started.
How Workers’ Compensation Claims Work in Valdosta
Workers’ compensation is a government program that has been available to employees since 1920. Workers’ comp is meant to protect you if you get hurt while at work. There are two main goals of this coverage:
- To provide injured workers with medical treatment and income benefits and
- To avoid the need for lawsuits between workers and employers
All businesses in Valdosta with three or more regular workers must carry workers’ compensation, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC). The Georgia SBWC handles and regulates workers’ compensation claims and benefits throughout the state of Georgia.
Seasonal, part-time, and full-time workers can all count towards the minimum requirement for coverage as long as they are considered regular employees. Sole proprietors and freelancers are typically not covered by workers’ comp, as they are considered to be employers rather than employees.
Businesses that fall under the requirements for workers’ comp coverage must purchase an insurance policy. If a worker gets injured at the workplace, they have the right to file a workers’ comp claim with the SBWC and the insurance company. Workers’ comp should provide benefits to help the employee recover and return to work.
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Two Main Benefits You Can Receive Through Workers’ Compensation
After a workplace injury or illness, workers’ compensation should cover:
- Medical costs and
- Partial income replacement
1. Compensation for Medical Costs
All costs of treatment for your work-related injury or illness should be covered under workers’ compensation in Valdosta. That includes doctor bills, hospital bills, surgeries, tests, prescription medication, physical therapy, and travel to and from medical appointments.
To make sure your medical expenses are eligible for compensation, you’ll need to see an authorized physician through your employer’s workers’ comp insurance policy.
According to Georgia Code § 34-9-201, for your medical care options, your employer can either provide:
- A list of at least six physicians, professional associations, or corporations of physicians for you to choose from OR
- A managed care organization that is contracted with a workers’ comp insurer or self-insured employer
If you see a doctor who is not approved through your workers’ comp, you may not be able to get the benefits you need. So, make sure you see an authorized physician. If you need help understanding who to see, your workers’ compensation lawyer in Valdosta can help.
2. Workers’ Compensation Income Benefits
If your injuries prevent you from working for more than seven days, you are entitled to receive weekly income benefits. These are equal to two-thirds of your average weekly earnings before you were injured—capped at $675 per week and for up to 400 weeks. It’s not a lot, but it’s tax-free and can help provide income for your living expenses as you recover.
If you are able to return to work but you’re earning less money, workers’ comp should provide weekly income at two-thirds of the difference between your average wages before and after the work injury. These benefits are capped at $450 per week and up to 350 weeks.
Other Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Besides medical and income benefits, workers’ compensation might also help with vocational rehabilitation to help you get a different job or learn a new skill that accommodates a serious injury or disability.
If a worker dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, workers’ comp also provides income benefits to their dependents.
All Work-Related Injuries Are Covered
Since workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you don’t need to prove negligence to be eligible for compensation, it doesn’t matter who caused your injuries—as long as they happen on the job. Even if the injury happens when you are not doing something directly related to your regular work duties, it can still be covered if it happens at work.
It also doesn’t matter what industry you work in or how dangerous your job seems to be. If you are covered under workers’ comp, any work injuries are covered. This is true even if you work a sedentary job.
The only exception is injuries that don’t happen on your work premises. An injury usually needs to occur at your workplace to be covered. However, you may still be covered if you are hurt while traveling for work, attending an off-site work meeting, or operating a company vehicle. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine what is and isn’t covered.
Suing Your Employer for Workers’ Compensation in Valdosta
Due to the nature of workers’ compensation laws, you cannot sue your employer for a work injury. Workers’ comp is specifically designed to avoid lawsuits and provide benefits no matter how the work injury happened.
If you experience pushback from your employer or their insurance company when trying to file your claim, contact a Valdosta workers’ compensation lawyer right away. They can ensure your rights are upheld and help you build a strong claim to account for all the benefits you deserve.
Talk to a Workers Compensation Lawyer in Valdosta, GA for Free Today
Workers’ comp is your right in Valdosta. To get help with your case today, call John Foy & Associates. Our workers’ compensation lawyers do not charge a fee unless we win you money, so there is no risk in working with us.
To schedule a FREE consultation with us, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.