Most workers in Austell are covered by a type of insurance called workers compensation. No matter the type of job, workers compensation is meant to protect all workers who are injured at work. It was designed to ensure all workers:
- Have access to financial support and medical care if they’re injured while on the job
- Are compensated without the need to file expensive, complicated lawsuits after an injury
However, the process for collecting on a workers compensation claim can be difficult. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and they may use tactics like questioning the extremity of your injuries in an effort to pay out less than you’re actually entitled to receive. But as a worker in Austell, you should get the benefits you deserve after a work injury. To make sure you do, it’s important to talk to an Austell workers compensation lawyer.
John Foy & Associates has been fighting for the rights of injured workers for 20+ years, and we don’t back down against insurance companies. We’ve assisted thousands of people in getting the workers compensation recovery they legally deserve. Let us help you. To schedule a FREE consultation right away and talk about your unique situation, call us at 404-400-4000, or complete out the form to the right. Contact us today for your free consultation.
What Is the Process For a Workers Compensation Claim?
In Georgia, all employers with three or more employees are legally required to offer a workers compensation policy. They pay for the costs of the insurance by deducting a certain amount from each paycheck. That means if you suffer an injury at work—no matter how it happened—this insurance policy should cover the costs of your injuries.
Here are the steps you need to take when filing a workers compensation claim:
Notice of Injury
After your injury happens, you can thirty days to file a “notice of injury” with your employer. It’s very important to do this as soon as possible after the injury so as not to delay the process. Without the notice, your actual workers compensation claim can’t start yet.
It’s recommended you have a workers compensation lawyer help you with this. You’ll need to file a WC-14 form with the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation.
Before your case can move forward, a few things will need to be addressed:
- Where on the work site the injury happened
- Proof that the injury was caused by the course of your work
- Confirmation that you’re employed by the defending employer
- Records of your wages
- Ensuring the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation has jurisdiction (is authorized to hear the case)
See an Approved Doctor
After you’ve reported the injury, you need to see a doctor under your employer’s insurance. They may offer you a list of at least six doctors to choose from, and your lawyer can help you determine the best one.
Costs Covered By Workers Comp
Workers comp should cover ALL costs that are related to your injury at work. This includes:
- Medical expenses like doctor and hospital visits, tests, and prescription medications
- Time you had to take off work to get treated and recover from the injuries
- Travel expenses to and from treatment (covered at 40 cents for every mile)
- Physical therapy
- Vocational training, if needed to return to work
- Additional money if the injury is permanent or leaves you with a disability
This also includes a continued paycheck during the time you’re out of work. This is generally less money than your regular pay, but you won’t pay taxes on it.
I’m an Independent Contractor. Am I Still Covered?
Independent contractors in Austell and the State of Georgia are generally not offered workers compensation. This is important to know because sometimes employers will try to misclassify their employees as independent contractors as a way to avoid paying them workers comp. If you believe this has happened to you, contact a workers compensation lawyer right away.
However, even if you’re considered an independent contractor, you may still be eligible for workers comp benefits if:
- You don’t control your working conditions
- You are given a structured work schedule from a third party
- Another company, individual, or other entity determines how you complete your job
A lawyer experienced in this area can look at your work situation and determine whether you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor and can still file a claim. Any unfair treatment or issues with your claim can delay the process. A lawyer can help prevent you from waiting too long to get the benefits you need and deserve.
What Are My Options If My Claim Was Denied?
Unfortunately, workers compensation claims are too often denied. For example; you could be denied if the insurance company that offers the benefits doesn’t think you have sufficient evidence the injury was caused by a work accident. Other times, an employer may try to avoid the claim through sneaky tactics like:
- Giving an unfair negative performance review
- Claiming your injury was caused by your own carelessness
- Firing you even if you’ve been cleared for work by a doctor assigned by your employer
- Trying to say your injury has already healed, even if it hasn’t
To appeal a denied workers compensation claim in Georgia, a hearing must be scheduled within 60 days of the judge receiving your appeal. After the judge hears both sides of the workers compensation case, they’ll either deny your claim or issue you an award. Sometimes, you can keep appealing the claim even if you were denied again.
A workers compensation lawyer can help you with this appeals process to decrease your chances of getting denied again. They can also help you find a doctor to offer a second opinion, if needed, for the appeal.
Talk to an Austell Workers Compensation Lawyer for Free
At John Foy & Associates, you’ve been fighting to help workers claim the benefits they deserve for over two decades. We know how hard it can be to recover from a workplace injury, and we help make the claims (or appeal) process as stress free as possible so you can recover what you need to cover your costs. As a worker of Austell, you’re entitled to workers comp benefits if you were injured at your job. Don’t delay getting help. Contact us today for FREE consultation to speak with one of our attorneys. Call us at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form to the right for your free consultation.