If you get injured at work, it can impact all aspects of your life, including your career and finances. It feels like a double-edged sword: you’re dealing with the recovery costs from the work injury, and the injury leaves you unable to continue working as you were before.
Thankfully, in the State of Georgia, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance meant to provide benefits that help you get back on your feet. One of those benefits is the total temporary disability. Learn the specifics of this benefit, how it can help you, and how it compares to other types of benefits under workers’ comp.
How Total Temporary Disability Benefits Work
In Georgia, total temporary disability benefits pay workers whose injuries prevent them from working for more than seven days.
Suppose you get approved for total temporary disability benefits. In that case, you’ll receive a weekly pay at two-thirds of the average you were receiving before you were injured, up to a certain weekly cap set by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SWBC).
The workers’ compensation benefits cap is updated every July. The weekly cap still floats around $675 per week. Depending on the details of your injuries, you may be able to receive this benefit for up to 400 weeks, or until you reach “maximum medical improvement,” if it happens sooner.
Maximum medical improvement means a doctor has determined your injury or condition has improved as much as possible through treatment. You would then be evaluated for a possible permanent disability when this happens.
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Temporary Partial vs. Total Temporary Disability
Total temporary disability benefits are not the only type of benefits you can receive through workers’ comp. For example, if you can still work after your injury because you are earning less than you normally would, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability.
This benefit provides two-thirds of the difference between what you were making before and then after your injury. Here’s an example:
- Before the injury, you made an average of $500 per week.
- But your injury now prevents you from doing certain types of work, so you earn an average of $200 per week.
- The difference is $300 per week. With temporary partial disability benefits, you would receive two-thirds of that difference, which is $200.
The Georgia weekly cap for temporary partial benefits is around $383 per week, although this number does change yearly and fluctuates depending on your situation. Therefore, you might be able to receive those benefits until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement or until 350 weeks have passed, whichever occurs first.
Permanent vs. Temporary Disability Benefits
Once you’ve completed as much treatment as you can for your injuries, you’ll get evaluated for a permanent disability. This would mean you are fully disabled because of your work injury and can no longer perform work in the field you were trained.
If the doctor finds you do have a total and permanent disability, there won’t be an end to the payments you receive, like with temporary disability benefits. Instead, you’ll receive weekly payments for the rest of your life at the same rate.
Injuries that qualify as total permanent disabilities (TPD) are extreme, such as limb loss or sight loss. What qualifies can also depend on your former career field and the actions you are now unable to perform.
Permanent Partial Disability
The other type of permanent disability (and the most common workers’ comp case) is a permanent partial disability. This means a worker can no longer perform their job at full capacity. Therefore, they are permanently impaired and will receive benefits, but the disability is partial, and they can still perform some work.
How to Apply for Total Temporary Disability Benefits
Workers’ compensation was set up expressly to protect the rights of injured workers and help them if they get hurt on the job. Therefore, you are entitled to access these benefits as soon as you start working with your employer. This includes disability benefits if you can’t work and reimbursement for medical costs.
To get total temporary disability benefits or any other workers’ comp benefits:
- You’ll need to tell your employer about your injury within 30 days. We recommend doing it as soon as possible.
- Then, you’ll need to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Sometimes, doctors can even clear employees to work far before they’re ready. It’s best to work with a professional who understands the rules and regulations around workers’ compensation benefits and what you’re eligible to receive.
Insurance Companies Aren’t On Your Side
Many workers choose to work with a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer to help them to file their claims. That’s because, unfortunately, the system can easily get complicated.
The insurance company providing your employer’s workers’ comp policy can look for ways to pay out less than you deserve. If you notice your case is taking too long, it could indicate unfair delays or a pending denial.
Insurance companies try to cheat you out of a fair settlement by claiming your workplace injuries aren’t as severe as you claim. Thus, they try to offer you a fast settlement that barely scratches the surface of the damages you sustained. While this initial settlement offer may seem tempting, never accept it. Instead, always fight hard for fair compensation.
Act Fast for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Whether you file a legal claim or try to receive total temporary disability benefits, the statute of limitations to file your claim is one year under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 34-9-82. While you have a one-year deadline, any injury you sustain on the job should get reported immediately.
Try not to take up a lot of time filing your claim. Time is of the essence, and the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to get the benefits and compensation you rightfully deserve. Instead, it’s best to get strong legal representation that can fight hard on your behalf.
Get Help After a Workplace Injury Today
At John Foy & Associates, we can help you if you’ve been injured at work and can no longer continue working as you were before. We have over 20 years of experience helping injured workers file claims and get the money they need to recover.
Our attorneys understand the complexities of workers’ comp benefits, and we’re here to answer your questions with a free consultation. To schedule an appointment with us today, call us any time or fill out our online contact form.