Sustaining a work injury can be devastating, both physically and financially. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it’s important to understand your rights and the legalities surrounding work injury claims in Georgia.
With specific statutes, liability factors, and potential damages to consider, navigating the legal process can be complicated. We’ve provided this overview of Georgia work injury claims so you’ll know how to protect your interests and pursue the compensation you are entitled to.
Contact an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer for a free consultation, or keep reading to learn more.
Statutes Governing Georgia Work Injury Claims
In Georgia, the main laws governing workplace injury claims and damages are outlined in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) Title 34, Chapter 9.
Some of the key Georgia statutes related to work injuries include:
- O.C.G.A. § 34-9-1: Defines terms like employer, employee, and injury
- O.C.G.A. § 34-9-2: Mandates that employers with three or more employees carry workers’ compensation insurance
- O.C.G.A. § 34-9-17: Establishes grounds for denial of benefits such as willful misconduct or intoxication
- O.C.G.A. § 34-9-200: Outlines the benefits employers must provide and makes injured employees eligible for financial compensation after the first week
- O.C.G.A. § 34-9-240: Governs the process of placing an employee on light duty due to an injury
There are also statutes governing workplace safety and employers’ liability. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is the key to obtaining full benefits.
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Liability in a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Case
If you were injured on the job in Georgia, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation. However, for an employee to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia, they must establish legal liability by proving certain elements:
- Employer-employee relationship: There must be proof that the claimant was working for the company at the time of the incident. Pay stubs, work schedules, and employment records help establish this relationship.
- Timely reporting: Employees must notify their employer of the injury within 30 days and file a formal claim within one year. Failure to report your injury in a timely manner can jeopardize your benefits.
- Work connection: The injury must have occurred while you were performing normal job duties or workplace tasks. Your employer’s insurance company may argue that you sustained your injury some other way.
- Evidence of an injury: Medical records, eyewitness statements, recorded safety violations, and evidence of equipment defects help substantiate that a workplace accident occurred.
While there is no need to prove negligence on your employer’s part, the above liability requirements are necessary to hold an employer financially responsible through the workers’ compensation system. An experienced attorney can help you demonstrate these elements.
Available Damages in a Georgia Work Injury Case
Injured employees may be entitled to various types of damages in a Georgia workers’ compensation case, including:
- Medical expenses: “Workers’ comp” covers all reasonable and necessary medical costs related to the work injury, such as hospital bills, physical therapy, surgery, medications, assistive devices, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages: If your injury prevents you from working for over seven days, you can recoup a portion of your lost income in the form of weekly payments. While these payments will be smaller than your usual paychecks, they are not taxable.
- Disfigurement benefits: If the injury leaves permanent scarring or disfigurement, you may receive additional compensation even if you can still work.
- Impairment benefits: These account for any potential loss of future earning capacity due to permanent or partial disability that reduces your ability to work.
- Vocational retraining: If you are unable to return to previous job duties, workers’ compensation benefits may cover the cost of retraining you for a new occupation.
- Additional damages: In addition to standard workers’ compensation, you might be able to pursue civil damages if the employer’s negligence or failure to maintain safety was to blame for the injury. An attorney can tell you whether this is applicable.
Every case is unique, and the exact value of your damages will depend on the severity of the injury, the effects on your income and quality of life, and other factors. One of our attorneys can evaluate your case and guide you through your next steps.
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one suffered harm while working in Georgia, the dedicated team at John Foy & Associates is here to help. We have over 20 years of experience recovering damages for injured workers statewide. Hiring a qualified attorney is the best way to ensure you recover everything you are entitled to.
Don’t go up against the workers’ compensation system or a negligent employer alone. Let us handle your claim so you can relax and focus on your recovery. With a proven track record of success in Georgia work injury claims, we have the knowledge and resources to get you the compensation you deserve.
Call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.