If you become injured or sick at work, you are probably entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are meant to help cover the costs of your injuries, missed work time, and more. Workers have access to benefits through insurance their employer carries in most situations, but it’s essential to have all the facts.
John Foy & Associates can help you with your workers’ compensation claim and ensure you seek the full benefits you deserve. To discuss your case with an experienced and compassionate workers’ compensation lawyer, call us today at (404) 471-3348 or reach out online.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation, also known as workers’ compensation, is insurance most employers must purchase. Workers’ compensation claims are different from personal injury claims because:
- Fault doesn’t matter. If the injury happened at work, it should be covered.
- Since fault does not matter, you cannot sue your employer.
- Your employer also cannot blame you for the accident in an attempt to reduce their liability.
When a worker gets injured on the job, workers’ comp is meant to provide medical benefits and wage replacement as the worker recovers. In addition, this system exists to protect both workers and employers from lengthy legal battles.
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What You Need to Be Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
Here are the requirements you typically need to meet to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits:
- You must be employed by an employer who carries workers’ compensation insurance (more on that below).
- Your injury must have happened at work or while performing work-related duties.
- You must be away from work for more than seven days because of your injury to receive weekly wage benefits.
- You must meet Georgia’s deadlines for reporting your accident and filing a claim.
There can be some leeway here and there to these eligibility requirements, but don’t expect too much. It’s best that you follow and meet these requirements exactly if you want to receive any sort of benefits.
Most Atlanta Employees Must Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance
According to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC), any business with three or more workers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This includes employees who are part-time or seasonal as long as they are regular employees.
That also includes corporate officers or members of a limited liability corporation, even if those individuals opt-out of coverage under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §34-9-2.1. There are a few exceptions to the workers’ compensation laws in Georgia. The following workers are exempt from coverage requirements:
- Farm laborers
- Most railroad employees
- Domestic servants
- Government employees
- Independent contractors
If you don’t work in any of these industries, the chances are that you most likely have workers’ compensation insurance covering you. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ensure that you have coverage by looking at your employee handbook or asking your manager.
How to Know If Your Injury Qualifies for Coverage
Your injury does not necessarily have to be related to your job for you to be eligible for workers’ compensation. If it happens at work, it should be covered. You may also be covered if you were not at your typical worksite or on regular work hours but still performing duties for your job, such as:
- Traveling for a work meeting
- Running errands for your boss
- Driving a work vehicle while on the clock
- During an office holiday party
If you’re unsure whether or not your injury is covered, call a workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss the details. A lawyer will be able to examine Georgia law in relation to your situation and know what your options are.
You’ll likely not be eligible for workers’ comp benefits if your injury happens while commuting to or from work. You might also lose eligibility if your injury occurred while misbehaving or breaking the rules at work, especially if it involves violence. Again, it’s best to consult with a lawyer about your specific circumstances.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-400-4000
What If I’m Told I Don’t Have Workers’ Compensation?
Contact an Atlanta workers ‘ compensation lawyer right away if your employer says there is no workers’ compensation coverage after a work injury. Employers can face serious penalties if they are not carrying legally required coverage, and most must carry it.
If there are other conditions that your employer says make you ineligible for workers’ compensation, it’s still best to contact an experienced lawyer. Some employers and their insurance companies will look for ways to reduce what they pay on your claim. Don’t miss out on the benefits you are entitled to receive as a worker.
You Must File within a Certain Amount of Time to Be Eligible for Benefits
Even if you fully meet the qualifications for workers’ compensation through your employer, you must meet the deadlines in Georgia.
Reporting the Accident
As soon as possible after the accident happens, you should report it to your supervisor. If you wait over a month to report the work injury, you might lose any chance of receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Filing the Claim
To file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, you must fill out a WC-14 form and file it with the SBWC. You should also send a copy to your employer and the insurance company that provides their workers’ compensation.
In Georgia, you have one year from the date of your work accident to file a claim. If you can keep working after your injury or your employer is providing medical treatment for your injury, the deadline may get extended. However, it’s best to take action right away and file as soon as you can.
What You’ll Receive If You’re Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
If your injury prevents you from working for over seven days, you’re eligible for weekly earnings at two-thirds of your average regular weekly wage or up to $575 per week. The amount of time you receive this depends on the severity of your injury. Depending on the circumstances, you may qualify for up to 400 weeks of weekly benefits.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover All of My Damages?
Workers’ compensation only covers medical costs and lost pay. It won’t cover other damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you wish to receive compensation for these damages, you would need to file a third-party claim and establish that your injuries were due to the negligence of an at-fault party. There are many legal options available to you. You just need to discuss them first with a lawyer to help you understand what the best course of action is.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer?
Even though you don’t need a lawyer to file a workers’ compensation claim, it’s still in your best interest to do so, especially if the insurance company or your employer isn’t cooperating. Don’t ever find yourself in a position where you have to settle for much less than what you deserve.
Employers and insurance companies don’t have any incentive to assist you during this difficult time. Instead of bending to their preferences, you can fight to ensure that your financial compensation accurately reflects the damages you’ve suffered. Allow our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers to assist you today.
Talk to Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free
It can be difficult to determine whether or not you’re eligible for workers’ compensation. However, most employers in Georgia must carry a workers’ compensation policy, so chances are good you have access to benefits after a work injury.
John Foy & Associates can help you know for sure and ensure you are getting the full benefits you legally deserve. So give us a call today for a free consultation where we’ll discuss the details. Call or contact us online to get started.