After being injured in a work-related accident in Georgia, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. Workers’ compensation benefits provide coverage for medical costs and pay a portion of your average weekly wages until you can return to work.
You might wonder how long you can receive workers’ compensation in Georgia after an injury. The answer depends on the details of your injuries. A personal injury lawyer in Georgia can help you with the process.
All Georgia Employees Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
All businesses and companies with three or more employees must have readily available workers’ compensation insurance. This is the law, and not having workers’ compensation can mean harsh penalties for any business. If you’re an employee, the chances that you’re covered just in case of an injury are very high.
Workers’ compensation isn’t concerned about who was at fault for your injury. As long as you sustained an injury while on the job, you can receive benefits. Don’t hesitate to notify your employer of your injuries quickly. If you wait too long, you put your chances of getting fair compensation at risk.
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Receiving Weekly Wages through Georgia Workers’ Compensation
If you cannot return to work for over seven days because of your work-related injury, you can receive two-thirds of the weekly wages you were making before your injury. This amount gets capped at $575 per week. Depending on the details of your work injury, you may be able to receive wage benefits for up to 400 weeks.
Sometimes, a worker is able to return to work but at a reduced capacity. You may still be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits if your injury prevents you from working at the same level as before. These benefits may be provided for up to 350 weeks.
For How Long Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?
Exactly how long you can receive workers’ compensation in Georgia depends on factors like:
- The seriousness of your injury
- How it impacts your ability to work, and
- Whether or not you are disabled from your injury
In situations where you are permanently disabled because of your injury, you may be able to receive weekly wages for life.
Suppose you are worried about receiving the full benefits you deserve, or you experience pushback from your employer or their insurance company. In that case, it’s best to work with a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer for help. According to Georgia law, they can make sure your rights as an injured worker are protected.
Medical Benefits through Georgia Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation should also cover your medical costs for a work-related injury. You can receive these benefits for as long as you require treatment – until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is the point at which your condition cannot be further improved through medical intervention.
The amount of time you can receive medical benefits depends on how long it takes to fully treat your injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance companies may try to reduce how much they actually payout for your medical benefits, so be wary and reach out to a workers’ compensation if you need help.
Make Sure You See the Right Doctor(s)
Georgia employers providing workers’ compensation must give a panel of at least six physicians to choose from for treatment of your injuries, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §34-9-201.
It’s crucial that you only see authorized medical professionals for treatment. Otherwise, your medical costs may not be covered through your employer’s workers’ compensation policy. If you feel your treating physician is biased or not taking your injuries seriously enough, contact a trusted workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits While Unemployed
Georgia is an employment “at-will” state, meaning employers can fire an employee at any time, for any reason, or without cause at all. This can be scary for an injured employee, as they might worry that their employer will let them go to avoid a workers’ compensation claim. However, employers are not legally allowed to fire an employee as retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
While an employee can be fired while on workers’ compensation, they cannot get fired simply because they filed a claim or received workers’ compensation. If this happens to you, you likely have cause for legal action and should reach out to a workers’ comp lawyer.
Also, you can generally continue receiving workers’ compensation benefits even if you are fired from your job while on them. So most of the time, it’s actually up to your doctor to dictate when you can return to work and no longer require assistance.
How to Make Sure You Receive Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits
As you can see from the above information, how long you can receive workers’ compensation depends on the nature of your injuries and how long it takes you to return to work. However, you will need to take the correct form of action to begin receiving benefits in the first place.
After a work injury, you must:
- Report the accident to your supervisor right away. You will not be entitled to any benefits unless you have reported the accident under OCGA §34-9-80.
- Get medical care as soon as possible, making sure you see an authorized physician whose name is provided by your employer.
- Follow all instructions for treatment as prescribed by your doctor. If you fail to do this, you may lose some or all of your benefits.
If your employer tells you there is no workers’ compensation available, contact a lawyer immediately. Unless they have less than three regular employees, they will probably carry workers’ compensation insurance. You may have grounds to pursue legal action against your employer.
How Soon You Can Expect to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits
You generally have one year from the date of your work injury to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you’re unable to work for more than seven days, you are entitled to begin receiving benefits. The first check should be mailed to you within 21 days from the first day you missed work.
When you can return to work, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your benefits will stop. You might be forced to take on a less demanding job because of your injuries. If this is the case, you will be eligible for reduced benefits for up to 350 weeks, depending on the details.
The Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation in Georgia
According to OCGA §34-9-82, the statute of limitations in a Georgia workers’ compensation case is one year. That means you have only a year to contact a lawyer, prepare your workers’ compensation claim, and file it.
Because evidence and memory fade, though, you shouldn’t wait that long. You should get in touch with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Georgia as soon as you can so you can start getting your compensation ASAP.
Get Help from a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Even though workers’ compensation claims don’t go to court, that doesn’t mean a lawyer can’t assist you. There have been plenty of cases where the insurance company or the employer refuses to cooperate with the injured employee. One of our workers’ compensation lawyers will assist you in various ways:
- Gathering evidence related to your workplace injury and presenting them.
- Talking to witnesses who saw your accident and getting their statement.
- Helping you find quality medical care that shows the severity of your injury.
- Negotiating for fair compensation from either your employer or the insurance company.
- Providing you with information on all the legal options available for your claim.
Even if it may seem like your employer or the insurance company is on your side, it doesn’t hurt to consult with a lawyer in a free case review. Remember, our goal is to ensure that you win the maximum amount possible for your settlement. We don’t get paid at all unless you get the compensation you deserve.
Talk to Our Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free
Workers’ compensation is your likely right as a regular employee in Georgia. That includes part-time, full-time, and seasonal employees. Make sure you are getting the full benefits you deserve after a work injury by contacting John Foy & Associates today. We’ll start with a free consultation to discuss the details of your case and how we can help.