If you’re employed, you are likely covered by workers’ compensation through your employer. Workers’ compensation should provide benefits after a work injury to cover your medical costs and provide wages if you are unable to return to work for at least seven days. However, to receive the benefits you deserve, you’ll need to know what to do if you’re injured at work.
Below are the steps you should take after a work injury to protect your legal rights to workers’ compensation.
Notify Your Supervisor of Your Injury
The most vital step after a work injury is to notify your employer immediately. There’s a reason this step is in all caps in the Georgia Code (O.C.G.A. Title 34 Appx. Bd. Work. Comp. r. 61)—it’s required for you to be able to receive your benefits. If you fail to notify your employer of your injury within 30 days of the accident, you can lose all rights to workers’ compensation.
Make sure you tell the person who is in charge, such as a supervisor or foreman, about your accident—and make sure the report is in writing. Your employer should also provide free forms that allow you to report accidents and posted information about workers’ compensation.
It will be your employer’s responsibility to file a claim with the insurance company providing the workers’ comp, but they can’t do this until you let them know what happened.
Notifying Your Employer of Any Changes
Sometimes, you might have a workplace accident but not realize until later that you’re injured. If this happens, let your employer know as soon as you notice any injuries—including if your injuries get worse.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
To file a claim, you’ll need to:
- Complete a Form WC-14
- File the form with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation
- And send a copy to your employer and the insurance company providing their workers’ compensation policy
After you have reported your injury to your employer, they will also need to complete a Form WC-1 and submit it to the insurance company.
See the Right Doctor
After an injury accident, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If medical attention is not an emergency, you should wait until you know if there are certain doctors you should see. Employers will typically provide a list of doctors that are covered under the workers’ compensation policy.
If you see a doctor chosen by your employer but aren’t satisfied with the visit, you might want to seek a second opinion. This could mean going to a doctor who is not covered under the workers’ compensation plan, but it might be worth it if you feel your injuries are more serious than what the first doctor reported.
It’s best to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer, as they can help you decide what to do if your injuries aren’t being taken seriously.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
After you have reported the accident, you might want to schedule a consultation with a trusted lawyer who regularly handles workers’ compensation cases in your area. They can help you with each step of the process, including filing your claim and knowing which medical professionals to see.
Insurance companies are often difficult during the claim process, even with workers’ compensation cases. You might get an offer that is not going to fully cover the damages you now face.
A lawyer can help you negotiate for a settlement that will actually cover your costs. They can also help you calculate just how much the work injury will cost you so you understand how much your case is worth.
Attend Any Necessary Hearings
If you are not satisfied with what the workers’ compensation insurance company offers you after your work injury, you and your lawyer may request a hearing conducted by a Judge of the State Board of Worker’s Compensation. Most workers comp cases are settled before you need to attend the hearing, but sometimes, it’s best to proceed.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free Today
If you become injured at work, you should do the above steps to protect your rights and give you the best chance at fair compensation. At John Foy & Associates, we can support you every step of the way and make sure you don’t get taken advantage of during the process.
Our lawyers have been helping injured workers get the compensation they deserve for over 20 years. We can help you too, starting with a FREE consultation. Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation today.