Every employer in Forest Park with three or more regular workers is required to provide workers compensation benefits. If you were hurt while on-the-job, you should have access to these benefits, which include medical care and wages while you are getting better. Sadly, it’s often harder to get the full compensation you deserve. A Forest Park workers compensation can step in to make sure your rights are protected.
Many employees worry their employers don’t have their best interests in mind after a work injury. They may also face pushback from the insurance company covering the worker’s comp benefits. At John Foy & Associates, we have seen it all—and we know what it takes to ensure workers get the full benefits they deserve. If you need help with your worker’s comp claim, contact us today for a FREE consultation. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started.
How to Know if You Are Entitled to Workers’ Compensation in Forest Park
Almost all workers in Forest Park are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. As mentioned above, a business with three or more employees must carry a worker’s comp policy. If the business is incorporated, officers also count as employees under workers’ compensation laws—even if those officers choose to be exempt from coverage.
If your employer fits the above criteria, you are entitled to benefits if you are hurt while on-the-job or while performing actions beneficial to your employer. It doesn’t matter who was at fault for your injury. With worker’s compensation claims, fault is not even considered. If you were hurt at work or while working, you are likely covered.
Proof You Need to Receive Benefits
When filing a workers compensation claim for benefits, you will need to show that:
- You were a regular worker for your employer at the time you were injured
- Your employer has workers compensation insurance
- The injury happened at work (or you have a work-related illness)
Your employer should be upfront with you about how to receive benefits after an injury. However, sometimes this doesn’t occur. You may need to ask your employer about your options. Make sure you understand the terms of medical care under workers comp before pursuing a treatment plan, as you will need to see specific providers who are covered under the policy.
What to Do If Your Employer Says They Don’t Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance
It’s surprisingly common for employers to not carry workers compensation—even when they are legally required to do so. This is a serious offense. Your employer may be breaking the law. You should not be denied the rights you are legally entitled to receive.
If your employer won’t speak with you about workers comp, says they don’t carry it, or is making it hard for you to access benefits, you can report them to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC). We also recommend calling an experienced workers compensation lawyer in Forest Park immediately.
An attorney can help investigate and advise you on what to do next. In this situation, a lawyer may also be able to help you get more money for your injuries than with workers’ compensation alone.
Penalties for Not Carrying Workers’ Comp Insurance
There are both civil and criminal penalties for failing to carry workers’ compensation in Forest Park. The SBWC investigates businesses that may be noncompliant. If they find an employer has not been carrying workers comp when they should have been, penalties include:
- A fine of between $100 and $1,000 per violation of workers comp regulations
- Fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 per false statement made to the Board
- Penalties of between $500 and $5,000 per violation of failing to provide legally-required insurance coverage
- A misdemeanor carrying between $1,000 and $10,000 in fines and/or up to a year in prison if the employer is found guilty of intentionally not maintaining or refusing to maintain workers comp coverage
An employer who fails to provide workers comp coverage will also be responsible for paying the employee for injuries as if the insurance had been in place. This may include the civil penalties above as well as lawyer fees and more.
Don’t let your employer tell you that no benefits are available without an explanation. Contact a lawyer who has experience with worker’s compensation cases.
When Workers’ Compensation Can Be Legally Denied
There are some situations where employers can deny coverage to an employee after an injury, as outlined in Georgia Code § 34-9-17. An employee may not get compensation if their injury was a result of:
- Willful misconduct, such as from intentionally harmful oneself, getting hurt while trying to hurt someone else or being injured after refusing to use a safety appliance correctly
- Being under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or a controlled substance unless the substance was lawfully prescribed for them by a doctor
If your employer or the insurance company tries to claim you were hurt under one of these situations when it’s not true, contact a Forest Park workers compensation lawyer.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations
Typically, you have one year from the date of your injury to file a workers’ comp claim. You can file a claim by completing a WC-14 form and submitting it to the Georgia SBWC.
If you are receiving disability benefits and become injured at work, you have two years from the date your benefits ended to file your claim. To file a claim for reimbursement of medical bills and mileage, you have one year from the date treatment ends to submit those bills to your employer or the workers’ comp insurance company.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Forest Park for Free
Workers’ compensation should be simple: If you were injured at work, you are entitled to benefits. But many cases become complicated if your employer or the insurance company isn’t helpful. This doesn’t mean you should give up.
At John Foy & Associates, we believe every worker should receive the full benefits they are eligible for after a work injury. Many of our clients find their claim is worth a lot more than they thought. To schedule a FREE consultation and case evaluation with the best lawyer for your situation, contact us today. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation.