Workers’ compensation, or workers’ comp, is your right as an employee if you get injured at work. Through workers’ comp in Georgia, you can receive benefits like weekly payments and medical care as you recover from your injuries. Many people wonder if workers’ compensation pays your full salary while you’re away.
Here’s what you need to know.
Workers’ Compensation in Georgia Pays Two-Thirds
There is a limit to the amount of money you can receive through workers’ comp. If you are unable to work because of your injuries for at least seven days, workers’ comp should provide two-thirds of the weekly wage you were making before your accident. This falls under your temporary total disability benefits through workers’ comp.
Here’s what else you need to know about wage benefits if your injury prevents you from working:
- Although the rule is two-thirds of your regular weekly wage, benefits cap at $675 per week (as of July 1, 2019) no matter how much more you were making before.
- If you’re unable to work for 21 days straight, you will also receive payment for those first seven days you were disabled.
- You can’t receive temporary disability payments for longer than 400 weeks unless you have a catastrophic injury. (Catastrophic injuries may qualify you for life-long benefits.)
- You will continue receiving two-thirds of your full salary until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the point where your condition has improved as much as it possibly can with treatment.
What Temporary Partial Disability Pays in Georgia
If you are able to return to work but are still earning less than you did before, you have the right to temporary partial disability benefits through workers’ compensation. You will receive two-thirds of the difference between what you were earning before (on average, per week) and what you can earn after your injuries.
Here’s an example of how temporary partial disability payments would work:
- Before you were injured, you were making $1,000 per week.
- After your injury, you can only take on lighter work and earn $600 per week.
- The difference between your former weekly wage and your current wage is $400.
- Two-thirds of the $400 difference is about $267 per week.
There is also a cap on what temporary partial disability pays in Georgia. You can receive up to $450 per week (as of July 1, 2019) and may be able to get benefits for up to 350 weeks from the date you were injured.
Some employees, such as seasonal workers, may not have an accurate weekly wage to use for calculating their benefits. If this is the case for you, contact a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer. They can help you with alternative measures for calculating wages.
Other Benefits Through Workers’ Compensation in Georgia
Besides lost wage benefits, there are other benefits available to you as an injured worker. You should have access to the following.
Workers’ comp should pay for any medical care resulting from your work-related injury. Workers will need to receive medical care from an authorized medical professional listed in the workers’ compensation policy. If you are unsure who to see, contact your employer or a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Some work injuries require ongoing medical treatment, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation. These costs should be covered under workers’ compensation too.
Dependents of a worker who dies from a work-related injury can typically receive two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage. If the person was only partially dependent on the worker, they may receive less.
Surviving family members in Georgia can also receive up to $7,500 through workers’ compensation for funeral and burial expenses.
So, Does Workers’ Compensation Pay Full Salary in Georgia?
As you can see from the above information, the answer is clearly “no.” However, we find that regular payments at two-thirds of full salary help many workers support themselves (and their families) while they are away from work getting treatment. Most workers’ have the right to these workers’ compensation benefits, and, in some situations, they may need legal help to get them.
After you are hurt in an accident, you will need to file a workers’ comp claim to seek the benefits you deserve. At this point, you are dealing less with your employer and more with the insurance company providing the workers’ comp policy. Unfortunately, insurance companies will look for any opportunity to reduce what they pay on a claim.
You will need to advocate for yourself after a work injury to ensure you are getting the benefits you deserve.
How to Make Sure Workers’ Compensation Pays a Portion of Your Salary (and Other Benefits)
Here are some steps we recommend you take after a work accident where you become injured. Although your employer should help you get access to your benefits, there are situations where it becomes difficult. Make sure you are doing the following after your injury.
Report the Work Injury
After you are hurt, report the accident to your supervisor immediately. If you wait over a month to report what happened, you could lose your benefits completely. It’s best to notify your employer about the injury as soon as possible while everything is fresh in your mind.
File Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
In Georgia, injured workers will need to fill out a Form WC-14 and file it with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. You’ll also need to send a copy to your employer and insurance company that provides their workers’ comp.
Get Medical Treatment (and Follow Treatment Plans)
Your employer is legally required to provide a list of at least six doctors that you can choose from for your treatment. You should only see one of these authorized physicians. Otherwise, your medical costs may not be covered.
If your injuries are life-threatening and you are required to get emergency medical treatment, the number one priority is your well-being. In most cases, emergency costs will be covered even if you see another licensed physician.
Also, make sure you are following all treatment plans as outlined by your doctor. Failure to keep up with your treatment may result in you losing certain benefits.
Keep Track of Missed Work Time
Record all of the time that you must miss work because of your work injuries—beginning with the first day. You will need this information if you are entitled to weekly wages.
Call a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
It’s a smart move to also call an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Georgia. It’s all-too-common for insurance companies or employers to deny a worker’s claim. A lawyer can make sure your rights are upheld and that you’re doing everything you can to support yourself.
Talk to a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free Today
Don’t miss out on the full workers’ compensation benefits that are your legal right in Georgia—including two-thirds of your full salary. John Foy & Associates can help. We have 20 plus years of experience assisting injured workers. Call us today for a FREE consultation and case evaluation at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.