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. In most situations, workers have access to benefits through insurance their employer carries, but it’s important to have all the facts. Below, we’ll cover how you can know if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation.
Although workers’ compensation is probably your legal right, you might still experience pushback from the insurance company that provides it. John Foy & Associates can help you with your workers’ comp claim and ensure you are seeking the full benefits you deserve.
To discuss your case with an experienced and compassionate workers’ comp lawyer, call us today at (404) 400-4000 or reach out online. We’ll give you a FREE consultation to get started.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation, also known as workers’ comp, is a type of insurance most employers must purchase. When a worker is injured on-the-job, workers’ comp is meant to provide medical benefits and wage replacement as the worker recovers. Workers’ comp claims are different from personal injury claims because:
- Fault does not 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.
What You Need to Be Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
Here are the requirements you typically need to meet to qualify for workers’ comp 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.
Most Atlanta Employees Must Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance
According to the Georgia 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 (Georgia Code section 34-9-2-1).
There are a few exceptions to the workers’ comp laws in Georgia. The following workers are exempt from coverage requirements:
- Farm laborers
- Most railroad employees
- Domestic servants
- Government employees
- Independent contractors
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 happened 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 happened while misbehaving or breaking rules at work, especially if it involves violence. It’s best to consult with a lawyer about your specific circumstances.
What if I’m Told I Don’t Have Workers’ Compensation?
If your employer says there is no workers’ compensation coverage after a work injury, contact an Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer right away. Employers can face serious penalties if they are not carrying coverage that is legally required—and most must carry it.
If there are other conditions that your employer says makes 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 at receiving workers’ comp 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’ comp.
In Georgia, you have one year from the date of your work accident to file a claim. If you are able to keep working after your injury or your employer is providing medical treatment for your injury, the deadline may be 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’ Comp
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 weekly. 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.
Talk to an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free
It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether or not you’re eligible for workers’ compensation. However, most employers in Georgia must carry a workers’ comp policy, so chances are good you have access to benefits after a work injury.
John Foy & Associates can help you know for sure and make sure you are getting the full benefits you legally deserve. Give us a call today for a FREE consultation where we’ll discuss the details. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started.