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 are provided to cover 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.
Receiving Weekly Wages Through Georgia Workers’ Comp
If you are unable to 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 is 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’ comp benefits if your injury prevents you from working at the same level as before. These benefits may be provided for up to 350 weeks.
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.
If you are worried about receiving the full benefits you deserve—or you experience pushback from your employer or their insurance company—it’s best to work with a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer for help. They can make sure your rights as an injured worker are protected according to Georgia law.
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’ comp 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 provide a panel of at least six physicians to choose from for treatment of your injuries, according to Georgia Code § 34-9-201.
It’s very important that you only see authorized medical professionals for treatment. Otherwise, your medical costs may not be covered through your employer’s workers’ comp policy. If you feel as if your treating physician is biased or not taking your injuries seriously enough, contact a trusted workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
Is How Long I Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits Affected if I Get Fired?
Georgia is an employment “at-will” state, meaning employers can fire an employee at any time, for any reason, or without reason 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’ comp claim. However, employers are not legally allowed to fire an employee as retaliation for the filing of a workers’ comp claim.
While an employee can be fired while on workers’ comp, they cannot be fired simply because they filed a claim or are receiving 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 still continue receiving workers’ compensation benefits even if you are fired from your job while on them. Most of the time, it’s actually up to your doctor to dictate when you are able to return to work and no longer require assistance.
How to Make Sure You Receive Your Workers’ Comp 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 (Georgia Code § 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 are probably required to carry workers’ comp 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 are able to 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.
Talk to a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free Today
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 at (404) 400-4000. We’ll start with a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your case and how we can help. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started now.