If you are hurt on the job, workers’ compensation may provide benefits to help you recover and return to work. You might be wondering just how much workers’ compensation will pay you in Georgia. Below, we’ll discuss what you can expect based on your situation.
What to Know About Workers’ Compensation in Georgia
In Georgia, any business with three or more regular workers is required to carry workers’ compensation (also known simply as workers’ comp) insurance, according to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC). Most employers will be very careful to follow these guidelines. Failure to carry required workers’ comp coverage is a misdemeanor crime.
Workers’ comp was designed to provide you with benefits after a work-related injury accident. Those benefits include:
- Paying for medical costs
- Access to certain physicians or hospitals
- Supplemental income as you recover.
- Rehabilitation support
- Benefits for your dependents (if you are killed in a workplace accident)
Workers’ compensation is your right as a worker in Georgia. Unfortunately, many workers find themselves fighting for the pay they deserve. Sometimes the employer makes it difficult for you, but many times, it’s the insurance company that doesn’t want to pay out what you deserve.
Insurance Companies May Try to Reduce Workers’ Comp Benefits
Insurance companies will look for any opportunity to reduce an injury victim’s claim. They might use tactics like:
- Trying to say your accident wasn’t as serious as you claim
- Claiming your injury happened outside of work and therefore does not qualify
- Sending you to a medical professional who does not have your best interests in mind
- Intimidating you into taking fewer benefits than you actually deserve
The above reasons are why we encourage injured workers to seek solace in an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer. A workers’ comp lawyer can look at the facts and make sure you are receiving the benefits you truly deserve.
Fault Does Not Matter in a Workers’ Comp Claim
Unlike a Georgia personal injury claim where fault is everything, in a workers’ comp claim, it doesn’t matter who caused the accident. This is known as a “no-fault” system. Workers’ compensation laws are set up this way for two main reasons:
- To protect employers from expensive lawsuits and
- To give injured employees access to benefits without having to prove fault against their employee
In most situations, workers’ comp benefits are your right no matter how the accident happened—as long as it happened at work. The only exceptions are if your injuries resulted from willful misconduct, such as the use of drugs, alcohol, or fighting.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Pay to Georgia Employees?
If you are not able to work after your work-related injury (or an illness), workers’ comp should pay you either temporary total disability benefits or partial disability benefits. These are meant to replace some of the income you lose because of your injuries.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits in Georgia
If your work-related injury prevents you from working for at least seven days, you’re entitled to temporary total disability benefits. These benefits are paid at two-thirds of the average weekly wage you were earning before your accident—or up to $675 per week as of July 1, 2019. There is also a minimum of $50 per week if you earned more than that.
You can receive temporary total disability benefits for up to 400 weeks or until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is the point at which your injury or illness has reached the highest form of recovery or improvement possible. The only exceptions are “catastrophic injuries” that are very serious, such as the loss of a limb.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits in Georgia
Some work-related accidents will leave you still able to work—but at a lower capacity than before. You still have the right to temporary partial disability benefits in the situation. These benefits are provided at two-thirds of the difference between the average weekly wages you made before your accident and the weekly wages you can earn after the accident.
For temporary partial disability, you can receive up to $450 per week as of July 1, 2019. You may also receive them for up to 350 weeks from the date you were injured.
What if a Disability Is Permanent?
A doctor will evaluate your situation once you’ve reached your MMI. They will determine whether you have a permanent disability. If you do, they’ll determine how disabled you are based on the area of your body that is affected.
There are two types of permanent disabilities under workers’ compensation in Georgia:
- Permanent total disability
- Permanent partial disability
If you are determined to have a permanent total disability, you may be able to receive lifetime weekly payments at two-thirds of what you were previously earning.
When you have a permanent partial disability, you are eligible to receive the same amount of benefits but for a limited period of time. The amount of time you’ll receive the benefits depends on the percentage of your disability. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help figure these numbers based on your specific situation.
Other Expenses Paid By Georgia Workers’ Compensation
Besides providing income benefits after a work-related injury, workers’ comp pays for medical costs up to 400 weeks. To receive these benefits, you must see a physician authorized by your employer’s workers’ compensation policy. Your employer should provide you with a list of treating physicians to choose from, and they should make this easily accessible to you.
Other benefits provided by workers’ compensation include:
- Mileage reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments
- Death benefits (up to $270,000) and funeral benefits (up to $7,500) provided to dependents after an employee dies in a work-related accident
If you have any concerns about receiving the full workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, contact a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. They can make sure your rights are upheld through every step of the process.
Talk to a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free Today
Workers’ comp should be your right as an injured worker—but it’s rarely as straightforward as it should be. At John Foy & Associates, we can help. We’ve been making sure injured workers receive the benefits they need and deserve for over 20 years. Contact us today for a FREE consultation where we’ll discuss how we can help.
To get started with your FREE consultation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.