Workers compensation is a set of benefits guaranteed to all workers, regardless of what job you’re in. It’s essentially an insurance policy that your employer is required by law to carry. When any employee is injured on the job, the workers comp coverage pays for 100% of their medical costs.
If you are injured while working, workers comp is your right. In Georgia, workers help pay for workers comp coverage through payroll deductions. That means that you have already paid for the benefits you receive; it is not a “handout” and it does not require any lawsuit against your employer.
Employers are not allowed to penalize you for filing a workers comp claim. You cannot be fired, mistreated at work or passed over for a raise because of it. In fact, you should not view your claim as adversarial at all; it will be paid by an insurance company, not by your employer, and your own wages helped buy the policy.
What costs does workers comp cover? Does it pay me cash?
Workers comp covers all costs related to your workplace injury, including:
- Medical care such as doctor appointments, hospital stays, surgery and physical therapy
- Medication costs
- Travel costs in the form of a mileage reimbursement to go to pharmacies, doctors, etc.
Additionally, if you have to miss work time because of your injury, workers comp will pay you a cash benefit that is meant to partially replace your lost wages. The exact benefit depends on whether you are totally or partially disabled from working, and whether the disability is temporary or permanent. You should expect the cash benefit to be lower than your normal wage, but it is also tax-free.
Who is covered by workers comp?
All employees are covered from the first day on the job. Although we see most workers comp claims in the construction industry, workers comp applies to literally all businesses.
Independent contractors are generally not covered by workers comp, but there are some exceptions.
What kinds of injuries are covered? Does it have to happen on the employer’s premises?
Any kind of injury that happens while working is covered. It does not have to be the employer’s fault. If you trip on the steps and sprain your wrist, you’re covered.
Most workers comp claims happen on the premises of the workplace itself, but valid claims can happen in other situations:
- Working at a third party location, such as a meeting at a client’s office
- Delivering goods for your company
- Running a work-required errand off premises
- Telecommuting or taking a work phone call while off the premises
- Traveling for work
In most cases, injuries that happen while commuting are not covered, but injuries that happen in an employer-owned parking lot, or on any other premises owned by the employer, are covered.
Do I need a lawyer to pursue a worker’s comp claim?
In Georgia you are not allowed to sue your employer over a workplace injury, and the workers comp process is supposed to happen smoothly. However, insurance companies and employers may work together to minimize your injury or steer your toward less care than you may believe you need. We strongly recommend you speak to a lawyer about any workers compensation case or construction accident claim.
Have you been injured? John Foy & Associates offers a free consultation with some of the most experienced and respected personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.