Workers compensation benefits are designed to take effect quickly. They apply to any medical expenses related to a workplace injury, and provide a portion of your wages while you recover from your accident. In exchange for these benefits, workers are generally not permitted to go outside the workers comp system to recover money. That means that you are somewhat limited in the damages you can claim against your employer—but the benefits that are available are crucial for Norcross workers and their families. When an employer or an insurance company denies you benefits that you deserve, don’t let them. Get a Norcross workers compensation lawyer to step in to help.
Over the past 20 years, John Foy & Associates has helped thousands of workers who have been through work accidents just like yours. Our team works hard to get you the benefits you are entitled to under the Georgia workers compensation system. If your employer or their insurance company tells you that you shouldn’t get benefits, don’t take their word for it! And never accept less benefits than you truly need. Talk to our team to see if you have other options to get you a financial recovery. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How much should I be getting for workers compensation benefits?
The benefits that a worker receives will vary depending on a number of factors. Perhaps the most important thing is how much you were making before you work injury. The weekly benefits that you receive are based on your “average weekly wage.” In many cases, you can simply add up the amount of money you made for the 13 weeks before the injury. Then, divide that number by 13. That is your average weekly wage. Generally, your benefit amount will be based on two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
There are quite a few exceptions and nuances to this rule, but taking the average will generally give you a reasonable estimate to start. Your benefit rate is subject to certain minimums and maximums that are adjusted periodically as well. Until July 2018, for example, the maximum weekly benefit rate is $575.00 per week. This cap won’t affect quite a few people, but it can be harder on those who are used to a much higher income.
As a bonus, you do not normally have to pay taxes on this income.
What types of benefits are available in workers compensation?
There are several types of weekly benefits that workers in the City of Norcross may be entitled to receive. These include:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits. These are the benefits that you receive while you are completely unable to return to work while you recover from your work injury. In most cases, you get these benefits because your doctor has told you that you cannot work for some period of time. Once your doctor releases you to go back to work, then your TTD benefits will stop.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits. In some situations, your doctor will release to you to “light duty” work. For example, if you are a welder with a shoulder injury, you likely cannot return to welding right away after shoulder surgery. But, you could work in the office doing paperwork for awhile while you recover. This is “light duty” work. Your employer provides you with work that meets your medical restrictions. Sometimes light duty work does not pay as well as your regular job—or the employer cannot give you a full-time position doing light duty work. In those situations, you will receive less in pay than you would if you were back to work full time.
If the amount that you earn for your employer is less than two-thirds of your average weekly wage, then workers comp will pay for the difference between what you are making and your benefit rate. In some cases, the employer may not be able to provide you with light duty work at all. In those situations, your TTD benefits should continue until you are ready to go back to the job that you had before the accident.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits. In some cases, your work injury will cause damages that will affect you for the rest of your life. You may not be able to lift things as heavy as you once could, or your mobility may not be as good, for example. In those cases, you should be able to recover permanent partial disability benefits. These benefits are awarded based on a specific formula that a doctor will use. The doctor will provide you with a functional impairment rating. That rating is a percentage that represents your disability that resulted from the work injury. That percentage then translates into a specific number of weeks that you should get benefits. In many cases, the employer will pay those benefits out weekly until they run out. In other situations, they may pay them as a lump sum at one time.
You can also get benefits if you are unable to work at all after your work injury. In Georgia, those benefits won’t continue for the rest of your life, but you can get up to 300 weeks of benefits, which is almost six years’ worth of weekly benefits. At that point, you may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, which can be lifelong.
In addition to these weekly benefits, you may also be entitled to receive:
- Payments for medical expenses
- Mileage reimbursement for travel for medical care
- Vocational rehabilitation if you can’t return to your previous position
- Death benefits for families whose loved ones were killed on the job
- Funeral expenses to cover burial costs for a loved one
What you will not get out of workers compensation is any additional benefits for pain and suffering. This damage is often significant in personal injury cases that are settled or go to court, but it is not available in workers compensation claims. But, if another person caused your accident or injury, you could have a third-party complaint against that other entity. This is common in situations that involve vehicle accidents or in defective product cases. It can also apply in situations where contractors from multiple companies were working together, or where you’re working at a job site not owned by your employer.
Figuring out the exact types of damages you can recover is complicated, and it helps to talk to a lawyer.
Talk to a Norcross Workers Compensation Lawyer for Free
Is your employer or their insurance company telling you that you shouldn’t get benefits for your work injury? You may still be able to get money—don’t let a “no” stop you. Unfortunately, employers’ insurance companies often deny workers benefits when they should be getting them. Get an experienced attorney to examine your situation and determine if you should be getting workers compensation benefits and how much those benefits should be. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.