7 Things You Need to Know About Workers Compensation in Georgia

If you get injured at work in Georgia, you’re going to need to file a claim for worker’s compensation. This is your only remedy. You can’t file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer with a worker’s compensation lawyer. The only way to get compensation for your injuries is to pursue your worker’s comp claim.

If your claim is approved, you’ll be entitled to three things:

  • Medical care
  • Replacement wages until you’re able to return to work
  • Disability benefits if you are not able to return to work

Aside from these three things, you aren’t entitled to additional compensation. It’s not like a personal injury lawsuit where you can demand millions in pain and suffering. Since a lot of people are confused about how the worker’s comp laws work in Atlanta, we wanted to give a brief highlight here. We’ll discuss 7 of the most common questions workers comp lawyers in Atlanta are asked by their clients. If you have further questions or have suffered a recent workplace injury, call and talk to an experienced workers comp lawyer in Atlanta right away.

How Long Do Your Benefits Last?

If your worker’s comp claim is approved, you’ll only be entitled to temporary benefits for a certain period of time. Generally speaking, you can collect benefits for 400 weeks. This is about 7-8 years. During this time, if you’re still injured, you’ll be eligible to collect up to $575 per week. However, once you’ve recovered from your injuries, you will be expected to return to work.

A man on a computer filing a worker's comp claim.

Can’t You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Instead?

This is a question a lot of our clients ask. It doesn’t seem fair that you can’t file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. In Georgia, however, this is the law. Your only remedy for a work-related injury is to file a claim under worker’s compensation. The only time you can file a lawsuit is if you wish to pursue a third-party. For example, if you were hurt at work because of faulty equipment, you can file a separate lawsuit against the manufacturer or supplier of the equipment. But you cannot name your employer in the lawsuit. 

Can You Choose Your Own Doctor?

If you get hurt at work, you do have to see a company approved doctor. Most companies have at least 6 doctors you can choose from. In order to be entitled to benefits, you do need to be treated by one of these doctors. In Georgia, employers are required to offer at least 6 doctors to choose from. If you go to a doctor that isn’t on the list, your benefits may be denied.  

Can You Collect Pain and Suffering?

Unlike with a personal injury lawsuit, you’re not allowed to collect pain and suffering in workers comp. The only benefits you’ll receive is medical treatment and replacement wages. Unfortunately, if you experience a lot of pain and suffering, you cannot demand compensation from your employer.

Can You Collect Benefits After You’re Fired?

A lot of people may tell you that your employer can’t fire you if you’re collecting worker’s comp benefits. This isn’t true. Georgia is an at-will state. This means that your company can fire you for any reason they want. They can even fire you for no reason at all. This means that they can still fire you even if you’re collecting workers comp. However, in most cases, you’ll continue to receive your worker’s comp benefits until you’re able to return to work.

Can You File a Workers Compensation Claim in Georgia if You Were Responsible for Your Accident?

Some people think that they aren’t entitled to workers comp if their injuries were their fault. For example, if you were negligent and got hurt at work, you may still be able to collect worker’s comp benefits. As long as you weren’t engaged in willful misconduct, you will probably still be eligible for benefits. You shouldn’t expect to receive benefits in the following situations:

  • You were high or drunk at the time of your accident
  • You were fighting or engaged in horseplay
  • You were violating company policy at the time of your injuries

Can You Settle Your Case?

Not only are you allowed to settle your case, you’re encouraged to do so. Neither side wants the case to drag out, especially for 400 weeks. Your worker’s comp attorney in Atlanta will work hard to negotiate a lump-sum settlement for your case. 

If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident, call our office right away. Schedule your free consultation so you can find out if you have a valid claim.