Most people make it through their entire lives without ever suffering a workplace accident. If you’re not one of these lucky people, then you probably already know how frustrating the workers’ compensation process can be. You can follow your company’s workplace accident policy to the letter. Yet you still can’t get any straight answers. This is when it’s time to reach out to an experienced Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer.
Our attorneys know how to cut through the red tape and get answers about your claim. It could be a matter of your employer trying to determine what your average weekly wages (AWW) are. Or they may be investigating your claim to see if it’s legitimate.
You would think they would trust you, especially if you’ve worked there for years (or even decades). Unfortunately, workers’ compensation insurance matters have nothing to do with how dependable an employee you are. It is all about business. Dollars and cents trump loyalty nine times out of ten.
Here, we’ll discuss the requirements you must meet to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Then we’ll explain what these benefits are. Finally, we’ll describe the process by which your employer and their insurance company determine your AWW. If you still have questions about your own workers’ comp case, feel free to contact us directly. We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation.
To Receive Benefits, You Must First Qualify for Atlanta Workers’ Comp
Just because you were involved in a workplace accident, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically guaranteed workers’ compensation benefits. Your Georgia injury lawyer will have to first demonstrate that you meet the requirements for workers’ compensation in Georgia.
Some of the basic criteria for qualifying for workers’ compensation in Georgia require the following:
- You must have been involved in a workplace accident that took place on company time and on company property.
- If you work remotely, you must show that you were operating within the scope of your normal employment at the time of your accident or injury.
- You must report your injuries to Human Resources or your manager immediately.
- You must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
- You must agree to submit to a drug test if required by your employer.
- You have to agree to be treated by a state-approved Georgia workers’ compensation doctor.
- You must actively participate in your medical treatment.
- You cannot work at a second job while collecting workers’ comp benefits (unless your primary employer and insurance carrier are aware of it).
Now, we understand that this list may seem overwhelming. That’s why we recommend you meet with one of our Atlanta workers’ comp lawyers sooner rather than later. Once your attorney can demonstrate that you meet these criteria, your claim will likely be approved.
What Exactly Are the Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Georgia?
For the most part, regardless of where you live, the workers’ compensation benefits are the same. The only differences are in how much your weekly benefits will be and how long you can collect benefits. In Georgia, when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits, there is good news and bad news.
The bad news is that the most you can receive per week in replacement wage benefits is $675. The good news is that you can collect these benefits for up to 400 weeks if need be. Of course, very few claims ever last that long. Either our clients go back to work after a few weeks or months, or they settle their case at some point. But it’s good to know that the benefits are there for you if you need them.
How Does Your Employer Calculate Your Weekly Benefits?
In order to know how much you’ll receive per week in workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia, your employer will need to look at your past wages. Under workers’ compensation, you are entitled to receive 2/3 of your average weekly wages (AWW). In most cases, our clients have been with their employer for at least a year.
What their employer does is take their last 52 weeks’ worth of wages and total them up. Then they divide them by 52. Whatever that amount happens to be, it is multiplied by .667. This is the amount you’ll receive every week. Now, if that amount happens to be greater than $675, you’re out of luck. That is the maximum you are allowed to receive per week.
One important thing your Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer will look for is to make sure your employer includes all of your wages when they do their AWW calculations. This includes any and all of the following:
- Wages and regular income
- Wages and regular income from any second or third jobs you may have
- Tips, bonuses, and commissions you earn at your primary job
- The financial value of any other perks such as paid parking, car payment, tuition payments, etc.
If for some reason, your employer doesn’t include these things, your Georgia injury lawyer will reach out to them. If they refuse to make the correction, your attorney will file an appeal and reach out to the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Trust Your Atlanta Workers’ Comp Lawyer to be on Your Side
The only way for your Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer to get the best possible outcome is if you trust them. Our associates have decades of combined experience handling workers’ compensation cases. As long as you’re upfront and honest about your situation from the start, your attorney will have the best opportunity to get you the benefits you deserve.
We typically suggest that our clients come in for their free, initial consultation before they’ve even filed their workers’ compensation claim. This way, we can make sure your claim is handled properly from the start. It also lets your employer and their insurance company know that you’re represented by a seasoned Georgia injury lawyer.
They won’t be able to take advantage of you like they do so many other workers. The other benefit of hiring us early in the process is that you don’t have to worry about your company’s Human Resources department or the insurance adjuster contacting you at all hours to ask questions about your claim. Once we notify them that we represent you, all communications must come through our office,
We recommend that you call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation on the same day as your workplace accident if possible. If not, try to do so in the next few days. The sooner we get the claim filed, the sooner you can hope to start receiving your workers’ compensation benefits.