If you or one of your co-workers incurred workplace injuries, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The best way to find out what your rights are is to consult an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer.
Until you get a chance to talk to one, some general information may come in handy. Here is a brief summary of the Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker as available on the SBWC website.
Employee Rights According to Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law
- If you incur a work-related injury, you have the right to benefit from medical care, rehabilitation, and financial support. The goal of these benefits is to help you return to work. If you die due to a work-related injury, your dependents will receive benefits as well.
- You have the right to receive emergency care from any doctor but choose one of the doctors on your employer’s list once the emergency is over. Your employer has to display the list at your workplace. They may also be under contract with one certified WC/MCO medical care provider.
- You have the right to change your doctor without the employer’s permission once, with another doctor from the list.
- The employer or their insurer will have to pay any authorized medical bills, rehabilitation, prescriptions, physical therapy, etc. They will also have to cover any necessary travel expenses. Keep in mind that their obligation only refers to work-related injuries.
- You have the right to receive income benefits every week if you need more than seven days off work. You should receive your first check by mail within 21 days from your injury or first day off work. Your first week off work will be paid if your injury prevents you from returning to work for more than 21 consecutive days.
- Workplace accidents can be catastrophic or non-catastrophic. Catastrophic injuries are those involving injuries like amputations, severe head injuries, severe paralysis, blindness, severe burns, etc. Through their nature or severity, they have to prevent the employee from performing their prior work duties and any other job available on a national level.
- For catastrophic injuries, your benefits can reach two-thirds of your average weekly wage. They cannot exceed the maximum allowed by the law for job-related injuries. The payments will continue until you are able to return to work.
- You also have the right to receive benefits for medical and vocational rehabilitation. The goal is to help you recover from your injuries and return to work faster. The value of the weekly benefits will be established by your employer.
- The weekly benefits for non-catastrophic injuries cannot exceed two-thirds of your average wage. The overall amount cannot exceed the maximum allowed by workers’ comp law for work-related injuries.
- The payments will continue for as long as you remain totally disabled but cannot exceed 400 weeks. If you are capable of performing some work for 52 or 78 aggregate weeks, your benefits will be reduced. They cannot exceed two-thirds of your average weekly wage or the legal maximum. Also, payments cannot continue for more than 350 weeks.
- If you do resume work but on a lower paying job due to your injuries, you are entitled to further benefits. These cannot exceed the maximum limit imposed by the low and can only continue for up to 350 weeks.
- If you die after being hurt on the job, your dependents will receive burial expenses and two-thirds of your average weekly wage. The law establishes clear maximum limits for these expenses and benefits. Widowed spouses with no children should receive the maximum amount allowed by the law at the time of the deceased’s workplace injury. The payments will continue until they remarry or openly cohabitates with someone of the opposite sex.
- If your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company fail to pay your benefits in time, they will pay penalties. These penalties will add up to the payments they already owe you.
At first sight, the state of Georgia seems keen on protecting its workforce. If employers complied with the law in force, you would not even have to consider working with an Atlanta, GA, workers’ compensation attorney.
Unfortunately, few employers or insurance companies will pay money out of their pocket willingly. Most of them will do everything in their power to avoid paying or pay you less than you deserve. To find out what benefits you are entitled to and make sure you obtain them, you should work with a workers’ comp lawyer in Atlanta.
Consult a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Atlanta
Whether you want to know what your rights are or you need help defending them, we are here. At Workers Compensation Lawyer Coalition, we have been handling cases like yours for years. You too can benefit from our experience. Call our law firm office now and schedule a free consultation!