What Do I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Aren’t the Right Amount?

If you suffer a workplace accident, there’s a good chance you’ll be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This includes medical care, vocational rehabilitation, and weekly replacement wages. If your benefits aren’t the right amount, it’s in your best interest to call one of our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers.

Workers’ Compensation Claimants in Georgia Are Entitled to Three Types of Benefits

If you are injured on the job, your workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta will have to prove that you qualify for workers’ compensation. Once they’ve done this, you should start receiving your weekly benefits.

In Georgia, you don’t qualify for weekly benefits until you’ve missed seven (7) days from work. This is counted in calendar days. Once you miss your eighth day, your benefits will kick in. Of course, it will be another week or so before you start receiving any money.

Once you receive your first benefits check, let your Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer know if it’s for the right amount. If not, they’ll have to reach out to your employer immediately.

Medical Coverage for Your Work-Related Injuries

You’re entitled to medical care under Georgia workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp will only cover treatment for your work-related injuries. If you had a pre-existing condition, it will not be covered by workers comp insurance.

You’ll also be covered for any other medical expenses. For example, any necessary prescriptions should be covered. The same is true for doctors’ copays and durable medical equipment.

If you’re being told to pay for these out-of-pocket, make sure your Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer is made aware.

Weekly Replacement Wages

In addition to medical coverage, you’ll also be entitled to weekly replacement wages. These benefits will be equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages. For example, if you normally earn $1,000 per week, you’ll be entitled to $666 while under workers’ compensation.

It’s important to keep in mind that there is a limit to how much you can receive. As your workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta will explain, the cap on workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia for 2023 is $725 per week.

The question you may have is – what income is supposed to be used when calculating your workers’ compensation benefits?

Vocational Rehabilitation

For those workers who become disabled after their workplace accident, they may need vocational rehabilitation. This consists of various programs that can help you find a job in a different field.

Some of the benefits of vocational rehabilitation include:

  • Resume building skills
  • Career counseling
  • Interviewing skills
  • Possible training for a different job or career

Most of the clients our workers’ compensation attorneys in Atlanta represent do not need these services. However, it’s nice to know that these benefits are available to you if you do need them.

your workers' comp lawyer will calculate your benefits

Your Weekly Benefits Should Be Equal to Two-Thirds of Your Average Weekly Wages

As stated above, your weekly benefits under workers’ compensation will be equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages. Your employer is required to submit your payroll information to the insurance carrier.

The insurance adjuster will then determine how much your benefits are supposed to be. They can only go off the information provided to them by your employer. If your human resources department doesn’t provide them with accurate payroll information, your benefits may be for the wrong amount.

Your Benefits Will Be Calculated Based on Your Last 52 Weeks’ Wages

Your employer is supposed to take your last fifty-two (52) weeks’ worth of wages. They will divide the total by fifty-two. This will provide them with your weekly average. Whatever that amount is, it will be multiplied by 66%.

The best way to explain this is by way of an example. Imagine that you normally earn $1,000 per week. The total for your last year’s worth of wages is $52,000. When this amount is divided by 52, it comes out to be $1,000.

Now, your employer will take this amount and multiply it by 66%. When you multiply $1,000 by 66%, you end up with $666. This is how much your weekly benefits should be.

What Types of Income Are Included for Workers’ Comp Purposes?

The problem with the calculations performed above is that it assumed that you received the same exact amount every week. Most employees receive different types of pay such as commissions, bonuses, or allowances for uniforms, food, or a car.

All of these various types of income are supposed to be included when your benefits are calculated. If you believe that your benefits are for the wrong amount, let your Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer know right away so they can get them fixed.

Your Atlanta Workers Compensation Lawyer Knows What Types of Income Are Excluded from Your Benefits

There are certain types of income that aren’t included for workers compensation purposes. Some of these are obvious. For example, if you normally receive reimbursement for travel, it probably won’t be included in your benefits calculations.

Some of the other fringe benefits that aren’t considered income for workers’ compensation include the following:

  • Tips
  • Sick pay
  • Work uniform stipend

Make sure you work with your workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta when determining how much your benefits should be.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Speak with an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

We always tell our clients that the biggest mistake they can make is waiting too long to talk to an attorney. Our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers have decades of combined experience handling cases just like yours. If you think your weekly benefits aren’t correct, we can reach out to your employer and make sure this is fixed.

It is frustrating enough to be out of work, trying to recover from a workplace accident. It is even worse if you find out that you’re not getting paid the right amount in weekly benefits. It can ultimately get to the point where you can’t pay your family’s bills.

If this happens to you, then it’s a good idea to contact our office sooner rather than later. You don’t want to wait too long to hire a workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta. It can take several weeks to get these issues resolved. You don’t want to go any longer than absolutely necessary to get the money you deserve.