Getting injured in a workplace is always unexpected and in the aftermath of such an incident, you may be wondering how to proceed. In addition to the pain and discomfort of your injury, you will be facing the financial implications of an injury. You stand to lose income from time spent off work while having the added burden of medical expenses to treat the injury.
But you should know that being injured on the job does not mean you will lose a paycheck. Worker’s compensation is here to help you out in this time of need. To receive the benefits of this support, you will need to follow the proper workers’ compensation claim process in Clarkdale, GA.
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How Can I Know if My Injury Will Be Covered By a Workers’ Comp Claim?
If an injury is sustained “from the course of employment” there is compensation available for you under the state’s worker’s compensation plan. This means that all injuries and even diseases sustained while you are performing your professional duties can be covered by worker’s compensation.
To get a better picture of what injuries are covered by a worker’s comp claim in Clarkdale, Georgia, it is easier to begin with the conditions, injuries, and illnesses that are typically not or may not be covered by worker’s comp.
Minor Conditions Treatable by First Aid Are Not Covered
If you have been injured at work but the injury is small enough to be treated by first aid, worker’s compensation is not needed. For example, if you have suffered a small cut, scrape, or bruise or suffered a headache from straining your eyes, a decent remedy can be found in a first aid kit or an OTC medication. However, if exposure to a chemical has left you with recurring headaches, this could be ground for a worker’s comp claim.
Injuries Outside the Office Are Sometimes Covered
If your injuries were sustained outside of your workplace, they may or may not be eligible for worker’s comp claims. Injuries and disease sustained during the “course and scope” of your professional duties are covered by worker’s comp. So, if you were involved in a traffic accident while on the way to visit a client and the injury requires more than simple first aid, you are eligible for compensation. Basically, if you are being paid to do what you are doing, and have suffered while doing it, you have a claim to worker’s comp.
Injuries Outside the Scope of Employment Are Not Eligible
For the most part, commuting is not considered within the “scope” of your employment. Therefore, if you were on your way to work and involved in an accident, you will probably not be eligible for worker’s comp. The same is true if the incident occurred while you were out on your lunch break.
Furthermore, if you were at your office and began engaging in dangerous play or possibly a fistfight with a coworker, this is not considered an injury sustained in the line of your professional duty and not a worker’s comp claim.
Cumulative Events and Injuries May Be Covered
Sometimes the effects of your professional duties can be more subtle. For example, if you begin to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome due to many hours of desk work or respiratory conditions due to breathing contaminated air, these are worker’s compensation claims. These conditions are referred to as “occupational diseases” meaning that had you not been working in these particular conditions, you would not have suffered the condition.
If you are not sure if your specific disease or condition could fall into this category of “occupational” conditions, talk to your doctor to see if you qualify for worker’s comp.
How Long Do You Have to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Georgia?
If you have suffered an injury or occupational disease while in the course and scope of your professional duties, you will have to notify your employer, supervisor, or foreman within 30 days. Failure to do so could result in forgoing any worker’s compensation benefits.
You have probably been provided with an employee handbook upon the beginning of your tenure at your place of work and will find the proper procedure for notifying your supervisor or employer about any possible injuries suffered at work. Georgia’s worker’s compensation system requires that these reports are made within 30 days of the incident that caused the injury.
The countdown will begin from the time of the incident which caused the injury. In the case of repetitive motion injuries or other occupational diseases, the countdown will begin from the moment you were made aware of the condition from a physician’s diagnosis.
Your employer may claim that they have company rules that require a report to be made in less time, but your employer is not authorized to shorten the statute of limitations for worker’s comp claims.
After you have made your report, you must file a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation within one year.
How to File the Workers’ Comp Claim in Clarkdale, Georgia?
Some employers will say that company-specific rules require these reports to be made in writing, but there are no rules that say written reports are mandatory. Nevertheless, we recommend making written reports as this provides a record that can back up your story in case your employer claims to have not received the report.
When reporting your workplace injury, it is a good idea to include as many details in the report as possible. Here are some details you should include in your report:
- Date and time the injury was sustained
- The place the incident occurred
- What you were doing at the time you suffered the injury
- Symptoms that indicate you were hurt
- Body parts that were injured or affected
- coworkers, supervisors, or others who witnessed what happened
Once you have made your report, you will need to file your claim for worker’s compensation with the State Board of Worker’s Compensation. Do this by filling out the WC-14 form and submitting this to the SBWC. You can obtain this form by visiting the SBWC website. You will need to submit one copy to the SWBC, another to your employer and it is a good idea to fill out a copy to keep with your own personal records.
Get Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Process in Clarkdale, GA
The Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition in Clarkdale, Georgia understands that the wake of an injury can be an especially stressful time. For this reason, we offer our professional legal services in filing your worker’s comp claim and obtaining your compensation while you set your mind to making a full recovery. Contact our legal representatives at 470-518-5026 and arrange a FREE consultation today.