The state law in Georgia requires that all employers with more than three employees carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is a no-fault system that is meant to provide financial support or benefits to employees who have been injured while on the job or suffered a work-related illness. If you have been injured while in the course of your employment, you might be wondering what kinds of benefits you might be entitled to and how you will go about getting these benefits.
Recovering benefits in a Georgia workers’ compensation claim is no smooth sailing. You can expect to face a lot of hurdles and pushbacks from your employer and their insurance company. At the end of the day, the insurance company is a business and their main goal is to minimize the amount they have to pay or end up not paying anything at all by successfully denying your claim. This is why it’s crucial to contact a Loganville workers’ compensation lawyer at the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition as soon as possible after suffering a work-related injury or illness. Our attorneys will help to protect your rights and ensure that your claim goes as smoothly as possible. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your case and potential benefits.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Income Limits
In general, the pay in a successful Georgia workers’ compensation claim is based on two-thirds of the injured employee’s weekly income. However, other factors including the type of workers’ compensation benefits available as well as the time the injury happened are also taken into account when determining the maximum amount an employee can be paid – more on this below.
Types Of Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits
There are 4 main types of workers’ compensation benefits available in Georgia depending on the level of disability. When it comes to workers’ compensation, disability refers to the inability of an employee to return back to work and resume their normal duties due to the injuries sustained.
– Temporary Total Disability Benefits in Georgia (TTD)
According to Georgia code 34-9- 261, an injured worker who is unable to return to work for at least 7 days is rightfully entitled to TTD benefits. These 7 days are referred to as the waiting period, and in the event that the employee is unable to return to work for 21 consecutive days, he or she is also entitled to receive payment for the waiting period. Remember, only a qualified doctor can determine whether an employee has the capacity to return to work.
Also, an employee who is recommended light-duty work by a doctor but there is no light-duty work available at their place of employment will be entitled to temporary total disability benefits.
While TTD benefits are calculated on the basis of two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly income, the law has put a cap at $675 per week for workers injured on or after July 1st, 2019. This means that if two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly income is higher than $675, the employee can only be paid the maximum amount ($675). In addition, these benefits can only be paid for 400 weeks after the date of the injury.
– Temporary Partial Disability Benefits in Georgia (TPD)
Temporary partial disability benefits are referenced under Georgia code 34-9-262. An employee who is able to return to work but at a reduced capacity will be entitled to TPD benefits. Such an employee is typically expected to earn less than they used to before the injury as they are now working on light duty. These benefits are meant to cover two-thirds of the wage difference created by the reduced working capacity as a result of the injury.
The payments are capped at $450 per week and can only be paid for a maximum of 350 weeks after the date of the injury. However, in normal circumstances, the payments are only made until the doctor determines that the employee can return to normal work duty.
– Permanent Partial Disability Benefits in Georgia (PPD)
PPD benefits are referenced under Georgia code 34-9-263. These benefits are available to injured employees who are deemed to have attained maximum medical improvement by a doctor. Maximum medical improvement means that the employee’s condition isn’t expected to get any better.
PPD benefits are determined on the basis of two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly income but the payments are capped at $675 per week. These are the only benefits that can be paid in a lump sum and they account for the most workers
– Permanent Total Disability Benefits in Georgia (PTD)
While this category of benefits isn’t specifically covered under Georgia laws, employees who suffer certain catastrophic injuries can recover benefits for total disability for the rest of their lives. PTD benefits are calculated at the same rate as temporary partial disability benefits.
How Is Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Calculated?
Three main methods are utilized when determining an employee’s average weekly wage in the state of Georgia’s:
i) Actual Earnings for 13 Weeks
Here, the average weekly wage is calculated by dividing the total income earned over the 13 weeks preceding the date of the injury by 13.
ii) Similar Employee’s Earnings
If the Actual Earnings for 13 Weeks method isn’t applicable in an employee’s case, for example, due to the duration of their employment, the earnings of another employee working the same job will be used.
iii) Contracted Rate of Hire
In this method, the average weekly wage of the injured employee is determined by multiplying their contractual earnings per hour with the number of hours they are contracted to work per week.
Are Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Taxed?
No, any payments made to an injured employee as part of workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia are not taxed. But, in some cases, the employee might be required to report the amounts received in their tax returns.
Contact An Experienced Loganville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Understanding how Georgia workers’ compensation claims work can be quite difficult, especially if you aren’t familiar with the applying laws. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney from the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition can help you understand your options and help make the claims process less overwhelming. Remember, the insurance companies are out to take advantage of you, and your best defense is to have a skilled attorney on your side. Call us today to ensure to protect your rights and secure maximum compensation.