Just like other types of accidents, workplace accidents are common and often life-altering. Injured workers and their families may incur huge medical costs following a work-related injury, not to mention lost income due to days or weeks out of work.
Luckily, workers’ compensation almost always covers employees in such circumstances. And with the help of a Marietta workers’ compensation lawyer, employees have a better chance in claiming these benefits.
Under workers’ compensation, employees are solely covered for work-related injuries. It follows that employees who suffer non-compensable injuries may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
It is for this and other reasons that workers’ compensation claims are not always as straightforward as they are meant to be.
Working with an experienced Marietta workers’ compensation lawyer can help you evaluate your case and determine eligibility for benefits. If you have been injured on the job in Marietta and aren’t sure where to start with your claim, you need to seek legal help.
Call the offices of the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition in Marietta today at 770-796-0919 or fill our online form to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Marietta workers’ compensation lawyers.
Table of Contents
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation refers to a government-mandated insurance system that allocates monetary benefits to employees who get injured in their workplace. In exchange for their benefits, injured workers are required to surrender their right to sue their employer in a bid to receive compensation, even if the employer was negligent and at fault for the workplace accident.
Under workers’ compensation, employees who suffer a work-related injury are eligible for benefits such as:
- Medical benefits, including hospital stays, prescription drugs, and medical equipment.
- Temporary total disability benefit if your doctor advises you to stay off work for the statutory amount of time.
- Physical therapy
- Necessary travel expenses.
- Vocational rehabilitation.
Workers’ compensation laws differ from state to state, and it is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in Georgia law.
What Should I Do if I’m Hurt on the Job?
The steps to follow after a workplace injury aren’t cast in stone, but doing the right thing could make all the difference in your claim. Here are some of the things you shouldn’t miss to do after a workplace injury.
Tell Your Employer You Are Hurt
Reporting your workplace injury immediately helps you receive your benefits promptly from the employer’s insurance carrier. In Georgia, injured employees are required to report their workplace injury not later than 30 days from the date of the accident.
Receive Medical Care
It is important that you seek medical attention from a recommended workers’ compensation doctor and follow all their instructions.
Keep A Written Record of Your Injury and Symptoms
The best time to note down how you feel after a workplace accident is when the injury is still fresh. Recording your symptoms can help show the intensity of the injury and point to the most appropriate treatment.
Take Photographs of Your Injury
If your injury is visible, it is advisable to take clear photos as they serve as valuable pieces of evidence.
Talk To a Marietta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ comp claim procedure can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you have suffered a serious injury. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can handle your claim and take the burden off your shoulders.
Rest and Recuperate
Taking some time off work will help you recover and most likely hasten your return date to work.
What are the Most Common Workplace Accident Injuries?
Workers in various sectors and industries may suffer various workplace injuries. Some of the most common injuries and accidents include:
- Back and neck Injuries
- Hearing loss
- Joint pain
- Injuries associated with slip and fall accidents
- Construction accidents, such as broken bones and disfigurement
- Accidents while traveling for work-related reasons
- Accidents while handling machinery or tools.
Why Should I Hire a Marietta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
With the knowledge of Georgia law and experience of handling workers’ comp claims, a Marietta workers’ compensation lawyer can save you the hassle that comes with handling your claim alone. What’s more, they will ensure that you adhere to all workers’ comp laws to minimize the chances of having your claim denied.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Marietta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
At Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition, we work on a contingency fee basis – you don’t pay anything until your monetary benefits are awarded. Once the compensation award is made, a part of it is used as lawyer fees. In Georgia, the percentage that goes to lawyer fees in workers’ comp cases may not exceed 25%.
What Should I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
If your workers’ comp claim is denied by your employer or their insurance carrier, you have 1 year from the date of the workplace injury to request a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Board of Georgia. This is done by filing WC-14 Form with the board.
If your request for a hearing is accepted, you are given a day to present your claim before an Administrative Law Judge. The judge then makes a decision on whether to award or deny you workers’ comp benefits after listening to you and the employer (or their defense team).
What Responsibility Does the Employee Have in Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
If you have been injured at your workplace, there are various things the Georgia workers’ comp laws mandate you to do. These include:
- Reporting the injury to your employer, immediate supervisor, or foreman, not later than 30 days from the date of the accident.
- Accept the medical care provided by your employer or as ordered by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Georgia.
- Attempt light-duty work approved by the authorized treating physician.
- File a workers’ comp claim not later than 1 year from the date of the workplace injury or within 2 years of your last disbursement of weekly benefits if you believe you’re eligible for income benefits and your employer or their insurance carrier denied these benefits.
- Submit to a drug test if your employer asks you to take one when investigating your workplace injury.
What Responsibility Does the Employer Have in the Workers’ Compensation Process?
Employers have some responsibilities to fulfill in the event of a workplace injury as well.
Some of these include:
- Investigating the workplace accident and establishing the facts of the employee’s injury.
- Filing the First Report of Injury Form with their insurance carrier not later than 7 days after being notified by an injured employee.
- Sending the injured employee to the assigned Workers’ Compensation Doctor for medical treatment.
- Offering a light-duty job to the injured employee as a return-to-work option and to help them earn some income.
Can I be Fired for Claiming a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
No. It is illegal for an employer to reiterate in any way, including firing an employee who files a workers’ comp claim after being injured while on the job.
Is there a Time Limit to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Marietta, Georgia?
If you have been injured at your workplace in Marietta, Georgia, or in the course of your employment, you are required to file your workers’ comp claim not later than 1 year from the date of the injury. Failure to file in time, you risk forfeiting your workers’ comp benefits.
Can I Sue My Employer?
In most cases, you won’t have the right to sue your employer for a workplace injury, even if they were at fault for the injury. Workers’ compensation awards you monetary benefits in exchange for not suing your employer.
Can an Independent Contractor File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
In Georgia, independent contractors aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, unless a contract indicates the existence of an employer-employee relationship.
What is My Marietta Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?
Workers’ compensation cases are different, and the worth of these claims will as well differ. Generally, the worth of your claim will be defined by the types of benefits awarded after your workplace injury.
Some of the benefits that will determine you’re the worth of your claim include:
- Your medical expenses (with the recommended treating physicians)
- Physical therapy and vocational rehabilitation costs
- A portion of your lost wages
- Prescription medication costs
- Any necessary travel expenses resulting from the treatment of your injury
- Your income loss replacement benefit, which is normally 2/3 of your average weekly wage (with a cap of $675 per week, as of July 2019). These are also referred to as temporary total disability benefits.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits & additional monetary benefits if the authorized treating physician assigns a disability rating (if you’ve suffered an impairment or loss of function) in compliance with the American Medical Association Guidelines.
Contact Our Marietta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today for Your Free Consultation
While most people perceive some workplaces to be “safer” than others, the truth is that workplace accident can happen in any environment. Whether you’ve been injured while on a construction site or in the office, you may be looking at thousands of dollars in medical expenses and the uncertainty of regaining your earning capacity.
With workers’ comp, medical costs and lost income are covered. However, it is important that you file your claim under the guidance of an experienced and proficient Marietta workers’ compensation lawyer to avoid denial of a claim. If you have suffered a workplace injury in Marietta, call the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition today at 470-518-5026 for a free case evaluation.