If you’ve ever had to file any sort of legal papers, you know that time is of the essence. It doesn’t matter if it’s a contract dispute or a personal injury case. Your personal injury attorney in Atlanta, Georgia will harp on you about meeting the filing deadline. This is true for workers compensation claims as well.
While you’re not technically suing your employer after a workplace accident, the potential for legal action is there. If, for some reason, your employer chooses to deny your workers comp claim, you may have no choice but to pursue them legally. Of course, it’s not like a regular personal injury lawsuit. Your Atlanta workers compensation lawyer isn’t suing them for damages. You’re still only entitled to medical coverage and replacement wages. However, by the time your case is resolved, the insurance company may owe you months, or even years, of weekly payments.
Here, we’ll discuss why time is so important when it comes to filing your workers comp claim. We’re also going to explain what can happen if you don’t meet your filing deadlines. If, after reading this review, you still have questions, that’s okay. All you have to do is call and schedule your free, initial consultation with one of our Atlanta workers compensation lawyers.
There Are Certain Things You Need to Do Immediately After Your Workplace Accident
As long as you meet certain criteria, you should be entitled to collect workers compensation benefits in Georgia. Of course, part of this requires that you meet certain deadlines. Let’s first look at what the general requirements are for collecting workers comp in Atlanta:
- Your accident must have taken place while on duty
- You must have reported the accident and injury immediately to your manager or Human Resources director
- You must submit to a drug test prior to treatment
- You agree to be treated by a state-approved doctor
- You were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
- You don’t work at another company while out on worker’s comp
- You comply with your doctor’s treatment recommendations
As long as you meet these basic requirements, your claim should be approved. However, you will note that one of the requirements is that you immediately report the injury. If you wait too long, not only will you risk jeopardizing your claim, but you also open the door for doubt. Something other than your workplace accident could have caused your injuries if you fail to report it right away.
There’s another important filing deadline that you must meet in order to be eligible for workers compensation benefits in Atlanta, Georgia.
You Must Meet the Personal Injury Filing Requirements as Dictated by the Law
Some of our clients laugh when we tell them they must file their claim by the deadline prescribed by the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation. On their website, the Board states that you have one full year to file your claim. The year starts on the date of your injury.
Why is it so important that you file your claim right away if you have a year? It’s actually quite simple. The longer you wait to file your claim, the longer you’ll have to wait to receive benefits. Your employer’s insurance company has 21 days from the date of your injury to decide whether they want to approve your claim. They’ll send a letter of approval/denial to you and the Board of Workers Compensation.
If you don’t agree with their decision, you have the right to request a hearing. You do this by filing a WC-14 form. You must include your contact information on the form. You must also include your employer’s information and the contact information for their insurance company.
If you wait too long to request this hearing, the evidence of your accident is going to become stale. Employees who saw the incident may leave for another job. You may have an entirely new manager by that point – one who doesn’t recall what happened. There’s no reason to risk this happening to you. Your Atlanta workers compensation lawyer is in a much better position to fight on your behalf if you file your claim immediately after your accident.
What Happens if You Miss the Filing Deadline?
It should be no surprise that your claim will be denied if you miss the filing deadline. After all, you do have a full year to file a claim for benefits. It’s hard to excuse waiting any longer than that.
If you miss this deadline, you better have a good reason. Legally, there isn’t much your personal injury attorney in Atlanta, Georgia can do for you. The law is rather clear on that fact. The Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation is going to dismiss your claim and side with your employer.
If you don’t want this to happen, you need to call and talk to one of our Atlanta workers compensation lawyers sooner rather than later. They’ll help you prepare your claim, so it’s filed well ahead of the deadline. They can also help you request a hearing if need be. As long as you have an attorney by your side, you’re in a much better position of having your claim paid.
Call and Schedule Your Free Consultation with One of Our Atlanta Workers Compensation Lawyers
If you get a personal injury at work, you’re going to have your hands full with doctor’s appointments and physical therapy. The last thing you’ll want to do is spend hours on hold, fighting with the insurance company. If you learn that your workers comp claim has been denied, you’re going to need the help of an experienced Atlanta workers compensation lawyer. They can focus on the legal side of things while you focus on getting better. The goal of workers compensation is, after all, that you recover enough to return to work.
Some people are afraid to hire a worker’s comp lawyer because they worry that they’ll have to pay thousands of dollars to retain an attorney. That is not how it works. Our workers comp lawyers operate similarly to our personal injury attorneys. You don’t pay anything until your case is resolved. We simply keep a record of any fees or costs our associates incur while working on your case. When your case finally settles, that is when you’ll pay your lawyer. The consultation is free so there’s no reason not to call our office and schedule a time to come in and meet.