Regardless of how your workplace injury occurred, Georgia law protects you and ensures that you receive benefits for your injury. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 2.8 nonfatal workplace injuries and diseases reported by private industry employers in 2019. Further, there were 888,220 nonfatal injuries and occupational diseases that caused a private industry employee to miss at least one working day in the same year.
These numbers prove that workplace accidents are commonplace and can happen even in seemingly “safe” workplace environments. Workplace injuries often result in financial strains due to medical expenses and the pressure to meet the various deadlines. If you have been injured in Roswell and have questions regarding your case, call the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition office to talk with a Roswell workers’ compensation lawyer at 770-796-0919 to schedule a free initial consultation.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation (also known as workman’s compensation or workers’ comp) is an insurance system that provides benefits to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses out of and in the course of their employment. In Georgia, companies and business owners who employ 3 or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation.
Under workman’s compensation, injured workers can receive various benefits, including medical and income benefits. Specifically, workers’ compensation reimburses injured workers for medical treatment costs such as hospital stays, surgery, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and medical equipment. Employees are also awarded benefits for lost wages if they can’t return to work right away.
Each state has a unique set of workers’ compensation laws, and it is important that you speak to an attorney who specializes in Georgia law to find out about the benefits you may get if you’re hurt on the job.
What Should I Do if I’m Hurt on the Job?
Before you can receive benefits after suffering a workplace injury, there are several things you are required to do for your claim to remain valid. If you’ve been hurt on your job, you should:
- Report your injury to your employer or supervisor immediately.
- Visit the recommended workers’ compensation doctors and follow the instructions they give. Remember to keep all the medical records.
- Maintain a written record of your injury and symptoms right from the date of the workplace accident.
- Take clear photos of your injury if it is visible.
- Speak to a Roswell workers’ compensation lawyer before filing a workers’ compensation claim.
- Rest for a faster and full recovery.
What Are the Most Common Workplace Accident Injuries?
Workplace injuries vary depending on the nature of employment, but some injuries are more common than others. Some of these include:
- Back and neck injuries – These may occur due to the impact of falling objects or slip and fall accidents.
- Burns – These are frequent among workers who operate furnaces or handle corrosive chemicals.
- Fractures and broken bones – These may result from construction site accidents and car accidents while traveling for business reasons.
- Amputations – Workers who operate heavy machinery and handle cutting tools are usually at risk of amputations.
- Hearing loss – Employees who work in noisy environments without proper hearing protection equipment may suffer hearing loss.
- Joint pain – Repetitive tasks in workplaces are known to cause various injuries, including joint pain.
- Construction accidents – If you work in the construction sector, you are at risk of suffering broken bones, fractures, facial injuries, disfigurement, and shoulder injuries due to heavy lifting.
Why Should I Hire a Roswell Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
In some cases, workers will not need to hire an attorney. After all, workman’s compensation is a system designed to make the process of receiving benefits relatively easy. Some workers may opt to handle their claim alone, especially if it is not being disputed by their employer or their insurance carrier.
Unfortunately, not all workers’ comp claims are simple and straightforward. Generally, you’d need a workers’ compensation lawyer if:
- Your workers’ comp claim is disputed or denied
- Your employer disputes your disability rating
- You have a pre-existing condition
- You’re having a hard time getting the treatment you need
- You’re getting other benefits like the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits
- You have a workers’ compensation hearing
- Your working ability has been affected.
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer helps you challenge the position of your employer or their insurance carrier. Your attorney will do so by requesting an independent medical examination, taking depositions, and hiring expert witnesses – all of which need legal knowledge and proficiency. Your workers’ compensation lawyer will also represent you at your workers’ comp hearing.
A lawyer will also come in handy in determining whether you can start a lawsuit if a third party was at fault for the workplace accident that caused your injury.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Roswell Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Our Roswell workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis. It means that you don’t pay anything until we win your case and you receive your benefits. A portion of the benefits award is then used as the lawyer fees. Georgia law caps lawyer fees in workers’ comp cases at 25% of the benefits received.
What Should I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
If your employer or their insurer denies your claim, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney. Your lawyer will help you file the WC-14 Form to request a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. This should be done not later than 1 year from the date of the workplace accident that caused your injury.
What Responsibility Does the Employee Have in Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Employees who’ve been injured on the job have the following responsibilities in filing a workers’ compensation claim:
- Report their injury to their employer or supervisor in a timely manner
- Obtain medical care if they require emergency treatment and notify the employer or supervisor soon after receiving treatment
- File a claim within 1 year of the injury
- Take a drug test if their employer asks them to
- Accept a light-duty job approved by the treating physician
- Keep their employer updated
- Avoid posting about their workplace injury on social media
What Responsibility Does the Employer Have in the Workers’ Compensation Process?
Whenever a worker is injured on their job, employers have the following responsibilities to fulfill:
- File a First Report of Injury Form with their insurance company not later than 7 days after an employee informs them of their injury
- Send the injured employee to an approved workers’ compensation doctor
- Offer a light-duty job if the employee can work in a limited capacity
- Support the employee once they are cleared to return to work by the treating physician.
Can I Be Fired for Claiming a Workers’ Comp Claim?
NO. Georgia law prohibits any form of retaliation by employers whenever an employee files a workers’ comp claim. Most workers will have “at will” employment, and employers don’t always need a reason to terminate them. However, it should be clear that filing a claim wasn’t the motivation for the termination.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Roswell, Georgia?
Workers’ comp cases in Georgia and most other states are time-bound. You are required to file your claim within 1 year of your injury, and you risk losing or forfeiting your benefits if you file your claim later than this.
Can I Sue My Employer?
In most cases, you won’t be able to sue your employer if you have been injured while on the clock. Workers’ compensation gives injured employees benefits in exchange for their right to sue their employers. As long as your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you may not have the right to sue them if you’re injured on the job.
Can an Independent Contractor File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
In Georgia, independent contractors aren’t entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, this isn’t always the case if the independent contractor follows a work schedule structured by a third party, doesn’t control their working conditions, and if their means of job completion is determined by another entity.
What Is My Roswell Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?
Workers’ compensation cases vary greatly depending on the extent of injury and other factors. Generally, the following benefits will make up the worth of your claim:
- Medical benefits, including hospital stays, doctor’s visits, prescription medication, surgery, physical therapy, in-home care, and medical equipment
- Travel expenses resulting from the treatment of your injury
- Vocational rehabilitation expenses
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits if you’re not able to return to work after a workplace injury. These benefits are calculated at 2/3 of your pre-injury average wages and are capped at $675 per week in Georgia.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits if you haven’t attained maximum medical improvement (MMI) but can return to work in a limited capacity.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits whenever your treating physician allocates you a disability rating after establishing that you suffered an impairment or loss of function.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits if you may never be able to secure any gainful employment.
Get a Free Case Evaluation Today
Under workers’ compensation, workers who get injured on the job should receive benefits for medical expenses and lost income without filing a lawsuit against their employers. Unfortunately, these claims are not always as straightforward as they are intended, which makes working with a Roswell workers’ compensation lawyer important.
At Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition, we can help you receive the benefits you deserve if your claim is denied or disputed by your employer or their insurance carrier. If you have been injured in Roswell and need help with your claim, call us today at 770-796-0919 or fill our online form to schedule a free legal consultation.