Suffering a work-related injury is not only inconvenient but also devastating. The financial stress due to countless doctor visits, lost wages if you’re unable to work, and the pain and suffering. However, most Georgia workers will be covered by workers’ compensation and will most likely receive benefits in the event of a workplace accident that results in an injury. So, if you are looking for a Smyrna workers’ compensation lawyer, you may reach out to us.
The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act mandates businesses and companies that employ three or more workers, including regular part-time workers, to carry workers’ compensation. However, getting a compensatory award isn’t always easy despite being entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Your employer’s insurance carrier will always look for reasons to deny your claim, and a simple mistake could see you lose out on the benefits you deserve.
At the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition, we understand the loopholes that insurance companies and adjusters exploit to deny you the benefits you deserve. If you’ve been injured at your Smyrna workplace, call us today at 770-796-0919 to speak to one of our Smyrna workers’ compensation lawyers and find out more about your rights, responsibilities, and benefits after your work-related injury.
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What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation, often referred to as workman’s compensation or workers’ comp, is an insurance system set up to help workers who are injured while on the job get back on their feet. Particularly, workers’ comp helps relieve financial stress by providing monetary benefits to cover medical expenses and a portion of pre-injury wages if a worker is not able to return to work immediately.
Under workers’ compensation, injured workers are entitled to:
- Medical benefits, including doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, therapy, surgery, and medical mileage expenses. Injured workers could also be entitled to benefits for vocational rehabilitation.
- Temporary disability benefits: Depending on the duration and severity of the injury, workers may receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits or temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits.
- Permanent disability benefits: Where a worker suffers a severe impairment that is deemed permanent after he or she attains maximum medical improvement (MMI), they may receive permanent disability benefits.
- Death benefits: When a work-related injury or illness results in the demise of a worker, dependents or family are entitled to death benefits, which include funeral and burial costs, and a cash amount for lost wages.
Workers’ comp laws may differ from state to state, and it is important that you speak to an attorney who understands Georgia law to discuss the benefits you may be entitled to after a workplace accident.
What Should I Do if I’m Hurt on the Job?
After a workplace accident, it is normal to get overwhelmed by anxiety, confusion, and pain. It is common for workers to downplay the severity of their injury and carry on with their shift, which might turn out to be costly later in your claim process. Here’s what you should do if you have been injured on the job:
- Inform your employer, supervisor, or manager about your injury immediately. This can be done verbally, and later documented in a letter or email.
- Seek medical attention to ensure your injuries are properly documented. Be sure to keep all medical documents.
- Keep a record of your injury’s symptoms by noting what part of the body is injured and exactly how you feel.
- If possible, take photos of your injury.
- Reach out to an attorney before you can start your claim process.
- Follow the doctor’s instructions and rest for a full and faster recovery.
What Are the Most Common Workplace Accident Injuries?
Workers may suffer various injuries whenever a workplace accident occurs depending on the nature of their employment. Some of the most common injuries that arise from workplace accidents include:
- Back or neck injuries: Workers who work in the construction sector are likely to suffer these injuries due to continuous heavy lifting and in accidents involving falling objects.
- Burns: Exposure to corrosive chemicals, excessive heat, and radiation might result in burns.
- Fractures: Falling objects in a workplace can easily result in such injuries.
- Amputations: Heavy machinery and cutting equipment put workers at risk of severed limbs.
- Hearing Loss: Excessive levels of noise in a workplace and lack of hearing protection equipment may lead to hearing loss over time.
- Joint Pain: Strenuous jobs such as heavy lifting and repetitive tasks often put workers at risk of joint pain.
- Slip and Fall: Workplaces with hazards such as slippery floors present a risk of slip and fall accidents.
- Construction accidents: Construction sites are usually considered dangerous settings as workers are always at risk of falling from heights or getting injured by falling objects.
- Car accidents may occur while traveling for work-related reasons.
- Injuries such as cuts and lacerations may also occur while working with machinery or tools.
Why Should I Hire a Smyrna Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
While workers’ compensation is meant to make the settlement for work-related injuries straightforward, the process is never easy and having an attorney to represent you is the best thing to do. Generally, a workers’ compensation lawyer in Smyrna will help you report your injury and file your notice of claim in time.
In case your claim is denied, your lawyer will help you request a hearing and represent you on the hearing date before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Your attorney will also help establish whether there is a possibility for a personal injury lawsuit if a third party is at fault for the accident that resulted in your injury.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Smyrna Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
In Georgia, workers’ comp attorneys work on a contingency basis. Our Smyrna workers’ compensation lawyers will represent you without paying any fee upfront. After receiving your compensatory award, a percentage of it is used as legal fees. Georgia law caps this percentage at 25% for all workers’ comp cases.
What Should I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
Whenever your claim is denied, it is important that you take legal action. Normally, the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Board will notify you if your claim is denied. Your lawyer will help you request a hearing before the same board. If your request is granted, you’ll have the chance to present evidence to support your workers’ comp claim.
The hearing takes place before a judge, who also listens to your employer or their insurance carrier side of the case. Afterward, the judge makes a decision on whether you will receive benefits or not. If you’re not satisfied with the judge’s decision, you can file an appeal with the Appellate Division of the State Board. This appeal must be filed not later than 20 days from the date you got the notice that your claim has been denied.
What Responsibility Does the Employee Have in Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
In a workers’ comp claim, there are certain responsibilities you are supposed to fulfill. These include:
- Reporting your injury to your employer as soon as possible.
- Accepting medical treatment from the assigned workers’ comp doctor.
- Submitting to a drug test if your employer requests one.
- Filing a notice of claim in time.
- Taking up a light-duty job as advised by your doctor.
- Keeping your employer up-to-date with, say, doctor’s recommendations.
What Responsibility Does the Employer Have in the Workers’ Compensation Process?
Like workers, employers too have their responsibilities in the workers’ comp process. Some of their responsibilities include:
- Sending the injured worker to any of the doctors in their Panel of Physicians.
- Investigating the workplace accident.
- Filing a report of first injury with their insurance carrier.
- Providing the injured worker with the light-duty job recommended by the treating physician.
Can I Be Fired for Claiming a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Your employment cannot be terminated for the sole reason of filing a workers’ comp claim if you have suffered a work-related injury. Workers’ comp law protects employees from unfair termination whenever they claim their benefits.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Smyrna, Georgia?
Georgia law provides that you must file your workers’ comp claim within 1 year from the date of the workplace accident for you to receive workers’ comp benefits.
Can I Sue My Employer?
In most cases, you won’t be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. Workers’ comp awards you benefits and are, in turn, expected to forfeit your right to sue your employer.
Can an Independent Contractor File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Independent contractors in Georgia are not entitled to benefits under workers’ compensation. However, there is an exception if an independent contractor can prove that an employee-employer relationship exists.
What Is My Smyrna Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?
The worth of your compensation claim will be determined by the benefits you receive. Your compensatory award may include:
- Medical benefits.
- Income benefits, which are calculated at two-thirds of your average previous weekly wage. In Georgia, these are capped at $675 per week.
- Temporary disability benefits: You are entitled to temporary total disability (TTD) benefits if your injury or illness prevents you from returning to work immediately. You may also receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits if you return to work before attaining maximum medical improvement (MMI) and working in a limited capacity.
- Permanent disability benefits: Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits may be awarded if you suffer an impairment and are unable to return to work or secure any form of gainful employment in future. Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits may also be awarded if you’re deemed to have suffered an impairment even after reaching MMI.
Contact Our Smyrna Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Workplace accidents are not uncommon, but workers who suffer work-related injuries are readily covered under workers’ compensation. However, it is worth noting that working with an attorney is crucial as workers’ comp claims are not always simple and straightforward.
If you have been injured on the job and are unsure of how to go about the workers’ comp claim process, call the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition today at 770-796-0919. Our Smyrna workers’ compensation attorneys will guide you through the process to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.