In the state of Georgia, employers are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance if they employ three or more workers. The point of having the insurance is to protect an employer from being sued for damages by the employee and give the employee benefits so that they do not lose all their wages while recovering from a work-related injury. However, it’s the employee’s job to report a workplace accident. A Kennesaw workers’ compensation attorney can help if an employee is having difficulty getting their benefits.
Worker’s Compensation Process
As soon as you are injured on the job, you need to report it to your employer as soon as possible. Under the Worker’s Compensation Law, both the employer and the employee have obligations they must fulfill as soon as an accident occurs.
The employer is required to post the names and locations of the doctors and practices that are covered under their worker’s compensation insurance. Once you have reported the accident you are required to see one of these approved worker’s compensation doctors.
Once the claim is started, you are entitled to receive weekly compensation at a percentage of your normal wages. If you are unable to work for a period of 7 days, compensation checks will begin and should be received by day 21. If you are unable to work after day 21, the first 7 days will be compensated as well.
Initial and ongoing medical treatment for the work-related injury will be covered under the worker’s compensation insurance, this also applies to rehabilitation services. You may even be covered under these benefits for up to 400 weeks, or indefinitely if your injury is serious enough.
What Happens If My Claim Is Denied?
If your claim is denied, you have the right to request a hearing with the Georgia State Board of Worker’s Compensation.
Your employer and the insurance agency will have representation during the hearing with the board. You are entitled to have representation as well.
If you have a hearing set with the worker’s compensation board, make sure that you hire an experienced Georgia attorney who is skilled in the area of worker’s compensation cases.
If your claim is being denied, it is possible to coordinate a mediation prior to the hearing. A mediation is where both sides meet with a neutral third party to discuss options and to negotiate.
When preparing for a mediation, it is important to gather all of the documents that you need to
present. If you are having trouble getting your medical bills from the injury paid, make sure to bring those bills. Bring the accident report too. Any witness statements can also prove useful.
The worker’s compensation board promotes the usage of mediation in these types of cases. Mediations are generally scheduled quicker than a trial. It also allows both parties to sit down and talk to one another face-to-face.
Possible concerns that can be addressed by a mediation are:
- Settlements where all parties are agreeable
- Medical issues that concern physician changes or medical bills
- Light-duty issues regarding employment and benefit suspension
- The issues of rehab and the disputes in cases designated catastrophic
- Attorney fees and liens
- Final determination of fair weekly compensation
It is the mediator’s job to help the parties discuss and consider their options. They help both parties clarify any issues that they may have regarding one another. There are times where they may interject as the voice of the board with recommendations to the parties as to what they might suggest.
While it is the job of the mediator to control the room in a mediation, it is the role of the parties to control what happens as a result.
What Happens If I Don’t Report a Workplace Accident on Time?
In the state of Georgia, you have a specific timeframe for reporting work-related accidents to the worker’s compensation board so that you can start receiving benefits.
This timeframe in the state of Georgia is 30 days. If you fail to report a workplace accident to your employer, there is a possibility that you will not be able to do so after the fact. Making a case for worker’s compensation is a lot harder if you do not report the injury timely.
Worker’s Compensation Lawyers
An important part of your worker’s compensation claim is about protecting yourself. Protecting yourself can mean making sure that you have all of the paperwork and forms in order for your worker’s compensation claim. It can also mean that you are following all the procedures you are required to follow.
Sometimes that is not enough. Sometimes the board may still deny your claim and it requires you to push a little harder. It might be a good idea to start all of the claims and proceedings with legal representation on your side. Contact a Georgia worker’s compensation law firm today for your free case consultation.