Businesses spend approximately $170 billion on injuries every year. That amount includes the benefits paid through Georgia workers’ compensation when Atlanta workers are injured performing their jobs. Despite being entitled to receive benefits, many workers do not understand the specifics of workers’ compensation or how they go about collecting the benefits they are entitled to. When a worker is involved in an on-the-job accident, they may have a lot of questions regarding workers’ compensation, from the basics of what benefits they can receive to whether they need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney.
What Benefits Can I Receive?
In Georgia, injured workers are entitled to three different types of benefits:
- Wage Benefits are paid out to employees to make up for time away from work when they would be earning a normal wage. These benefits are equal to two-thirds of the injured worker’s normal weekly wage, with a maximum amount at $550 per week. Injured workers cannot collect wage benefits until an authorized treating physician has put them on a no work status. An injured worker can also start wage benefits if their employer refuses to provide limited work after the doctor recommends them being on limited/light work duty.
- Medical Benefits cover the expenses necessary for treatment to cure or alleviate any injuries sustained. This includes any hospital bills, doctor bills, physical therapy, and necessary travel expenses. The worker does not need to pay a deductible and the benefits are paid by the employer and their insurance company. In addition, the worker may also qualify for medical and vocational rehabilitation. Unless the injury is categorized as catastrophic, according to O.C.G.A. 34-9-200.1, medical benefits can be received for a maximum of 400 weeks. For catastrophic injuries, the worker may be able to receive lifetime benefits, depending on the nature of their injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits can be paid out if a worker, after all possible treatment, is unable to heal fully from the injury and left with a permanent disability. A PPD rating should be issued by the doctor after the injured worker has improved as much as is possible.
How Long Does It Take For Benefits to Start?
After seven or more days of being unable to work, injured workers qualify to start receiving benefits. The first check is mailed within 21 days of the first missed day of work. When a worker is unable to return to their job for 21 consecutive days, benefits are also issued to pay for the first missed week of work.
What If My Benefits Are Late or My Employer Refuses to Pay?
If the benefits are late, the insurance company is penalized and must pay a penalty to the injured worker. One of two penalties may apply, depending on the case. Payments that started voluntarily are subject to a 15 percent penalty while those mandated by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation are subjected to a 20 percent penalty. It is important to track the check stubs and envelopes to ensure payments are arriving on time.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
In the event the employer refuses to pay benefits, the injured worker is entitled to a hearing. This process can be time consuming and difficult for a worker to handle alone. It is important to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney if you have any problems with receiving your benefits. Whether you are just beginning to file a claim or dealing with complication, you can contact Workers Compensation Lawyers at 678-504-6565 for a free consultation regarding your case. Our attorneys will make sure that you get the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. ]]>