When we first meet with a new client, they often ask how long workers’ comp benefits last in Atlanta. Technically, the State of Georgia allows injured workers to receive benefits for up to 400 weeks. However, our workers’ comp attorneys in Atlanta often settle our clients’ cases long before then.
To Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits in Atlanta, You Must Meet Certain Criteria
In order to receive workers’ comp benefits, you need to first qualify for workers’ compensation. This requires that you meet certain criteria outlined by the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation.
If you meet the criteria, your claim should be approved. Even if your claim is denied, there’s a good chance it’ll be approved on appeal. The question will then be – how long will you stay out on workers’ compensation benefits?
What Are the Basic Requirements for Workers’ Compensation?
Georgia is like most other states when it comes to workers’ compensation. For your claim to even be considered, your injury lawyer in Atlanta must prove that you qualify for benefits.
These requirements include the following:
- You must suffer your injury while on the clock.
- In most cases, you need to be on company property at the time of your accident.
- It’s critical that you report your claim within 30 days.
- You cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your injury.
- You must be treated by an approved workers’ comp doctor.
- You must also participate in your medical treatment.
Of course, there are other criteria that may apply to your claim. This is something your injury lawyer in Atlanta can discuss with you during your free, initial consultation.
Your Injury Lawyer in Atlanta Can Review Your Claim Before It’s Filed
Before you submit your claim to the insurance company, it’s a good idea to have your workers comp attorney in Atlanta review it. In fact, one of the benefits of hiring a lawyer before you submit your claim is they’ll file it on your behalf.
When your attorney submits your workers’ compensation claim, it will put the insurance company on notice that you’re represented by an attorney. This will increase the chances of your claim being approved.
Don’t Forget to Send All the Pertinent Information to the Insurance Company
One of the reasons a lot of claims are denied initially is that the worker forgets to send all the necessary information. If you file the wrong form or forget to give a detailed description of your injuries, your claim may be denied.
If you have your workers’ comp attorney in Atlanta review your information first can help prevent this from happening. If they notice anything is missing, they’ll fix the mistake before you send it off.
If Your Claim is Approved, What Benefits Will You Receive?
If your claim is approved, you’ll receive two types of workers’ compensation benefits. The first type is medical coverage for your care. You shouldn’t be responsible for any of your medical bills. That’s the whole point of filing a worker’s compensation claim.
The second type of benefits are weekly replacement wages. You cannot survive without an income. You’ll be entitled to weekly benefits equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wages.
There is a Cap on How Much You Can Receive Per Week
It’s important to know that there is a limit to how much you can receive in your weekly workers’ compensation benefits. In Georgia, the cap on benefits is $725. This is a lot lower than most other states. However, there is a tradeoff.
While your benefit amount may be low, Georgia is very liberal when it comes to how long you can receive workers’ comp benefits. While some states limit your benefits to a couple of years, in Georgia, you can collect benefits for up to 400 weeks.
Georgia Recently Increased the Weekly Benefit Maximum
Up until recently, the most you could receive in weekly benefits was $675. In 2022, the legislature in Georgia increased the weekly limit to $725. While this may not seem like much, it can significantly impact your settlement.
The way settlements work in workers comp is that they’re based on the number of weeks of workers’ comp benefits you’re entitled to. For example, if you suffer a permanent disability to your back, you may be entitled to 300 weeks’ worth of benefits. With an increase of $50 per week, that comes out to an increase from $202,500 to $217,500. That’s a difference of $15,000.
Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can Potentially Last for 400 Weeks
Technically, you can receive workers’ comp benefits for 400 weeks. This comes out to be just under 8 years. It is rare that anybody would stay on workers’ compensation for that long. This is why most other states don’t extend benefits for that long.
Our workers’ comp attorneys in Atlanta have decades of combined experience handling these cases. In all that time, there have only been a handful of clients who needed benefits for that long.
Your Workers Comp Attorney in Atlanta Will Likely Settle Your Claim Long Before Then
As briefly mentioned above, many of the workers’ compensation cases our injury lawyers in Atlanta handle settle. Rather than wait around for almost eight years, your attorney will try to settle your claim for a lump sum.
Usually, your workers’ comp doctor will determine when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement long before you approach 400 weeks. Ideally, your case will be settled within a year of filing your claim.
Your Benefits Will Also End Once You Reach Maximum Medical Improvement
When your doctor determines that further medical treatment will not benefit you, they’ll let the insurance company know. They must also provide notice to your workers’ comp attorney in Atlanta.
This is referred to as reaching maximum medical improvement. Once you reach this point, your benefits will terminate.
Call Today to Schedule Your Free, Initial Consultation with a Workers Comp Attorney in Atlanta
If you were hurt at work, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. It all depends on whether you meet the requirements under Georgia law. The good news is that your workers’ comp attorney in Atlanta can help increase the chances of your claim being approved.
While some of our clients fear that they’ll still be on workers’ compensation years down the road, it’s very rare. In all the years our injury lawyers in Atlanta have been handling workers’ compensation cases, very few clients ever receive benefits for the full 400 weeks.
Typically, our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers settle our clients’ workers’ comp claims. This way, the matter can be resolved quickly so you aren’t out of work for years on end.