Workers comp in Atlanta can add economic support during injury recovery. Most people who are injured on the job are back to work in a matter of weeks or even months. Thankfully, most of our clients do not suffer any permanent disabilities. However, there are instances where an employee is unable to work ever again as a result of their workplace accident. When our workers compensation attorneys in Atlanta encounter these cases, their goal is to reach a reasonable settlement with the insurance company.
If you are no longer able to do the same job that you did before the accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation. However, workers comp is different from regular personal injury cases. You aren’t able to demand damages for pain and suffering. Nor can you demand damages for future lost income. Instead, your Atlanta injury attorneys will fight to get you benefits based on the body part that is now permanently damaged. Obviously, the more serious your injuries, the more compensation you’ll be entitled to.
Here, we’ll discuss how you qualify for workers comp benefits in the first place. We will also explain how your benefits will end. Finally, we’ll explain when it makes sense to settle your permanent injury case with your employer. If you have questions about your workers compensation case in Georgia, contact our office right away. You can always schedule your free, initial consultation by phone or through our website.
Did You Qualify for Workers Comp in Atlanta?
In order to qualify for workers comp in Atlanta, you must meet certain criteria. We won’t go into detail of what these criteria are here. However, it is worth highlighting the basic requirements:
- your injury must have taken place while you were performing your job
- typically, your accident must happen on company time and on company property
- you must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your injury
- you must report your injury immediately to your manager or the human resources department
- you must submit to a drug test per company policy
- you must be treated by a state- approved workers compensation physician in Georgia
- you may not work at another company while you’re collecting workers comp benefits
Once you qualify for workers comp in Atlanta, then you can start thinking about whether or not you’ll be entitled to permanent benefits. Normally, our workers compensation attorneys in Atlanta do not settle cases unless there is a permanent disability involved.
Your Benefits for Workers Comp in Atlanta End at Some Point
At some point, your workers compensation benefits will terminate. Usually, this happens when you’re able to return to work. Once your workers compensation doctor determines that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, you’ll be expected to go back to work. If you refused to do so, or choose not to return to your job, your benefits will terminate.
The other way that your benefits will terminate if you exhaust your 400 weeks’ worth of benefits. Unlike most other states, Georgia offers you almost eight full years of workers comp benefits. In our Atlanta injury attorneys experience, very few cases ever get to this point. Rather than sit back and collect benefits for almost a decade, it makes more sense to settle your case.
What if You’re Left with a Permanent Disability?
If you do end up with a permanent disability, your workers compensation attorney in Atlanta will fight to get you additional compensation. For example, if you suffered a serious back injury at work, you may not be able to work any physical jobs in the future. You may also require physical therapy or chiropractic care for the rest of your life. Your doctor will help determine whether you have a partial or total permanent disability.
What your attorney will do is look at the body part that you injured. They will then match the body part with the Georgia workers compensation fee schedule. Under workers comp in Atlanta, each body part is worth a certain amount of money. The way the schedule is organized is that every body part is equal to a certain number of weeks of benefits. The weekly benefits will still be calculated at 2/3 of your average weekly wages. They should be the same amount as the benefits you collected when you first went on workers comp in Atlanta. Rather than continue to collect these weekly benefits for months or even years, it makes sense for your Atlanta injury attorney to settle your case for a lump sum.
There’s a Good Chance Your Atlanta Injury Attorneys Will Settle Your Case
In most cases, it doesn’t make sense to sit back and wait for weekly benefits to roll in. Most of our clients want to get on with their life and hopefully find another job. What your workers compensation attorney in Atlanta will do is total up the number of weeks of benefits that the Georgia workers comp schedule awards you. They will then take this total and account for inflation and amortization to arrive at the present-day value of your claim. Of course, your attorney would be happy if they were able to get you the full amount of the present value. However, in order to entice your employer to settle the case, you must be willing to compromise on the total amount due.
For example, let’s say that you injured your back and suffered a total permanent disability. Imagine at the schedule says that you’re entitled to 300 additional weeks of benefits at the rate of $200 per week. This would amount to approximately $60,000 total. Your attorney may be willing to accept a settlement of approximately $40,000 in a lump sum. This way, the insurance company saves over $20,000 over the course of your claim and you walk away with a lump sum rather than waiting six years to get your money.
Call and Speak with One of Our Workers Compensation Attorneys in Georgia Today
If you recently suffered an injury at work, we encourage you to contact our office and speak with an Atlanta injury attorney today. If your injuries are serious, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up with a partial or total permanent disability. It would be in your best interest to have an attorney negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. The only way to make that happen is to retain one of our workers compensation attorneys in Atlanta. You can contact our office at anytime and schedule your free, initial consultation.