An Atlanta workers comp lawyer knows that there are situations when an injured worker may not be able to file a claim and collect benefits. Just like any other aspect ruled by law, there are conditions and eligibility criteria to meet if you want to obtain workers comp benefits.
Let us look at the most important criteria applicable to workers compensation cases in Georgia.
1. You Must Be an Employee, Not an Independent Contractor
The basic condition to qualify for filing a workers comp claim is being a W-2 employee of the company, not an independent contractor. Workers’ compensation starts from the premise that the workers acted under the employer’s control when they got injured.
Independent contractors, on the other hand, may have the right to file a personal injury claim. In a personal injury case, they must prove the employer was negligent.
However, there are cases when a person was mistakenly classified as an independent contractor. A skilled lawyer may be able to prove that they are an employee, relying on the IRS 20-factor test.
2. You Must Have Been on the Clock When the Accident Happened
Workers comp benefits are available only for work-related accidents. Thus, it must have happened during your working hours, not outside them. Under this principle, an accident that took place during a lunch break is not eligible. You also can’t claim benefits after an accident that happened while you were traveling to and from work.
The exception to this situation is when you acted under a supervisor’s instructions. For example, you took a working lunch or you drove to pick up an order on behalf of the company before coming to work.
3. You Must Be Performing Work-Related Duties
Another key eligibility condition is that your accident must have happened while performing a task within your scope of employment. Thus, even if you are on the clock, your claim will not be approved if you volunteered to help a colleague with a task that you do not normally perform.
For example, if a server in a fast food hurts their back while unloading crates, they may not file a workers comp claim, because carrying merchandise is not within their scope of employment.
4. You Must Not Be under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Any claim to workers comp benefits becomes void if you hurt yourself while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And this is why all employers will administer a drug test to anyone who reports a workplace injury.
Waiting a few days to report the accident will be interpreted as waiting out for the drugs/alcohol to be out of your system so that you will pass the test.
5. Following the Legal Procedure to the Letter
If you want to win your workers comp claim, you must play by the rules. This means:
- Reporting the accident to your employer as soon as possible after it happened
- Filing in the WC-1 First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease form
- Seeking medical attention immediately after the accident
- Continuing treatment only with the doctor appointed by the workers comp insurer.
With a skilled attorney by your side, you will receive guidance during the entire process.
Our Atlanta Lawyers Can Help You Win Workers Comp Benefits!
If you were injured at work, an Atlanta workers comp lawyer can help you protect your rights and obtain the benefits you need to repay medical care bills and get replacement wages. The first step is making sure you qualify for workers comp benefits and avoiding mistakes that may hurt your case.
We offer a free case review to each new client, so call us today at 470-287-5597!