When you work full-time, you pay into workers’ comp. A small portion of your salary is withheld each week – just like taxes or social security. As long as you pay into workers’ comp, you’re entitled to file a workers’ comp claim. Whether or not you are approved for workers’ compensation benefits depends on the facts of your case.
In order to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits in Georgia, you have to meet the following criteria:
- Your injury took place while you were on the clock (for salaried workers, this just means you were legally working at the time of your accident)
- You were hurt while performing job duties
- Your injury took place within the scope of your job (For example – if you’re a cashier, you have no business loading and unloading freight.)
- You were not high or drunk at the time of your injury
- Your injuries weren’t caused by something outside of your employment
- You report the injury to your employer and follow all company rules regarding workplace accidents
- You were treated by a company approved doctor
- You followed the treatment instructions provided
If you meet all of these criteria, your workers’ comp claim should be approved. The question remains – what, exactly, are you entitled to?
Your Atlanta workers’ comp attorney knows the law when it comes to workplace injuries. They will make sure your claim is handled properly from the start. They’ll also make sure you receive the benefits to which you’re entitled.
What are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Generally speaking, all employees in Atlanta are entitled to the same workers’ compensation benefits. Once your claim is approved, you will receive the following:
- Once you’re out of work for more than seven (7) days, you will start receiving replacement wages equal to ⅔ of your average weekly wages
- The maximum amount you can receive per week is $575
- You can receive your benefits for 400 weeks or until you reached maximum medical improvement (whichever is sooner)
Georgia has three (3) main types of workers’ comp benefits. They are: temporary disability benefits; temporary partial disability benefits; and permanent total disability benefits. The benefits described above are considered temporary disability benefits. If you’re able to work part-time with your injury, you will receive temporary partial disability benefits.
Temporary partial benefits are equal to ⅔ of the difference between what you’re actually earning and what you would have earned per week working full time.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Throughout your workers’ compensation claim, you’ll be receiving medical treatment from a company approved doctor. At some point, your doctor is going to say that you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement. This just means that, no matter what else the doctor does, you’re not going to get any better.
Once the company approved doctor makes this determination, your Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer will get an independent evaluation done. If your doctor says you are not fully healed, your lawyer will demand that your claim continue. Your attorney will negotiate this issue with your employer’s insurance company.
Once you have indeed reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), your doctors will have to determine how permanent your injuries are. They will have to identify which parts of your body are permanently disabled.
Each body part is worth a certain amount of money. There is a chart or schedule outlined in the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Statute that says what this amount is. It’s actually not a dollar figure – it’s a number of weeks. So, if your left leg is permanently disabled, you may be entitled to 50 weeks of benefits. These weeks will be paid at the same ⅔ rates of your weekly average wages.
If you are determined to be permanently disabled in general (and not limited to certain body parts), you’ll still receive benefits. However, instead of a schedule of weeks, your doctor will indicate what percentage you are disabled. You’ll continue to receive that percentage of your benefit rate for a period of 300 weeks.
For example, if you are deemed generally and totally disabled, you may be listed as 50% disabled. Your average weekly wages were $1,000. So, ⅔ of that is $666 per week. You will get 50% of $666 per week, which comes out to be about $333. These benefits will continue for 300 weeks. After that period, your benefits expire.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Atlanta
If you suffer a workplace injury, you need to contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer in Atlanta. They’ll help you file your claim. They’ll make sure it’s handled properly from day one. They’ll also stand by your side throughout the entire process. Call Workers Compensation Lawyer Coalition today and schedule your free initial consultation.