One common question people ask our Atlanta workers compensation attorneys is who qualifies for benefits. You must meet certain certain requirements to be eligible for workers compensation in Georgia.
Here are the most important conditions you must meet in order to qualify for filing a workers comp claim and receiving benefits. If you aren’t sure whether you meet the requirements, contact us for a free consultation.
1. Employment Status
The Georgia Workers Compensation Act states that all employers with at least three employees must carry workers comp insurance. Independent contractors are not covered by workers comp.
Thus, one of the first things a lawyer will check is your employment status. In some cases, even if your employer states that you are an independent contractor, an experienced attorney can prove that you are actually an employee.
So, do not give up as soon as your employer tells you that you do not qualify for workers comp. Talk to an experienced lawyer to understand your rights.
2. Eligibility According to the Workers Compensation Act
Employers in Georgia are not required to provide coverage for some categories of workers. These are:
- Railway and maritime employees – who have their own specific coverage plans
- Farm laborers
- Domestic workers
You may not be eligible for workers compensation if you fall into one of these groups.
Some employers may choose to carry workers compensation insurance even when it’s not required. You can look up if an employer has workers compensation insurance using the workers compensation coverage verification tool.
3. The Accident Must Happen While You Are On the Clock
Workers compensation only covers injuries and illnesses that are related to your job. You can file a claim if you develop an occupational illness or suffer a workplace accident.
If you are driving to or from work or are on your lunch break, you generally do not have a case. The experienced lawyers at our firm know that there are exceptions, such as:
- You got injured during a working lunch.
- You were driving to a business appointment as part of your job duties.
- Your employer specifically sent you to perform a task (such as buying office supplies).
4. You Must Have Performed Your Assigned Job Duties
Another important requirement for workers comp benefits is that you should have been acting within the scope of your employment when you suffered the accident. Let’s illustrate this with an example.
A bartender decides to help a delivery worker bring in heavy crates and suffers a back injury. However, bringing in merchandise is not listed as the bartender’s job duties. Thus, he or she does not have the right to file a claim.
It would be a different story if a supervisor instructed the bartender to help the delivery worker bring in the goods faster. In this case, the injured worker has a valid claim.
5. You Must Not Have Been Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Workers compensation does not pay benefits if employees are injured because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you refuse to take a drug test, your workers comp claim will be denied.
Your employer’s insurance company will argue that you drank alcohol or used drugs before coming into work, and this is why you hurt yourself.
Talk With an Experienced Atlanta Workers Compensation Attorney!
Knowing all the ins and outs of Georgia workers comp law is difficult for the average employee. This is what lawyers are for. Our legal team has in-depth knowledge of the law and years of experience in a wide range of cases.
So, do not give up on your chances to get benefits without getting reliable legal advice. Call us today at 470-518-5026 to schedule a free case review with an experienced Atlanta workers compensation attorney!