Sustaining an injury while on the clock can really prove to be inconvenient and distressing. The pain and suffering, mounting medical expenses, and the continuous tussle with your employer over who was at fault. If you have gotten injured while on the job, don’t get overwhelmed with the stress; instead, reach out to an Alpharetta workers compensation lawyer.
Our personal injury attorneys in Alpharetta are specialists in the field and know precisely what is expected, meaning you can concentrate all your energy on recuperating from injuries suffered.
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What is Workers Compensation?
If and when a worker suffers an injury while on the clock, then Georgia Workers Compensation gives you legal ground to seek:
- Medical care, which includes hospital stays, and the employer’s insurance provider, will be expected to cover it.
- Temporary disability benefits if forced to be out of work for a certain amount of time.
- Physical therapy
- Necessary travel costs
An injured employee can also have a legal ground to pursue vocational rehabilitation. Workers’ compensation laws vary from one state to another, which is why it may prove prudent talking to a lawyer who is a specialist in this field.
What Are Common Reasons For Filing Workers’ Compensation?
You can sustain an injury in almost any field of work. One of the most dangerous places to work is on a construction site, which is not surprising to most people. The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration oversee on-the-job injuries very keenly to seek out and halt ‘Fatal Four’ causes of workplace deaths, falls, ‘hit by an object,’ electrocutions, and ‘caught-in/between.’
Here are the ten most common injuries:
- Back/Neck Injuries
- Hearing loss
- Slip and fall
- Joint Pain
- Business travel accidents
- Construction accidents
- Accidents when operating machinery or tools
What Should I Do After a Work Injury?
The next thing to do after a workplace injury is informing your fellow employee. The stipulated period for doing this is 30 days, and chances are that a co-worker or a supervisor reached out to the manager. We strongly recommend that you get in touch with a lawyer after that. As per the stipulation of the law, you aren’t required to give any recorded statement to the insurance provider or the employer. At Calvin Smith Law, we don’t support giving any information considering how it can be used against you.
The objective of worker’s compensation is getting you back to optimal health and back on your feet. Note that you may be coerced to return to work before you have fully recovered.
Is Worker Comp Available From Your Employer?
You may not be aware of whether your employer has got worker’s compensation if you haven’t benefited from it personally. An underlying reason preventing a variety of cases from getting filed every year is the lack of knowledge concerning workers’ compensation.
The majority of persons that worker’s compensation applies to only the large and companies and bid corporations and only comes as a ‘perk’ among other benefits.
How Do You Know Whether Your Employer Has Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Depending on the company’s structure, it may not be an alternative at all. According to Georgian state law, employers with over three employees are legally mandated to have workers’ compensation. It doesn’t matter whether it is an up-and-coming enterprise; either way, they will have to acquire this coverage if they have over three employees.
In the event you work for a sub-contractor not offering workers’ compensation coverage, then it’s essential to know that the actual contractor can be held responsible for that coverage.
If you find that the above scenarios apply to you, you need to get in touch with Calvin Smith Law right away so you can begin speaking to an attorney who will provide you with proper guidance and advice on the case.
What Benefits Are Available Under Workers’ Compensation In Georgia?
There’s an employee handbook provided by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation detailing a worker’s benefits if they were to get injured. Benefits a worker may stand to gain in the event they sustain an injury in the workplace include;
In case a worker sustains an injury while working, they have the right to receive reasonable medical benefits, which will include surgeries, doctor visits, hospital visits, medications, and so on. You won’t have the freedom to select your own physician; however, what you’ll do is choose from a list that will be given by the workers’ compensation insurance provider.
If an injury has resulted in you missing work, did you know you are entitled to receive income benefits? It is especially the case for injured workers who have been out work for a period exceeding seven or more days as a result of the accident. If the non-working days go for a period exceeding 21 days, you will receive payment for the first seven days. It’s fatal, you’ll receive benefits for the whole duration you have been out of work, but the payment benefits can go for 400 weeks if the injury proves to be non-catastrophic.
Sometimes, some injuries may result in death. If this happens to be your situation, then the dependents are eligible to receive death benefits, including lost wages, and funeral and burial expenses.
In case you are eligible to get income benefits, you’ll find that it’ll be equal to two-thirds of your weekly wage until the maximum allowed amount is attained.
What To Do After a Workplace Injury?
After an accident has occurred, it is natural to feel overwhelmed by the pain and confusion, alongside anxiety and pain. There are certain scenarios where an individual may feel a bit embarrassed. This can result in you feeling like the best course of action is proceeding with your shift, and at the same time misrepresenting the seriousness of the sustained injuries, or even not disclosing the injury in the first place.
‘Rocking the Boat’ is the last thing the majority of employees want – this is especially the case when the position they’ve got is competitive with a long list of interested people in it just waiting around for the employer to give them a call.
It’s essential to know that timing is critical if you have suffered an injury in a workplace accident. Here are some steps you may be required to take;
Make sure to report the injury incident to the manager or supervisor right away. The first thing to do will be a verbal notification, and then follow up by documenting it in a letter or email. This will assist your attorneys in proving that you complied regardless of how the employer handled the situation.
Seek medical assistance. What you say will be used in your case, and a professional medical practitioner will fortify its credibility level. You may find that the employer has an in-house medical staff who will offer an onsite exam.
If you find this isn’t the case, you should consider visiting the clinic, hospital, or emergency room. There are certain scenarios where the doctor examining you will have to be given the go-ahead by the employer in question.
Revealing signs of damage and associated symptoms to ensure sustained injuries have been properly documented and treated by a doctor or any other medical practitioner.
Reach out to a workers’ compensation lawyer. The lawyer will guide you through the steps required. This includes pointers you will tell your doctor and employer to ensure that all the bases have gotten covered.
When you have a lawyer by your side, they will assist you in filing the official claim notice, Form WC-14.
Filing a Claim for Work Place Injuries
To ensure that your rights to get benefits are protected, you will have to begin taking action from the outset of the workplace accident. You definitely don’t want to forfeit your rights of receiving payment just because you procrastinated.
When you sustain an injury in Alpharetta, Georgia, you have to make a report of the incident right away. You will need to have reported the incident to the employer following 30 days of the injury.
Upon reporting the incident to the employer, they are legally mandated to file an Occupational Disease Form or a First Report of Injury. If they fail to do this, they can be subject to civil penalties. If they fail to report the injury, you should consider looking for legal representation within the shortest time possible, or the deadline will lapse without you even being aware.
Another alternative you can go for is to file the claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, and the time span for this is a year following the accident date.
The Reason Time is Important When Handling the Claims Process
When filing a claim, prompt action must be taken.
The majority of people make the biggest mistake because they think they have all the time to file a workers’ compensation claim, but that’s far from reality and not guaranteed to end well. You may be under the notion that the money you have can protect you after the accident. Also, chances are that you are afraid of ‘rocking the boat’ by filing a claim in pursuit of compensation.
In case you want to deal with the workplace injury properly, it’s essential to note that you don’t have that luxury. Any worker compensation attorney you encounter will recommend you act fast since the window of opportunity can be shut and won’t be opened up again. If you don’t file the workplace accident report following thirty days of the occurrence of the accident, you will find that the window will have passed before getting the opportunity of anything.
Why Should I Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
The primary objective of workers’ compensation is for every party involved to benefit, and this includes the insurance carrier and employer. However, you may find that there are circumstances where the carrier will try to weasel themselves out of the claim. If and when you suspect of their reluctance to provide you with the reimbursement you so deserve, speak to us since we can assist you in getting started with the compensation process.
Insurers are well-aware that some employees use under-handed tactics to commit workers’ compensation fraud. This occurs when employees make fake claims or exaggerate their injuries, from where they get a payout from the insurance provider. This doesn’t favor the best interest of the insurance provider, thus their reluctance to make the payout.
Because of the potential fear of the rise in premium they are paying, an employer can use this to deny a claim or may opt to cover up the accident and claim that the incident didn’t occur in the first place.
Working with a lawyer will increase your chances of receiving the benefits you are entitled to compared to what you would receive if you were to go at it yourself. The attorney is going to assist you with the case in a variety of ways. They can help out in preparing evidence to make the case more rock-solid, and this will include things like gathering medical records, safety reports, and witness statements, if possible.
In case this info in the claim is rejected, the next thing you can do is contact a lawyer to file an appeal with the Georgia workers’ compensation board demanding the benefits get paid.
The lawyer will also review all of the case’s facts and establish if you can pursue additional damages because of the injuries suffered as a result of the workplace accident. Under Georgian state law, it can include lost wages, medical treatment, temporal or permanent disability funds.
If there’s another party who’s not an employee and is liable for the accident, then the attorney should consider filing a suit against the third party. A likely third party can be the manufacturers’ defective equipment that may have played a role in the accident.
How to Appeal a Denied Workin Injury Claim in Georgia
You can consider taking legal action if the claim you filed was declined by the insurance provider liable for your employer or the workers’ compensation coverage. For your interests to be protected, you should ensure that you enlist a seasoned Alpharetta workers’ compensation attorney who will be capable of dealing with the denied claim appeals process.
If the claim you filed is denied, The State Board of Workers’ compensation will send a notification explaining the reason for the rejection. When they do this, you have legal grounds to request a hearing to appear before this board.
You will have the opportunity to present your workers’ compensation case and its supporting evidence. You can present some permissible pieces of evidence before the board, and this will include expert testimony from professional medical practitioners, your testimony, witness testimonies, and any other piece of evidence that may assist in bolstering your claim. The hearing will happen before a judge, who will make the final decision when it comes to your workers’ compensation claim.
In the event the judge makes a decision that doesn’t go your way, your claims process isn’t over. You can proceed by appealing with the Appellate Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation insurance. The appeal will need to get filed within 20 days following the day you noticed that your claim was rejected.
Is Workers’ Compensation Available To Independent Contractors?
In Georgia, independent contractors aren’t under any workers’ compensation coverage. This has given employers some wiggle room to categorize employees as independent contractors, so they don’t offer workers’ compensation coverage.
There are ways you can be eligible to receive benefits if you happen to be an independent contractor. Some of them include:
- If a third party is giving them a structured work schedule.
- If they aren’t in control of their working conditions.
- If another company, individual, or entity is dictating the manner the victim finishes the job.
In case your employer misclassified you, lawyers from Calvin Smith Law will work alongside you to prove it. If this turns out to be the situation, then we will proceed and initiate the process of filing the claim.
Can Workers’ Compensation Cover a Preexisting Injury?
Understandably, those who already have a preexisting injury will be afraid their claim won’t be successful. Look at it this way; say somebody had a preexisting back pain problem but worried they might not receive the reimbursement they deserve given that the employer will claim that the problem was preexisting before the accident occurred.
Fortunately enough, the state of Georgia safeguards such persons. You are eligible to receive the workers’ compensation benefit regardless of whether you have an existent injury that has gotten aggravated or exacerbated by accident. The truth of the matter is that the majority of individuals are suffering from preexisting medical conditions, and attempting to seclude such people means that nobody will get protected by the law if and when they want to get compensated.
What if the Accident was My Fault?
It doesn’t matter if you or the employer was the party liable for the workplace accident. As per Georgia workers’ compensation regulations, even if you happen to slip and fall on a floor with fluid that the machine you used was leaking, also, if you may somewhat be at-fault for the injury, it won’t be the determining factor used to deny your compensation claim. The whole objective of the compensation system is protecting workers’ rights, regardless if they played a role in the accident or not.
The system is based on the no-fault principle; however, there are a few exceptions to the rule. As per Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, compensation for injury or death will be denied if it’s as a result of alcohol intoxication or operating machinery whilst being under the influence of controlled drugs and substances such as marijuana.
If somebody was working drunk or high, and then an accident occurred, the claim would be denied. However, having alcohol or drugs in your system doesn’t entirely mean you can’t recover recompense. The case will move forward if you can prove that lack of sobriety wasn’t the actual cause of the accident; this meaning that intoxication wasn’t really the cause of the accident.
Can I File a Personal Injury Suit for a Workers’ Comp Claim?
A major disadvantage of the no-fault system is that you won’t be able to sue your employer, regardless if they were the ones at fault. Georgia’s workers’ compensation system offers immunity from suits like that for co-workers and employers. Even if the employer was negligent, you can’t sue them for personal injury. The same case applies to co-workers; they can’t be sued even if they were responsible for the accident.
Contact an Alpharetta Workers Compensation Lawyer Now!
If you happen to have sustained an injury while on the clock, get in touch with us at Calvin Smith Law to help you recover the money you so deserve for injuries suffered. Call (404) 383-7552 today to schedule a free consultation at our Alpharetta injury law firm.