Usually, when we represent someone who suffered a workplace accident job, their case is resolved within a year. Unless your injuries are extensive, you should be back to work in a few weeks or months. There are times, however, when our client’s injuries are so serious that they are never able to work again.
Instead of applying for a new job, they have to apply for disability. In cases like this, our Atlanta workers comp attorneys have to do more than ensure that our client receives their benefits. We need to make sure that we negotiate a settlement that will help them survive for the next ten or twenty years.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation is not like personal injury. We can’t demand millions of dollars from your employer. All we can do is push to get you permanent benefits. However, rather than make you sit back and collect weekly benefits, we will try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
Here, we will discuss which injuries are more likely to leave you disabled. We will also explain what happens if you aren’t able to return to work. If you still have questions after reading this article, contact our office. We can arrange for you to meet with one of our skilled workers’ compensation lawyers in Atlanta free of charge.
What Types of Injuries Are Most Likely to Leave You Disabled?
If you’ve ever been hurt on the job, you know how frustrating it can be. For the most part, our clients want nothing more than to go back to work and resume a normal life.
Of course, there are some people who look at workers’ compensation as an extended, paid vacation. These are not the kind of people who have a strong commitment to their careers. For those that enjoy working, finding out that you can never work again is devastating news.
Some of the injuries that are more likely to leave you partially or totally disabled include the following:
- One that causes total blindness
- An injury that causes hearing loss
- If you lose a limb such as an arm or leg
- Spinal cord injuries that cause paralysis
- Cancer caused by exposure to a toxic chemical
- Serious burn injuries
- Any injury that prevents you from standing or walking
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. There could be other, less common injuries that leave workers disabled.
Your Atlanta Workers Comp Attorney Must Prove That Your Disability Was Caused by Your Workplace Accident
This may sound obvious, but your workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta must demonstrate that your disability is due to your workplace accident. If you injured your shoulder at work, you’ll need to be examined by a workers comp doctor. They may discover that you also have a back injury.
Once you meet maximum medical improvement, the doctor may confirm that your back is 50% disabled 50% and your shoulder is 25% disabled. Since you didn’t hurt your back at work, you will only be entitled to permanent disability benefits for your shoulder injury.
You May Be Entitled to Permanent Benefits or a Lump Sum Settlement
If your workers’ compensation doctor determines that you are permanently disabled, you will be entitled to long-term benefits. The amount that you’ll receive depends on two things: the body part that you injured and the seriousness of your injury. Workers’ compensation is different from other civil lawsuits in one major respect.
Your Atlanta workers comp attorney cannot just demand an arbitrary amount in damages. With workers’ compensation, the courts don’t talk about absolute dollar values. Instead, everything is spoken of in terms of how many weeks of benefits you are entitled to.
The best way to explain this is by way of an example. Imagine that you hurt your back at work. The doctors say that your back is now 50% disabled. To determine how much you’re entitled to, your workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta will have to look at the Georgia workers’ compensation schedule.
Every body part has a certain value. The back has a significantly higher value than other body parts. The schedule may say that a back injury is worth 500 weeks’ worth of benefits. Since you are only 50% disabled, you would only be entitled to 250 weeks.
You would take whatever your benefit rate was and multiply that by 250. The total is what your total compensation will be. Usually, your Atlanta workers comp attorney will negotiate a settlement so that you can walk away with a lump sum. This way, you aren’t sitting back waiting for payments for five years.
It May Be a Good Idea to Meet with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Atlanta
When you first suffer a work-related injury, you won’t know what the future will hold. Most people who get hurt on the job suffer relatively minor injuries. They may break a leg or injure their back. Usually, they are treated for their injuries and return to work in a matter of months.
However, others are not so lucky. Our Atlanta workers comp attorneys meet with dozens of people every year who are not able to return to work at all. They are left permanently disabled as a result of their workplace accident. Some of them are able to find a new profession, but not everyone can. If your injuries prevent you from working at all, your workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta will need to demand sufficient compensation.
These cases are also complex. The good news is that your Atlanta workers comp attorneys are familiar with the law. They have also spent many years consulting with various doctors and other medical experts. They will make sure that they work hard to negotiate a settlement that is fair. Ideally, you’ll receive enough money to maintain some semblance of the life you had before the accident.
If you have questions or concerns about your workers’ compensation case, contact our office directly. We offer new clients a free, initial consultation for a couple of reasons. We understand that you may need to take some time to decide if you want to retain a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta. We also need to take the time to review your case, so we know whether it’s worth pursuing.