Imagine heading to work, putting in the time, and then getting injured. It can be a frustrating experience and comes along with significant issues such as struggling to gain compensation from your employer, medical costs, and the general pain associated with injuries. Once all of these things add up, it can become overwhelming, which is why it’s time to hire a quality Dunwoody workers compensation lawyer.
We are an experienced law firm situated in the heart of Dunwoody and recognize what it takes to protect your legal rights. Let our team of personal injury lawyers take care of everything as you recover.
Table of Contents
What is Workers Compensation?
Dunwoody, Georgia, has clear-cut regulations in place when it comes to protecting workers once they have been injured.
The benefits include:
- Travel Costs
- Prescription Fees
- Physical Therapy
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits
When an employee is in a situation such as this, they will have a unique set of requirements and/or costs. These are taken into consideration when the compensation is offered including having access to things such as vocational rehabilitation. It’s important to note, the laws may vary in each state making it essential to speak to a qualified representative in Georgia right away.
What are the Main Reasons Workers Need Worker’s Compensation?
In some cases, accidents are a part of working and can happen to anyone. This is often the case in situations such as construction projects where heavy machinery, materials, and dangerous situations are rampant. To protect employees in these situations, the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration does offer insight into an employee’s rights and does monitor all injuries. This includes injuries that lead to death such as electrocutions, being struck by an object, getting caught under/in/between an object, or falling.
Studies show the most common injuries include:
- Hearing Loss
- Neck/Back Injuries
- Machinery-Related Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Slip and Fall
- Business Travel-Related Accidents
- Joint Pain
What Can I Do Immediately Once A Work Injury Happens?
The first thing any injured employee needs to do is report the accident to your supervisor/manager. They will have to be alerted because Georgia has clear-cut regulations in place, which have to be followed by employers when something like this occurs. After you have done this, it’s recommended to seek recorded medical assistance and reach out to a trusted attorney in the region. Please note, you are not expected to make official statements to anyone and it’s best to wait for your attorney before doing something like this.
Workers’ compensation is all about letting you recover and get back to 100% health before returning to work.
Is Worker’s Comp Offered by Your Employer?
Each employer is going to be different when it comes to offering workers’ compensation. The average employee won’t know whether or not their employer does until it is time to apply. This is why it’s recommended to seek legal assistance, so you are able to claim what is rightfully yours after an injury occurs.
Workers’ compensation is not reserved for larger companies and is also possible for small businesses.
Workers’ compensation is usually available through the employer, but there are times certain companies don’t provide access to these benefits. In the state of Georgia, all businesses with three or more employees need to have this type of coverage in place.
The only businesses that can look past these benefits are contractors as they may have employees on as “sub-contractors,” which is different from an employee.
If you are in a situation such as these, you are recommended to reach out to a trusted law firm such as this one and see what your options are like.
Are There Benefits Available Under Workers’ Comp?
According to the Employee Handbook written by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, there are specific details in place for what benefits are readily available to employees. Anyone that is been injured at work can take a look at these benefits and file a claim right away.
These benefits include:
An injured worker can receive medical benefits based on any costs associated with their recovery. This can include a wide array of expenses such as rehab fees, prescriptions, hospital visits, surgeries, doctor’s visits, and more. If these benefits are to be claimed, the insurance provider is going to have an accredited list of doctors the individual can visit. This means you can’t go to your regular physician and still file a claim.
For those who get injured and then are unable to work for a set amount of time, you can gain access to income benefits. If you are someone that hasn’t worked for seven days, it’s possible to file a claim and receive income benefits. As you cross the 21-day mark, your employer will be asked to foot the bill for the first 7 days that were missed due to injury. Over time, you are going to get all of the income benefits available to you due to your lost wages. In some cases, you can get paid for up to 400 weeks due to the accident.
Employees can die after a workplace accident, which can lead to potential death benefits. In situations such as these, the employee’s dependents will receive access to death benefits such as lost wages, burial costs, and funeral expenses.
For income benefits, the employee can receive 2/3 of their weekly wages until they have hit the maximum allowed amount.
What Are The Steps You Must Take Once a Workplace Injury Occurs?
Confusion, pain, and even all of your anxiety can overwhelm you after an accident. In some cases, some people may feel a bit embarrassed. That is why you may even feel like the only best choice is for you to get back to work immediately, and you may misrepresent the severity of your injury, or you may even fail to tell anyone about the workplace accident and your injury.
The last thing that many employees in competitive positions do not want to do is to “rock the boat” because there are so many potential employees interested in that position, and these employees are patiently waiting for their employer to hire more workers.
You must know that timing is important, especially after you have suffered injuries in a workplace accident. Once a workplace accident occurs, here are the steps you can take:
Once you get injured, immediately report the injury to your supervisor or manager. Verbally notifying them is the first thing you must do. Once you notify them, document the injury in an email or letter. This helps your lawyer prove that you complied no matter how your employer handles the issue.
Seek medical attention. Your case may use your words, but the words coming from a licensed medical professional can help boost your credibility. Your employer can only conduct an onsite exam if it has in-house medical staff.
If your employer does not have in-house medical staff, then go to an emergency room, hospital, or clinic. In some cases, your employer must approve the physician who will examine you.
For the doctor or healthcare professional to properly address and document all of your injuries, make sure you disclose all the signs of damage and associated symptoms.
Get in touch with workers’ compensation attorney, who will help take you through all the required steps. Your lawyer can help you cover all the bases by making sure you have told your employer and doctor all the necessary points.
Your lawyer will help you fill out the official claim notice known as Form W-14.
How Can I File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
To properly protect your rights to receive benefits, it is important to start taking action immediately after the workplace accident happens. Delays can forfeit your rights to get compensation, and you do not want this to happen because you deserve to receive benefits.
Once you get into an accident, you are the one responsible to report the accident as soon as possible. Also, once you sustain the injury, you must tell your employer about the accident within thirty days of getting injured.
After reporting the accident to your employer, your employer is required by the law to file a First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease Form. Employers, who fail to do that, maybe faced with civil penalties. If your employer refuses to report your injury, we encourage you to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. This is because time can run out quickly, especially if you are not aware.
Is there another option? Yes! You can file your claim with George State Board of Workers’ Compensation. And you have one year limit to file the claim, and the one year limit starts on the day you got injured.
The Importance of Time in the Claims Process
If you want to file a claim, it is important to act immediately.
Many employees make one mistake, and that is waiting for a long time to file a workers’ compensation claim because they assume that they have a lot of time. However, it might not end up good for you if you are thinking this way. You may think you have enough money to protect yourself after the accident or you may fail to file a claim seeking compensation because you are afraid to “rock the boat”.
Remembering that you do not have unlimited time to file a claim can help you handle the workplace accident properly. Every workers’ compensation lawyer will tell you the importance of acting quickly because they know the window of opportunity might close and you cannot reopen it once it closes. If you fail to report your workplace injury within thirty-days after the accident occurred, you might never do anything with your claim if the window of opportunity closes.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Workers’ compensation benefits everyone involved, including your employer and the insurance company. This is the main objective of worker’s compensation. However, in some cases, the insurer may attempt to deny the claim. Call us if the insurer hesitates to provide you with the compensation you rightfully deserve. We will start the process immediately, and we will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Insurance carriers know some workers might try workers’ compensation fraud. This usually happens when a worker wants to get money from the insurance company by making fake or exaggerated claims. It is not in the best interest of the insurance providers to provide payment, so they may be reluctant to do this.
If your employer fears the claim might increase the premium it has to pay, it might deny a claim. Also, some employers might claim the accident did not occur by covering the incident.
Hiring the right worker’s compensation lawyer increase the chances of receiving the benefits you rightfully deserve, but you might never get what you deserve if you do everything yourself. A lawyer can help you with your case in different ways. First, your lawyer strengthens your case by gathering evidence, which includes medical records, witness accounts, and safety reports if they are available.
If you still do not get your claim after providing all the necessary information, the second thing your lawyer does is to demand your benefits are paid to you by filing an appeal with Georgia’s Workers’ compensation board.
Your lawyer can determine whether or not to pursue additional damages for the workplace injuries by looking at the facts of your case. These additional damages cover medical treatment, lost wages, and permanent or partial disability funds in Georgia.
If the person responsible for the accident was someone else and not your employer, then your employer may file a lawsuit against the person. A third party can contribute to the accident, e.g., a manufacturer making defective equipment.
How to Appeal a Denied Claim?
If a claim is filed and gets denied, you are still going to have options up your sleeve. Claims can be denied based on insurance providers and/or employers not approving of the compensation that is being paid. If your claim has been denied, it’s best to seek a quality workers’ compensation lawyer in Dunwoody to move forward with proceedings. This will help protect your legal rights and go through the appeal processes correctly.
When the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation denies a claim, you will receive access to all of the reasons why the claim was denied. After this, you can put in a request to have a hearing with the board.
The purpose of having a hearing is to make sure you can present all of the facts and evidence to the judge in a timely manner. This will allow you to include a variety of details including medical testimony, witness testimony, and your own testimony to help solidify the claim. This hearing is heard by a judge before the decision is made.
If there is a situation where the judge denies your claim, it is still possible to go ahead and appeal to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation insurance Appellate Division. It’s important to note, this has to be done within 20 days from when the claim was denied.
Can Independent Contractors Receive Workers’ Compensation?
Independent contractors have a unique set of laws in place within Georgia and don’t have access to workers’ compensation insurance. This is one of the reasons certain employers will push to have most of their employees listed as “independent contractors” legally.
Are you someone that is listed as an independent contractor in Georgia? If so, you will want to focus on finding other ways to gain access to benefits such as:
- Proving a Third-Party Controlled Your Planned Work Schedule
- Proving a Third-Party Controlled Your Working Conditions
- Proving a Third-Party Caused Your Accident
With years of experience in helping independent contractors, Calving Smith Law is the number one option to help you in situations such as these. We know what to look for and will make sure the claim goes through as soon as possible.
What If I Have Preexisting Injuries?
For individuals that are dealing with pre-existing injuries, you can still file a claim. A common myth that seems to spread among employees involves not being able to file a claim if there is an underlying condition you’re dealing with. For example, if you are dealing with leg pain and then get injured, this doesn’t mean you can’t seek access to workers’ compensation benefits. Georgia has specific regulations in place to make sure you can file a claim and get approved regardless of your pre-existing condition.
The reason Georgia law does this is to make sure employees still gain access to what is rightfully theirs. Most people will have some type of pre-existing injury, which means no one would be approved for workers’ compensation if that was used as a rule.
What If I’m Responsible for the Accident?
Each case is going to be unique when it pertains to a workplace accident. However, it doesn’t matter who caused the workplace accident. A good example of this would be an individual that was using a leaking machine slipped and fell due to the resulting puddle on the ground. If this causes an injury, the employee can simply file for workers’ compensation as required in the state of Georgia. The idea behind doing this is to offer injured employees an opportunity to protect themselves financially as they recover from a workplace injury.
This is called a no-fault system, however, there are a few exceptions in place. One of the exceptions would be claiming compensation when you were intoxicated during work hours, which impeded your ability to make safe, logical decisions. If this is proven to be true, you are not going to have the opportunity to receive compensation and the same goes for those under the influence of drugs.
In some cases, if the worker is proven to have been under the influence, the claim does get rejected. For those in a situation such as this, it is still possible to gain access to your benefits by speaking to a qualified attorney in Dunwoody.
Can I File a Personal Injury Suit?
While the no-fault system has its advantages, there are certain disadvantages to including not being allowed to move forward with a lawsuit against your employer. Due to how the workers’ compensation system is set up, any business in the state of Georgia is protected against lawsuits such as these from their employees. This means you can’t set up a personal injury lawsuit even if the business was at-fault. You can only put forward a detailed claim for workers’ compensation. The same applies to your co-workers that were at-fault for the accident.
The only time you can move forward with any type of personal injury lawsuit is when a third-party is involved. For example, let’s assume a tool that you were using to complete your task broke down and led to an injury, it’s possible to go after the third-party manufacturer.
Call A Dunwoody Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now!
For those interested in seeking qualified legal advice, please take the time to reach out to our law firm at Calvin Smith Law right away. We will make sure to fight your case the right way.