Getting injured on the job can be disastrous, and it can inconvenience you. It usually leads to pain and suffering, medical bills, and constant fighting with your employer to know the party responsible for the accident. Do not stress yourself if you get injured at work. Instead, get in touch with our Johns Creek workers compensation lawyers.
We have personal injury lawyers in Johns Creek who are knowledgeable in this field, so they will know exactly what to do. This gives you enough time to heal from your injuries and to recover fully.
What is Workers Compensation?
Under Georgia Workers Compensation, workers are entitled to the following when they get injured while on their jobs:
- Physical therapy
- Travel expenses, if necessary
- If you cannot work for a certain amount of time, you get temporary total disability benefits
- Medical treatment, which includes hospital stays that your employer’s insurance company covers
As an employee, you can also be entitled to get vocational rehabilitation, but not all worker’s compensation laws are the same in every state. That is why we recommend you talk to a lawyer in Johns Creek, Georgia, specializing in this specific field.
What are the Main Reasons Workers Need Worker’s Compensation?
Accidents can happen in any type of work. It is more dangerous to work at a construction site. That is why many people do not get surprised when they hear this. The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration attempts to prevent deaths by carefully monitoring on-the-job injuries, and the causes of the death are called the “Fatal Four” which are electrocutions, falls, “caught-in/between,” and “struck by an object.”
Continue reading to know the 10 most common injuries:
- Neck/Back Injuries
- Hearing loss
- Slip and fall
- Joint Pain
- Accidents while on business travel
- Construction accidents
- Accidents caused by machinery or tools
What Should I Do Immediately After A Work Injury Happens?
Telling your employer that you have been injured is the first thing you should do. You have 30 days to tell your employer, but there is still a big chance your supervisor or coworker might contact your manager. We highly recommend you call an attorney after telling your employer. The law does not require you to record a statement for your employer or the insurance company. At Cavin Smith Law, we know it is easy for a recorded statement to be used against you, so we advise against providing it.
The objective of workers’ compensation is to help you return to full health and get back to your work as soon as possible. However, it is easy to get back to work before you fully recover because you have a lot of responsibilities.
How Do I Know My Employer Offers Workers’ Comp In Georgia?
It is difficult to know if your employer offers workers’ compensation, especially if you have never received it before. The lack of awareness of workers’ comp is one of the main things preventing several cases from being filed every single year.
Many people believe major corporations and large companies only offer worker’s compensation, and they also believe workers’ comp comes with other benefits like an “employee perk”.
Worker’s comp may not be an option, but this depends on the structure of the company. The law requires employers in Georgia with more than three employees to provide workers’ compensation. Even small businesses with a few employees are required to have this coverage. An actual contractor can be responsible by law for this coverage if the sub-contractor, you are working for, does not have workers’ comp insurance.
Does one of these situations apply to your situation? If yes, we encourage you to call Cavin Smith Law immediately. Our attorneys will speak to you, and they will offer you professional advice and guidance concerning your worker’s comp case.
What Are The Benefits Covered Under Workers’ Comp?
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation provides an Employee Handbook, which provides all the details about the benefits injured workers are entitled to receive. The following are the benefits available to workers who have been injured while working on their jobs:
Workers are entitled to receive sensible medical benefits if they got injured while working on their job. Medical benefits include rehabilitation, surgeries, medications, hospital visits, doctor’s visits, and many more. The worker’s compensation insurance company provides a list of doctors. This means you cannot choose your doctor because you will only choose from the list the insurance company provides.
If you are forced to miss work because of your injury, you are entitled to recover income benefits. Workers, who missed more than seven days of work because of an injury, can recover income benefits. If you miss your work for more than 21 days, your employer will pay you for the first seven days you did not work. You will get benefits for the amount of time you have not been working if the accident was disastrous. And you may still get paid benefits for up to 400 weeks if the accident was not disastrous.
Unfortunately, an employee might die due to the injury caused by the workplace accident. If this happens, the dependent of the employee may receive death benefits, including compensation for funeral costs, burial expenses, and lost wages.
Income benefits, you are entitled to receive, is equal to two-thirds of your weekly wages, and you will receive the income benefits until you receive 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 a W-14 Form.
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.
How Long Do I Have to Report a Work Injury in Johns Creek?
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 Workers Compensation Claim
You have the right to take legal action if your claim is denied because your employer or the insurance provider in charge of workers’ compensation does not want to pay. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Johns Creek to help you appeal your denied claim is the best way to safeguard your interest. This is because your lawyer will handle the entire appeal process.
If Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ compensation denies your claim, it sends you a notification and gives you all the reasons they denied your claim. If this happens, you can request a hearing before the board.
Requesting a hearing gives you a chance to support your workers’ compensation claim by presenting your evidence in front of the board. The evidence you can present include expert testimony, especially from medical professionals, witness testimony, your testimony, and any evidence that will help support your claim. The hearing occurs in front of a judge, and the judge will be the one making the final decision regarding your claim.
Fortunately, your claim does not stop here, even if the judge makes a decision that is unfavorable to you. There is the State Board of Workers’ Compensation insurance Appellate Division, where you can file an appeal with. However, you must file an appeal within 20 days from the date you got the notification that your claim was denied.
Can Independent Contractors Receive Workers’ Compensation?
Independent contractors in the state of Georgia do not have workers’ compensation insurance. That is why many employers want to classify their workers as independent contractors because they do not want to pay for workers’ compensation insurance.
Do you work as an independent contractor in Georgia? If yes, the following are some of the ways you can be eligible for benefits:
- If you cannot personally control your working conditions
- If a third party provides you with a planned work schedule
- If another individual, company, or entity controls the means, which the accident victim uses to do their job
Here at Calvin Smith Law, our lawyers will help you determine whether or not your employer has misclassified you. If this is the case, we will begin to file a claim for you immediately.
What If I Have Preexisting Injuries?
Some workers with preexisting injuries do not file a claim because they are afraid their claim will be denied because of their preexisting injuries. For example, if the worker had previous back pain, the worker may doubt that they will receive the compensation they deserve because their employer might claim the worker had that medical issue before the workplace injury.
The good thing is that these workers are protected by Georgia law. If you have a preexisting injury and a workplace accident exacerbates or aggravates it, you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In reality, many people are now dealing with preexisting conditions, so if an attempt is made to exclude these people from seeking compensation, it practically means the law does not protect anyone.
What If I’m Responsible for the Accident?
Whether you or your employer caused the workplace accident does not matter. For instance, you might slip and fall if the floor is wet, especially if the machine you used was leaking water. If this happens, you might be partially responsible for the injury. However, you can still receive compensation under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. This compensation system helps to protect employees, even if the employees are responsible for a workplace injury.
The system uses a no-fault basis, but there are some exceptions to the rule. You cannot claim compensation for injury or death because of alcohol intoxication under Georgia’s Workers Compensation Act. This means you will not receive compensation if you were working under the influence of controlled substances, like marijuana, and other drugs.
The claim of the worker, who was high or drunk when the workplace accident occurred, might be denied. However, this does not automatically mean you cannot recover compensation if they find drugs or alcohol in your system. Your claim will proceed if you can show that the accident would have still taken place even if you were not intoxicated.
Can I File a Personal Injury Suit?
The main disadvantage of a no-fault system is the employer cannot be sued, even if the employer is at fault. The workers’ compensation system in Georgia offers protection from these types of suits for both employers and employees. You cannot sue your employer for personal injury even if they were negligent. This is also true for co-workers. You cannot sue your co-workers even if they caused the accident.
However, you are allowed to file claims against third parties that are not your employer or co-worker. If someone from another company is responsible for your workplace accident and you got injured in that accident, you can file for damage against that person. Also, you can file a workers’ compensation claim.
Call A Johns Creek Workers Compensation Lawyer Now!
Do not hesitate to give our Johns Creek injury law firm a call if you got injured at work. We can help you get the amount you deserve, and we want to help get your life back on track.