Being in a situation where you get injured while working is a challenging proposition. It can become a life-altering reality with a long list of problems including the pain from your injury, medical fees, and having to haggle with your employer for compensation. If you are someone that is going through this ordeal right now, it’s important to relieve yourself of the stress right away. To get started on a solution, call one of the best Marietta workers compensation lawyers at Calvin Smith Law.
With years of experience, our team of personal injury attorneys in Marietta will make sure to create a personalized strategy that yields great results. We will make sure you can focus on getting healthier while we worry about the legal process of the claim.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
A worker that has been injured while working has legal rights under regulations put in place by law in Marietta, Georgia.
- Access to Physical Therapy
- Medical Treatment (i.e. Hospital Stays)
- Travel Fees
- Total Disability Benefits for Lost Wages
If you are someone that has been injured, it’s important to claim these benefits right away including vocational rehabilitation. Workers’ compensation regulations will differ place to place, but it’s always best to reach out to a qualified legal professional in Georgia to learn more.
What are the Most Common Reasons for Needing Workers’ Compensation?
Getting injured is something that can happen out of the blue. It can happen almost anywhere, but construction sites are often noted for being the most likely to cause injuries. Those working in these types of locations will eventually end up dealing with an injury making it important for businesses to understand occupational safety regulations.
A lot of time is spent by the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration on figuring out what can be done to stop these deaths including falls, electrocutions, getting struck by an object, or getting caught in or between something.
Here are some of the most common injuries in workplaces:
- Accidents While Traveling
- Accidents While Using Machines/Tools
- Slip and Fall
- Neck/Burn Injuries
- Construction Accidents
- Joint Pain
What Should I Do Right After A Work Injury Occurs?
Once an injury happens at work, it’s important to immediately notify your employer of the event. This should be done within the first 30 days from the time your injury takes place. This ensures everything moves along at the desired pace including having your supervisor notify management about what has taken place. After this, it’s time to reach out to a personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal rights in Georgia and what can be done to put in a claim with the employer’s insurance company. It’s also recommended to avoid giving out legal statements to any third party as it may compromise your case.
The purpose behind workers’ compensation is to make sure you have the ability to heal and enjoy life again. There is never a good reason to get pressured into returning to work when you aren’t healthy.
How Do I Know If My Employer In Georgia Offers Workers’ Comp?
Each situation is going to be unique and it’s important to analyze whether or not your employer offers workers’ compensation. A lot of workers don’t realize their employer does have workers’ compensation and they end up missing out on making a claim.
A common assumption that is made by employees involves assuming only the largest employers in the nation offer workers’ compensation when that is untrue. Most employers will have some form of protection in place.
In general, it’s workers’ compensation depends on how the company is set up. Georgia has a specific law in place for companies with 3+ employees, which legally requires the business to have workers’ compensation available.
As a result, even smaller businesses are expected to provide complete coverage to their employees. For those working with sub-contractors that are not offering access to workers’ compensation insurance, your contractor may have to foot the bill instead.
If you can relate to any of the situations that have been highlighted above, it’s time to speak to a professional at Calvin Smith Law as soon as possible. We will take the time to sit down with you and craft a personalized legal strategy and make sure you win your workers’ compensation case.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Compensation Offer In Georgia?
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation has specific benefits in place for injured workers. There is a detailed Employee Handbook designed to make sure employees have legal rights in these situations when they get injured at work.
These benefits include:
If a worker gets injured while working, they can legally receive access to medical compensation for all related fees. This can include a myriad of fees such as hospital visits, doctors’ visits, surgeries, medications, rehab, and more. Please note, you are going to have to go through the insurance company to make sure you visit a verified doctor from their list.
If a worker gets injured while working, they can legally receive income benefits for any missed work. The idea behind this type of benefit is to help those who end up missing 7+ days of work due to their workplace accident. If a person goes past the 21-day mark due to their injury, they will receive immediate payment for the first 7 days. For those dealing with a more severe accident due to work, they will receive benefits for all of their missed time. For those that are deemed to not have been in a catastrophic accident, you receive benefits for up to 400 weeks.
For those who get injured and end up dying due to the accident, there are death benefits in place. These death benefits can include lost wages, funeral costs, and burial expenses.
For those who are able to receive income benefits. you can end up gaining access to 2/3 of your weekly wages until the maximum is hit.
What Are The Steps That Are Involved After a Workplace Injury Has Been Suffered?
For the average person that goes through this ordeal, it’s normal to start getting frustrated due to the pain and discomfort. Having to also deal with work-related anxiety becomes overwhelming, which is why it’s important to seek legal assistance. A lot of people assume it’s better to head to work in pain when that is the worst thing a person can do for their health.
There is never a good reason to do this and it’s best to position yourself legally to receive proper benefits. This is the best way to make sure you receive benefits and can recover correctly.
When you are dealing with a workplace accident, you need to act quickly and smartly.
This includes following specific steps such as:
Taking the time to report the injury to a manager/supervisor so they can take it to management right away. This should be done both verbally and in written form to make sure you have proof. By doing this, you are going to have clear-cut evidence of notifying the employer within the recommended period.
You should also seek medical attention. Having medical proof from a qualified medical professional will go a long way in authenticating your injury.
It’s best to go to a certified clinic/hospital/emergency room right away and ensure a physician takes a look at what is going on with your body.
When you are speaking to the physician, it’s recommended to let them know about everything you are experiencing. Do not leave symptoms out and make sure they are aware of every little detail.
You have to also take the time to speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer. The legal professional will know what to do in a situation like this and can guide you heading into the future.
You should expect to fill out a Form WC-14 to file your claim.
How To File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
There is nothing more important than taking action as soon as the injury occurs. This will make it easier to fight for your legal rights and get the benefits that are rightfully yours in a situation such as this. You don’t want to be in a spot where the workers’ compensation isn’t available because you didn’t act swiftly.
If you have been injured, it’s best to report the accident to your employer and visit a hospital or clinic immediately.
In most cases, you are going to be expected to report the accident to your employer and they are going to want you to fill out a specific form such as the First Report of Injury form or Occupational Disease form. They have legal obligations to do this and can end up facing severe penalties for not doing so. If they don’t do this, you should speak to a lawyer right away and learn more about your legal rights.
It’s also possible to file a claim through the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. You have to do this within 12 months from the time of your accident.
Why Does Time Matter When Filing for Workers’ Comp in Georgia?
There are several reasons for filing a claim as quickly as possible.
It’s common for people to assume they have a lot of time to react when it comes to a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work out as intended and they end up missing out on the benefits. It’s important to act right away, so you have the time to recover properly and fight for your rights without compromising.
If you are dealing with any type of workplace injury, it’s best to understand the importance of time right away. You are going to want to reach out to a qualified personal injury attorney to understand what can be done in your case, so the window of opportunity doesn’t slip away. If this happens, you may find it hard to receive benefits that you are legally entitled to.
Why Should I Hire a Marietta Lawyer for Workers’ Compensation?
In general, the reason to think about workers’ compensation is to ensure you are appropriately protected by the employer and insurance company. You don’t want a situation where the insurance company doesn’t push your claim through. Allow our team an opportunity to help out and make things as easy as they should be for you.
Most insurance agencies understand the presence of workers’ compensation fraud. This leads to employees seeking benefits for false or exaggerated claims as a way to receive compensation. This is why insurance agencies will often hesitate when it is time to pay up.
In some situations, employers will also get in the way of a claim as they don’t wish to pay the premium on their policy or wish to protect their business from potential liability issues due to the accident.
It’s recommended to speak to a qualified lawyer as this will ensure you do gain access to the compensation you deserve in a timely manner. There is nothing worse than dealing with something like this and not having appropriate legal representation by your side. Our law firm will make sure the process is handled well from day one and all relevant evidence is collected including safety reports, witness accounts, and medical records.
If the claim doesn’t go through, allow our law firm an opportunity to put together an appeal through Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Board.
When an attorney starts helping out, you will gain access to relevant information regarding local regulations, compensation options, and how it compares to your case. In Georgia, employees can seek compensation for lost wages, medical fees, and permanent/partial disability.
When there is a situation where a third party is responsible for the accident, you will also have to consider filing a separate lawsuit against them. This can include someone like a manufacturer for equipment that was being used during the accident.
Can I Appeal a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If the claim is denied because your employer or the insurance agency is getting in the way, it’s possible to move forward through a qualified workers compensation attorney in Marietta. This will ensure you are treated the right way and see appropriate results quickly.
In the state of Georgia, the state board will send a notification if the claim doesn’t go through as intended. If necessary, you can also file for an appeal in front of the board.
When the appeal goes through, you can collect all types of relevant evidence and put in front of the board. It is important to have the evidence ready to go as it will make it easier to provide viable testimony from medical professionals regarding the accident and your medical history. The board will often include a judge that makes this decision.
What happens if the judge doesn’t decide in your favor? There is no reason to lose hope as you can move forward by filing an appeal with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation Insurance Appellate Division. This needs to be done in less than 20 days from when the first claim was denied.
Are Independent Contractors Eligible To Receive Workers’ Compensation?
Independent contractors are usually not protected by workers’ compensation coverage. This is why employers often aim to list their employees as independent contractors to get around giving compensation or paying high premiums.
If you are in this type of situation, it’s still possible to receive benefits.
This can include:
- Scheduling Changes Made By a Third Party
- Lack of Personal Control with Working Conditions
- Lack of Personal Control in How a Job is Completed
Our attorneys at Calvin Smith Law will take the time to pour through your case as an independent contractor before coming up with a viable strategy. This includes taking the time to put together a comprehensive claim so you receive appropriate compensation as soon as you need it.
What about Pre-Existing Injuries?
In some cases, there are times when individuals already have pre-existing injuries and that makes them anxious about filing a claim. A good example of this would be an individual that was working through back pain and then got injured due to an accident at work. They may not want to file for compensation because they were already dealing with back pain prior to the accident.
There is no reason to worry if you are an individual that falls under this category. You are protected in the state of Georgia and can still receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless of whether or not you have a pre-existing injury. If the accident causes the injury to get worse then you are still going to have the ability to file a claim with the insurance company. The reason for this has to do with most individuals having some sort of pre-existing condition they are dealing with and this shouldn’t remove them from removing workers’ compensation benefits.
What if I Was At Fault For the Accident?
The at-fault party doesn’t matter in situations such as these. Let’s assume you were working in a building and the floor was wet leading you to slip and get hurt. In a situation such as this, you could be held responsible, especially if the leaked water came from a machine you were using. However, even if you were partially responsible, you can still file for compensation. The system is designed to keep workers safe even if they were partially responsible for what happened.
In general, there is a no-fault setup with the legal system. As long as you are not seeking compensation for something that happened due to you being in a state of intoxication, everything else can still be claimed. The only time there are concerns about an employee’s claim has to do with whether or not they were under the influence (i.e. alcohol, marijuana).
When an employee is under the influence and an accident takes place, the claim may not go through as planned. This has to do with the employee not following rules and not being in the right state of mind to protect themselves. Does this mean it’s impossible to gain compensation for your injury? No, it is still possible as long as you can showcase sobriety at the time of the accident and how it didn’t lead to the accident taking place (i.e. it would have happened regardless of your state).
Am I Allowed to File a Personal Injury Suit?
Since Georgia has a no-fault system, you are not permitted to sue the employer regardless of how guilty they are. The workers’ compensation system is designed to keep both parties safe while offering a way to seek compensation. Assuming your employer wasn’t following regulations, you can still not file a lawsuit. You also can’t file lawsuits against co-workers for the same reason.
The only time you are able to put in a claim is when there is a third party involved. Since they are not in the same company as you, they are fair game, especially if their actions led to your injury.
Talk to a Marietta Workers Compensation Lawyer Today!
For those who were injured at work, please take the time to call Calvin Smith Law and get started with your claim right away. Our Marietta personal injury firm will assess your claim during a free consultation and advise you on your best legal options.