It can be very inconvenient and catastrophic to become injured on the job. It often includes endless doctor’s bills, pain and suffering, and constantly fighting with your employer about who caused the accident. If you were injured at work, don’t allow it to stress you out. Call a Sandy Springs workers compensation lawyer instead.
Our personal injury attorneys in Sandy Springs are experts in this field and know precisely what needs to be done. That allows you to focus on healing from your injuries and your recovery.
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What is Workers Compensation?
Whenever a worker becomes injured while on the job, you are entitled to the following under Georgia Workers Compensation:
- Medical treatment, including hospital stays, that are covered by your employer’s insurance company.
- Temporary total disability benefits when you are forced to be out of work for a certain amount of time
- Any necessary travel expenses
- Physical therapy
An employee may also be entitled to receive vocational rehabilitation. Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. That is why you should speak to a lawyer in Sandy Springs, GA, who specializes in this particular field.
What are the Most Common Reasons for Needing Workers’ Compensation?
Injuries can occur in any kind of work. Working at a construction site is among the most dangerous. Many people are not surprised to hear this. On-the-job injuries are monitored very carefully by the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration, to attempt to stop the causes of death known as the “Fatal Four” which are “struck by an object,” “caught-in/between,” falls, and electrocutions.
The following are the 10 most common injuries:
- Accidents while working with machinery or tools
- Construction accidents
- Accidents while traveling for business
- Joint Pain
- Slip and fall
- Hearing loss
- Neck/Back Injuries
What Should I Do Right After A Work Injury Occurs?
The first thing that you should do is tell your employer that you have been injured. You have 30 days to do this, and there is a very good chance that a coworker or supervisor has contacted your manager. We strongly encourage you to call a lawyer after that. You are not required under law to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company or your employer. Calvin Smith Law advised against providing a statement since it can be used against you quite easily.
The aim of workers’ compensation is to return you to full health and help you get back on your feet. However, you may be pressured to return to work before you have fully recovered.
Does Your Employer Offer Workers’ Comp?
You may not know whether or not your employer has workers’ compensation available if you have not received it before. One thing that does prevent many cases from being filed every year is the lack of awareness of workers’ compensation.
Many individuals believe that workers’ compensation only applies to large companies and major corporations and is an “employee perk” that comes with other benefits that are offered.
How Can You Tell If Your Employer Offers Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Depending on the company’s structure, it may not be an option. In Georgia, employers with over three employees are legally required to offer workers’ compensation. Even small businesses must have this coverage when they have at least employees. If you work for a sub-contractor who does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, the actual contractor may be held liable for this coverage.
If any of the situations above apply to your individual situation, you should call Calvin Smith Law right away so that you can begin to speak to an attorney who can provide you with guidance and advice on your workers’ compensation case.
What Benefits Are Offered By Workers’ Compensation?
An Employee Handbook is provided by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation that details the benefits that an injured worker is entitled to receive. Some of the benefits available to a worker who has been injured on the job include the following:
Medical benefits. Whenever a worker becomes injured while on the job, they are entitled to receive reasonable medical benefits. They include doctors’ visits, hospital visits, medications, surgeries, rehabilitation, and more. You are not able to select your own doctor but instead you must choose from a list that the workers’ compensation insurance company provides to you.
Income benefits. You are eligible to recover income benefits if you have been forced to miss work due to your injury. The benefit is available to workers who have missed at least seven days of work due to an accident. If the time extends to over 21 days, you will get paid for the initial seven days of work that you missed. If your accident was catastrophic, you will receive benefits for the amount of time you have not been able to return to work. If you had a non-catastrophic accident, you can be paid benefits for up to 400 weeks.
Death benefits. An injury can sometimes cause death. If that is the situation, the dependents of the worker can receive death benefits. These benefits include compensation for lost wages, burial expenses, and funeral costs.
If you are eligible to receive income benefits, it will be the equivalent of two-thirds of your weekly wages, until you have received the maximum amount that is allowed.
What Are The Steps That Are Involved After a Workplace Injury Has Been Suffered?
After you have been in an accident, it is quite normal to begin to get overwhelmed by your pain and confusion, in addition to all of your anxiety. There are some cases where an individual might feel a bit embarrassed. It can make you feel like your best option is to go on with your work and misrepresent how severe your injury is or even fail to disclose your injury at all.
The last thing that many workers want to do is to “rock the boat” particularly if they have a competitive position and there are many people who are interested in their job and who are waiting for the employer to begin hiring more workers.
Remember that timing is quite important after you have been in a workplace accident that results in injuries. The following are the steps that you should take following an accident:
- Report your injury to your manager or supervisor as soon as you can. The first thing you should do is verbally notify them and then document the injury in a letter or email. That will help your attorneys prove that you were in compliance no matter how the issue is handled by your employer.
- Seek out medical attention. Your case will use your words, and your credibility will be bolstered by the words of a licensed medical professional as well. Your employer might have in-house medical staff to conduct an onsite exam.
- If that is not the case in your situation, then you should go to a clinic, hospital, or emergency room. In some situations, you might need to be examined by a physician who has been approved by your employer.
- Make sure to disclose all signs of damage and associated symptoms to ensure that all of your injuries are properly addressed and documented by the healthcare professional or doctor.
- Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. The attorney will help guide you through all of the necessary steps. That will include points you need to tell your doctor and employers and to ensure that all bases are covered.
Your attorney can help fill out Form WC-14, which is an official claim notice.
How To File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
In order to ensure that your rights to receive benefits are protected properly, it is essential to begin to take action just as soon as you can following your workplace accident. You don’t want your rights to receive compensation forfeited due to any delays.
After you have been injured, you are responsible to immediately report the incident. You are required to inform your employer of your accident within thirty days of sustaining the injury.
After you report your accident to the employer, the law requires your employer to file an Occupational Disease Form or First Report of Injury. They can be faced with civil penalties if they fail to do that. If they refuse to report your injury, seek legal counsel as quickly as possible – otherwise, the time could run out easily without you being aware.
Another option is to file your claim with the George State Board of Worker’ Compensation. There is a one-year time limit to do this, starting on the day that your accident occurred.
Why Time is So Important in the Claims Process
When filing a claim, it is essential to act promptly.
One mistake that many people tend to make is to assume they have plenty of time to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, thinking this way will not end well for you. Maybe you think you have enough money to keep yourself protected following the accident – or perhaps you are afraid to “rock the boat” by filing a claim to seek compensation.
To handle your workplace injury properly, it is essential to remember that you don’t have an unlimited amount of time. All worker compensation attorneys will tell you that it is very important to act quickly since the window of opportunity may close and once it does it cannot be reopened. If you do not report your workplace accident within the thirty-day time frame following the accident, your window of opportunity may be close before you can do anything about your claim.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The major aim of workers’ compensation is to benefit everyone who is involved – from the employer to their insurance company. However, there are times when the insurer will attempt to deny the claim. If you notice they are hesitant to provide you with the compensation that you deserve, speak to us since we can help you get the process started to receive compensation.
Insurance carriers are aware that some employees attempt workers’ compensation fraud. That occurs when an employee makes fake or exaggerated claims to receive money from an insurance provider. Insurance companies may be reluctant to provide payment since it is not in their best interest to do this.
Employers also can deny a claim when they are afraid it will increase the premium amount they have to pay, or decide to cover the incident up and claim the accident never occurred.
When you hire a lawyer to represent you it will increase your chances of you receiving the benefits that you deserve as compared to what you could receive on your own. There are several ways that your attorney can help you with your case. First, the lawyer can gather evidence to strengthen your case. That can include witness accounts, medical records, and safety reports whenever possible.
If your claim is still denied even with all of that information, the next step for your attorney to take is to file an appeal with Georgia’s workers’ compensation board and demand that your benefits be paid to you.
Your attorney will look at your case’s fact to determine whether or not to seek additional damages caused by the injuries you suffered in a workplace accident. In the state of Georgia, this can cover permanent or partial disability funds, lost wages, and medical treatment.
If there was another person other than your employer who was responsible for your accident, then your lawyer will consider a lawsuit against this third-party. Third parties may be manufacturers of defective equipment that could have contributed to your accident.
How to Appeal a Claim That Has Been Denied
If your employer or the insurance company responsible for paying workers’ compensation denies your claim, that you have the right to take legal action. In order to safeguard your interest, be sure to hire an experienced workers compensation attorney in Sandy Springs who can handle the entire process of appealing your denied claim.
Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ compensation will send you a notification if they deny your claim, and it will explain why they have denied it. When that occurs, you have the right to request a hearing before the board.
You will have the chance to present your evidence that supports your workers’ compensation claim. There are certain pieces of evidence that you can present in front of the board, including your testimony, witness testimony, expert testimony (from medical professionals), and any other type of evidence that may help to support your claims. This hearing will occur in front of a judge, who will make the decision regarding your workers’ compensation claim.
If the judge issues a decision that is not favorable to you, your claim is not over yet. You can file an appeal with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation insurance Appellate Division. The appeal must be filed within 20 days from the date you were given notice that your claim was denied.
Are Independent Contractors Eligible To Receive Workers’ Compensation?
In the state of Georgia, independent contractors normally do not have any workers’ compensation coverage. That makes it easy for employers to want to classify employees as independent contractors instead so they don’t need to pay for workers’ compensation coverage.
There are still ways to be eligible for benefits if you work as an independent contractor. Some of those ways include:
- If a third party is providing you with a structured work schedule
- If you are not in personal control of your working conditions
- If another entity, company, or individual dictates the mean by which an accident victim completes their job
Our Calvin Smith Law attorneys will work closely with you in order to determine whether or not your employer misclassified you. When that is the case, we will get started with filing a claim for you.
What about Preexisting Injuries?
There are some individuals who are afraid that they cannot be successful with their claim due to having a preexisting injury. For example, if someone had previous back pain and is concerned they may not receive the compensation that they deserve since the employer will claim that their medical issues were there prior to the accident.
Fortunately, Georgia law protects these people. You are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits even when you had a preexisting injury if an accident aggravates or exacerbates it. The reality is many individuals have preexisting conditions that they have to deal with and attempting to exclude these individuals means that practically no one will be protected under the law when they are seeking compensation.
What if I Was At Fault For the Accident?
It does not matter whether your employer or you caused the workplace accident. For example, if the floor is wet and you slip and fall after the machine you were using leaked water, you might have been partially responsible for your injury. However, under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws, it will not prevent you from receiving compensation. This compensation system is to protect workers, even if they contributed to the accident.
A no-fault basis is used by the system. However, there are certain exceptions to the rule. Under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act, you are not allowed to claim compensation for death or injury due to intoxication by alcohol or as the result of working while you were under the influence of drugs or controlled substances such as marijuana.
If an employee was drunk or high when the accident took place, their claim may be denied. If your system shows the presence of alcohol or drugs, it doesn’t automatically mean you are not allowed to recover compensation. If you are able to show the accident would have occurred even if you had been sober, that will mean that intoxication did not cause the accident, and your claim will be able to proceed.
Am I Allowed to File a Personal Injury Suit?
One of the disadvantages of a no-fault system is you are not allowed to sue your employer, even when they are at fault. In Georgia, the workers’ compensation system provides immunity from these types of suits for co-workers and employers. Even if your employer was negligent, you cannot sue them for personal injury. The same thing is true for co-workers. They cannot be sued even if they caused your workplace accident.
However, you are still able to file claims against third parties who are not your co-worker or employer. If somebody from another company causes your accident due to their negligence or actions when then results in an injury, you are able to file for damages against this third-party in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Talk to a Sandy Springs Workers Compensation Lawyer Today!
If you were injured at work, don’t hesitate to call Calvin Smith Law. Our Sandy Springs personal injury firm can help you receive the money that you deserve for injuries you have sustained so that your life can get back on track.