Work-related accidents can have both inconvenient and catastrophic consequences. These kinds of accidents often end up causing fatal injuries that come with severe pain and suffering, endless medical bills, and fighting with your employer regarding who was liable for the accident. If you suffered injuries on the job, don’t let that stress you; Instead, call a reputable Warner Robins workers’ compensation lawyer.
Our skilled personal injury lawyers in Warner Robins have a ton of experience in this niche and know exactly what’s needed to win you the compensation you deserve. That allows you to concentrate on your healing and recovery.
What is Workers Compensation?
When an employee is injured at work, under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation, he or she is entitled to the following:
- Medical treatment, including prescriptions and even in-patient, stays covered by the employer’s insurance provider
- Temporary total disability if the worker is forced to be unable to work for a specified period
- Necessary transport expenses
- Physical therapy
A worker may also be entitled to recover vocational rehabilitation. Note that workers’ compensation laws are different in every state. For this reason, consult a reputable attorney in Georgia who specializes in this particular area.
What Are The Top Reasons For Needing Workers’ Compensation?
No matter how many precautions we take, accidents and injuries can pop up in any kind of work setting. Working at construction sites, however, is by far the most dangerous workplace. Work-related injuries are monitored closely by OSHA, with the aim of reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by the “Fatal Four”: Slip and falls, struck by an object, electrocutions, and caught-in/between.
Below are the four most common job-related accidents:
- Construction site accidents
- Traveling for business accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Accidents while operating machinery and equipment
These accidents often cause the following injuries:
- Burns and lacerations
- Neck and back injuries
- Joint injuries
- Hearing loss
- Head and brain injuries
Which Steps Should I Take Right After A Work-Related Injury Occurs?
Before anything else, inform your employer about your injuries. Note that you have a limited time of thirty days to tell you, employer, about the accident and your injuries. We highly recommend that you look for a reputable attorney after talking with your employer. Many workers don’t know this, but an employee is not required to sign any statement or provide any recording. So, make sure you have an attorney by your side to prevent your employer from using any comments you make against you.
Workers’ compensation exists to help return workers to full health. Following the right steps after an injury at work can help you get the workers’ compensation you deserve and need to get you back on your feet.
Does Every Employer Offer Workers’ Compensation?
You may be wondering if your employer has workers’ compensation and if you qualify for it. The truth is, you are not alone. In fact, one of the primary reasons why there are few on-the-job injuries filed every year is because of a lack of enough information regarding workers’ compensation.
Many people believe that workers’ compensation is only for those who work for large corporations and is more of a privilege that comes with working for major companies.
However, that could not be more wrong, continue reading to learn more about workers’ compensation.
How Can I Tell If My Employer Offers Workers’ Comp Insurance?
In Warner Robins, Georgia, employers with more than three workers are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance. That means that even small businesses must have the workers’ comp coverage when they have over three employees.
If you are a technician or handyperson, and you work for a sub-contractor who does not have a workers’ compensation insurance coverage, then the contractor may be held accountable for this coverage. If you’re not sure if your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, call Calvin Smith Law today so that you can talk to a lawyer who can provide legal advice on your workers’ compensation claim.
What Are The Benefits Available Under Workers’ Compensation?
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation provides an Employee Handbook that clearly highlights the benefits that an injured employee can receive after a work-related accident. Some of the benefits entitled to workers injured on the job include:
When an employee sustains injuries while working, they are entitled to reasonable medical benefits. Medical benefits cover doctor’s visits, hospital visits, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and more. However, the worker cannot choose their doctor, but instead, he or she must pick from a list provided by the workers’ compensation insurance company.
As a worker, in the event that you are forced to miss work because of injuries sustained at work, you are entitled to income benefits. However, income benefits are available to workers who have missed more than seven days of work because of their injuries.
If you are not able to go to work for more than 21 days, then you are eligible to get paid for the initial seven days of work you missed. If your accident were severe, you would get benefits for all the days you were unable to return to work. On the other hand, if you were involved in a non-catastrophic accident at work, then you can receive income benefits for up to 400 weeks. Workers eligible for income benefits, receive an amount that is equivalent to two-thirds of their weekly wages.
On-the-job accidents can sometimes end with the death of a worker. Under such circumstances, the dependents of the deceased can claim death benefits. These benefits could include funeral and burial costs and compensation for lost income.
What’s the Best Course Of Action After a Workplace Injury Has Been Suffered?
After you’ve been part of a worksite accident, it’s understandable that you would feel overwhelmed by the pain, stress, and confusion, not to mention anxiety. There are even instances where an employee might feel stigmatized because of choosing to file a workers’ compensation claim. An accident at work can leave you thinking that the best course of action is to misrepresent the severity of your injuries or even fail to report your injuries, hoping to go on with your work.
Many workers tend to downplay their injuries, especially if they have a competitive position, and many colleagues are interested in their position. While protecting your job is essential, so is your health and overall wellbeing. If you’ve suffered injuries at work, don’t suffer alone in pain, call Calvin Smith Law for help.
Below is a look at an overview of the steps an employee should follow after a work-related accident:
The first thing you’ll want to do is report the accident and your injuries to your manager or supervisor as soon as possible. Verbally notify your employer of your injuries and then document your report in the form of an email or letter. Telling your employer about your injuries will help your lawyer prove that your actions were in compliance regardless of how the employer tackled the issue.
The obvious thing to do after an accident is to seek medical attention. So, do the same; your case will highly lean on your credibility, and your credibility will be bolstered by the testimony/report of a licensed medical expert as well.
Some companies have an in-house medical team to help conduct onsite medical examinations. If that’s not the case for you, you should go to the nearest hospital, clinic, or ER. However, check with your employer because, in some cases, a worker might need to be examined by a doctor who has been approved by the company.
Always tell the doctor about all the signs of damage and associated pain or symptoms. This way, you can be sure that all your injuries are properly documented and addressed by the 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.
The next step is to contact a reputable workers’ compensation attorney. A lawyer can help you take the best course of action and ensure that all bases are covered, including filling out form WC-14 – the official claim notice.
How Do I File A Workers’ Compensation Claim In Warner Robins?
The last thing any worker wants is to compromise their rights to receive workers’ compensation. It is crucial that you start to take action immediately after the workplace accident to protect your benefits. You don’t want delays to be the reason why you lose your compensation. After an accident at work, you are required to notify your employer within thirty days of suffering injuries.
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 quickly without you being aware.
You can also choose to file your claim with the George State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Note that there is a one-year deadline starting on the day of the worksite accident for filing this kind of claim.
Why Is Timing Crucial In The Claims Process?
When filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is crucial you act promptly.
Many workers assume that they have all the time in the world to file a workers’ compensation claim. On the contrary, wasting time could end up costing you the compensation you deserve. The fact is that you don’t have much time, and as you continue to wait, your window of opportunity may close before you even have a chance to seek compensation for your injuries. A trustworthy workers’ compensation lawyer will always stress the importance of taking action quickly.
Why Do I Need An Attorney For Workers’ Compensation?
The primary aim of workers’ compensation is to create a win-win situation for everyone involved – from the employer to the worker. Sadly, there are instances where the insurance company will attempt to deny a workers’ claim. If you notice that your employer’s insurance provider is hesitant to award you the compensation you deserve, call us because we can help get the process started to seek the compensation you deserve.
Insurance companies know that some workers feign injuries and attempt workers’ compensation fraud. Such incidents occur when an employee gives a false report regarding the severity of their injuries, hoping to receive free money from the insurance provider. Distinguishing fraudulent claims from honest ones can be challenging; as a result, insurance providers may be reluctant to award compensation for workers’ compensation claims.
An employer can deny a claim if they are afraid that doing so will increase the premium amount paid to the insurance provider. Some employers may even decide to sweep the whole thing under the rug and claim the incident never occurred.
When you work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, you automatically increase your chances of winning the benefits you deserve. An attorney can help you in different ways. For instance, a lawyer can gather evidence such as medical records and witness accounts to increase your claim’s persuasiveness.
If your employer or insurance provider denies your claim, your lawyer can take things to the next level and file an appeal with Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Board and fight for your benefits.
Your lawyer will review the facts and circumstances surrounding your case to decide whether to seek additional benefits or not. In Georgia, other benefits for a workers’ compensation claim can include lost wages and partial or permanent disability.
If there was another party other than your employer who liable for the accident, then your attorney will consider a claim against this other party. In this case, other parties may be the manufacturer of faulty equipment or machinery that could have played a role in the accident.
How Can I Appeal A Workers’ Comp Claim That Has Been Denied?
Is your employer or the insurer responsible for paying workers’ compensation, denying your claim? If so, you still have legal options to help you get the benefits you deserve. To safeguard your interests, choose a reputable and experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Warner Robins to help you appeal your denied claim.
If your claim is denied, Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation will relay the news and explain why your claim was denied. When that happens, you still have a right to appeal the decision and request a hearing before the board.
You will have the opportunity to show evidence that strengthens your workers’ compensation claim. Crucial pieces of evidence that can help you with your appeal before the board include witness testimony, your testimony, expert testimony, and any other reports or documents that can help support your claim. This appeal hearing will take place in front of a judge, who will have the final say regarding your workers’ compensation claim.
In case the judge’s decision is not in your favor, the fight for your claim is not over yet. You can proceed to file a different appeal with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation Insurance Appellate Division. This appeal must be filed within twenty days from the date you received a notice that your workers’ compensation claim was denied.
Can Independent Contractors Receive Workers’ Compensation?
In Georgia, independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation. That makes it easy for companies and small businesses to want to categorize employees as independent contractors to avoid paying workers’ compensation coverage.
Fortunately, there are still several ways for an independent contractor to be illegible for benefits.
- If a worker is not in control of their working conditions
- If a third party is responsible for creating your structured work schedule
- If another entity or individual has the power over the means by which a workplace accident victim performs/completes their job
Our lawyers at Calvin Smith Law will work closely with you, and witnesses to determine whether your employer intentionally misclassified you as an independent contractor. If we find that is the case, we will proceed to file a claim for you.
What About My Preexisting Injuries, Can They Affect My Claim?
Many people are afraid that they might not be eligible for workers’ compensation because of preexisting injures. Take, for example, a scenario where a worker had previous knee pain and is concerned that they may not get their benefits since the employer might assume that all their medical issues were present before the accident.
Luckily, Georgia state laws protect people with preexisting injuries. That means that an employee is eligible for workers’ compensation even if they had preexisting injuries and if the incident aggravates it. The fact is many people have preexisting conditions that they deal with every day, and attempting to separate these individuals is another way of saying that no one is protected when seeking workers’ compensation.
How Does An Employee’s Fault For An Accident Affect A Worker’s Comp Claim?
Typically, it doesn’t matter who if you caused the accident. For instance, if a machine you are operating leaks water, and you slip and fall, one can say that you are partially at-fault for the accident. In Georgia, employees are eligible for workers’ compensation even when they are partly responsible for their injuries.
While a no-fault basis is used in Georgia for workers’ compensation cases, there are exceptions. For example, under Georgia’s Workers Compensation Act, you are not allowed to seek compensation for injury or death resulting from intoxication by alcohol, or working under the influence of controlled substances or drugs.
That means that if an employee was under the influence of marijuana or drunk when the accident took place, then their claim could be denied. However, you can still seek compensation if you can prove that your intoxication was not the cause of the accident.
Can I File A Workers’ Compensation Claim And A Personal Injury Suit?
One of the main drawbacks of a no-fault workers’ compensation system is that employees are barred from suing their employers, even when the employer is clearly at fault. In Georgia, employers have immunity against employee lawsuits. The same applies to co-workers; you cannot sue your colleagues even if they were responsible for your worksite accident.
However, employees in Georgia can file lawsuits against third parties. For instance, if a manufacturer’s negligence causes an accident and you end up getting injured, you can sue for damages against this third party and also file your workers’ compensation claim.
Talk To An Experienced Warner Robins Workers Compensation Lawyer Today!
If you suffered injuries on the job, call Calvin Smith Law. Let us help you receive the benefits you deserve so that you can get back on your feet stronger than before. The process of juggling your workers’ compensation claim with getting medical care can feel daunting and overwhelming, but our Warner Robins injury firm can help!