Many workers in Georgia who suffer on-the-job injuries have a safety net to help them to continue to take care of themselves and their families. It’s the state’s workers’ compensation system. While an Albany workers compensation attorney can help you to get the workers compensation benefits you deserve, you also need to know how the system works.
Workers compensation benefits are designed to help to cover the costs you’ll incur as a result of your injuries. You’ll be able to recover your medical expenses as well as some of your wages. If you suffer temporary or permanent disabilities, you should also be compensated for these.
Workers comp is supposed to be a relatively simple way to get compensation. However, there are lots of rules and procedures that will have an impact on your case. You may not be able to get fair compensation if you don’t take the right steps. Here are some of the things you need to know about Georgia’s workers compensation system.
You Can Get Benefits Even If You’re Responsible for Your Injury
Workers comp is a no-fault system. For the most part, it doesn’t matter how your injury occurred. As long as your injury was work-related, you should be able to get compensation even if you were responsible for the accident that caused it. If you slipped and fell on a wet floor that you were mopping, you may be somewhat responsible for your injuries. However, this won’t prevent you from accessing benefits.
There are some exceptions to the no-fault concept. For example, if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when you got injured, your claim may be denied. This doesn’t mean that you can’t recover compensation if drugs or alcohol are found in your system. However, you would have to prove that your drug or alcohol use didn’t cause the injury and you would have been hurt even if you were sober.
You Can Claim Workers Compensation Benefits if You Have a Pre-existing Condition
You may have heard that you can’t get benefits if you had a similar previous injury. However, this isn’t the case. You can still claim compensation if your condition was aggravated by a workplace injury. The benefits would cover only the aggravation of your injury and not the underlying issue.
Let’s say you suffered from back pain because of a car accident that occurred a few months ago. Your condition was under control thanks to medication. However, after you slipped and fell on the job, the pain is more severe, and your medication is no longer working. Since your pain would have been manageable were it not for the fall, you should be able to claim compensation.
You Won’t Lose Your Benefits If You Get Fired
Your employer can fire you for any reason or no reason at all in Georgia since it’s an employment-at-will state. Unless you have a contract stating otherwise, your employer can terminate your employment whenever they want. However, you would typically still be entitled to any outstanding or ongoing workers compensation benefits.
You Can’t File A Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Your Employer or Your Coworkers
Even if your employer caused your injuries, the workers compensation system bars you from suing them. The same applies if a coworker’s negligence led to the accident. Since you don’t have to prove fault, filing for workers compensation benefits should be easier than filing a personal injury lawsuit. That being said, if a third party such as a product manufacturer or a driver was responsible for the accident, you can seek damages from this entity. You can file a third-party lawsuit while receiving workers compensation benefits.
You Have to Choose Your Doctor from an Approved List
Many workers wonder if they can choose their own doctor. Your employer should provide you with a list of medical providers from whom you can seek treatment. The list should include at least six doctors or a managed care organization that offers additional options. You can only choose another treating physician if your employer’s panel is invalid for some reason.
It’s Highly Recommended that You Hire a Lawyer
You have the right to represent yourself when you file a workers compensation benefits claim. However, many injured workers find that it’s best to hire an experienced lawyer to handle their case. Your attorney will ensure that you follow the law and submit strong evidence to support your claim.
Get Guidance from Calvin Smith Law Today
Let our Albany workers’ comp lawyers help you to get the compensation you deserve after a workplace injury. We’ll evaluate your case and work hard to ensure you access the benefits to which you’re entitled. Book a consultation today.