When you sustain injuries on the job or develop an occupational illness, you are generally entitled to certain benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. In order for your benefits to kick in, you will need to file a claim with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC).
Before filing your claim, it is advisable to have a workers’ compensation lawyer review your case and help you with the documentation. The Bader Law Firm can help ensure you do not make mistakes on your claim and that you get the full amount of benefits to which you are entitled. Call us at 678-562-5595 and request a free consultation.
Am I eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation in Savannah?
Workers’ compensation covers most Georgia workers whenever they sustain an on-the-job injury or develop a work-related disease. There are a few basic requirements you will need to meet.
- You need to be an employee. Workers’ compensation does not cover independent contractors or self-employed individuals.
- The injury must have occurred in the scope and course of employment. In other words, your injury or illness must be work-related.
- You must not have been intoxicated when you were hurt; you must not have been involved in horseplay; and you must not have purposely injured yourself.
In a nutshell, that is really all that is required in order to qualify to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Of course, these cases can become more complex when insurers try to find ways to deny claims, so make sure you have the help you need.
How long do I have to file my workers’ compensation claim?
In most cases, workers have one year from the date of injury to file a claim. However, numerous factors can affect your time limit, and by no means should you wait until the last moment to file. The sooner you file, the better – not only because you will get your much-needed benefits sooner rather than later, but you will avoid accidentally overstepping the statute of limitations on filing for recovery.
Nevertheless, the actual time limit for filing your particular claim is not always cut-and-dry. The time limit may differ depending on the unique circumstances of your case. For instance, if your employer paid for remedial treatment for your work injury during the last year, you actually have one year from the date of your last treatment to file your claim.
If you have developed an occupational health condition, which sometimes takes time to manifest, your time limit is slightly different, as well.
- You have one year from the time your health condition manifested, or from the time you reasonably should have known that your job contributed to it, to file a claim.
- If a doctor diagnosed you with asbestosis or mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, the one-year clock begins ticking on your first date of disability.
- If your disease developed years after exposure to work-related hazards, you have to file your claim within seven years from the date of your last exposure to the hazard.
Note: These statutes of limitations on formally filing a claim for workers’ compensation are not synonymous with the time limit on informing your employer about your injury. While you may have a year to file a claim with the SBWC, the Board specifies that you must inform your employer about your injury within 30 days from the date you sustained it.
What kinds of benefits will I receive?
After you file your claim, your employer’s insurer will review your records and either approve or deny your claim. If the insurer approves your claim, you will have access to both medical benefits and income benefits.
Medical benefits include all reasonable and necessary medical care and transportation expenses for your work-related injuries. This includes diagnostic tests, hospital bills, specialist appointments, and follow-up care. If your injury causes you to miss time from work, you will also receive a weekly income replacement check, calculated at two-thirds of your average pre-injury wages. With serious accidents, you may also have access to certain rehabilitation benefits.
While these benefits will certainly be a godsend when you are recovering from your injury, they obviously do not fully compensate you. After all, workers’ compensation benefits only cover a portion – not 100 percent – of your lost wages and it does not cover certain damages such as pain and suffering.
TIP: There is a chance that you may be entitled to additional compensation outside of the workers’ compensation system. If a third party contributed to your accident (e.g., a driver, an elevator company, a cleaning crew, etc.), you might be able to file a third party liability claim. Your attorney can review your case and determine if you qualify.
Get Help Filing a Work Injury Claim in Savannah
If you are in need of counsel for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Savannah, contact our team at the Bader Law Firm for a free consultation. Call us today at 678-562-5595 and see how we may be of service to you.