When you are injured at work and denied workers’ compensation, your life suddenly turns from bad to worse in a matter of days. Getting injured on the job can be extremely difficult, especially if that is your only source of income. You have to find a way to support yourself and your family, yet at the same time, you are unable to go back to work. It may seem like you are out of options, however, there is hope out there for those seeking assistance with the filing of a workers’ compensation claim in Atlanta, GA.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation is a program paid by your employer that can provide you with rehabilitation, medical care, and income if you become injured at work. These benefits are provided to you to help you get back on your feet and return to work when you are able. The program also provides benefits to your dependents if you pass away due to complications related to your job injury.
Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Laws
Each state has its own rules when it comes to employees receiving compensation when they are injured on the job. In Georgia, employees are covered by workers’ compensation on their first day of work. Georgia law requires all businesses that have more than three employees, which includes both full-time and part-time workers, to have workers’ compensation insurance. If you need to find a physician, your employer is required to post information on medical care providers that will accept the insurance. Workers’ Compensation will pay for all your authorized medical treatment as long as it is for your work-related injury.
- Authorized doctor bills
- Hospital bills
- Physical therapy
- Any necessary travel expenses
If your accident occurred on or before July 1, 2013, you will receive lifetime medical benefits for health issues related to the job injury. If your accident happened on or after July 1, 2013, your medical care will be limited to a maximum time of 400 weeks following the date of the accident. The only way to receive lifetime benefits after July 1, 2013, is if your injury is considered to be catastrophic in nature.
Details on Receiving Benefits
If you are approved for workers’ compensation benefits, you will receive them on a weekly basis. You should expect to receive your first check within 21 days following your first day out of work. You should receive around two-thirds of your average weekly pay. Those involved in an accident that happened on or after July 1, 2016, cannot receive more than $575.00 per week.
How to File a Claim
When you are involved in a work accident, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation will provide you with Form WC-14. You will use this form to file your claim. If you need assistance obtaining this form, you can contact the State Board online, by mail, or by phone.
If you are denied benefits for your workers’ compensation claim, you will need to request a hearing before the State Board. A hearing is similar to a trial and the results are decided by an Administrative Law Judge who will hear both sides of the case and determine if you should receive benefits or not. The judge’s decision is based on both the facts involved and the law of the State of Georgia.
You don’t want to go into a workers’ compensation hearing on your own. To receive the best results, it is best to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to handle your claim.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney for your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Although it isn’t required by law for you to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to assist you with your claim, it is highly recommended that you do. Attorneys that deal with workers’ compensation and personal injury cases understand the current laws in the State of Georgia and have plenty of experience in this legal area. Your chances of being approved for benefits will be much higher by hiring an attorney.
A personal injury attorney can gather evidence such as your medical records or testimonies from witnesses that will help back up your claim. And if your claim is still denied, a lawyer could still file an appeal with the Georgia workers’ compensation board and demand that you receive your benefits.
An attorney can also help you look for additional damages linked to your work injury. In Georgia, workers’ comp insurance will cover the loss of wages, medical care, and permanent partial disability funds, however, if there is someone else who was responsible for your injury aside from your employer, a lawyer can find out if you can file a third-party lawsuit. An example of this type of lawsuit could be one filed against the manufacturer of the equipment you used on the job that caused the injury.
Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Hearing
There are several things you should consider when hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta. Here are a few things to remember on your search for the best lawyer in the area.
Get Recommendations from People You Trust
Your close friends and family members already know what you are going through with your injury. If any of your friends or relatives have used a personal injury lawyer in the past, they can recommend a good lawyer in Atlanta to assist with your workers’ comp claim, and you have the added benefit of getting a first-hand review of the law firm.
Do Your Own Research Online
There are plenty of helpful resources available online that offer comments and reviews on local workers’ compensation lawyers in the Atlanta area and surrounding cities. You can also find a lawyer based on their location, their area of expertise, or their overall rating from clients. Many law firms offer live chat options and free consultations so that you can find out more details before you make an appointment.
Consider Your Initial Consultation to be an Interview
When trying to find the right lawyer to help with your workers’ comp case, you should ask plenty of questions and choose one that you feel confident about. It’s a good idea to schedule more than one consultation with local law firms so that you can “interview” several to ensure that you find the best one to handle your case.
Don’t Take ‘No” for an Answer When It Comes to Your Health & Well-Being
The best way to guarantee that you will succeed in your attempt to obtain workers’ compensation benefits if you are denied is to find a qualified lawyer. Be sure to choose one who has years of experience working in this legal area. Do not give up if you were injured on the job and your employer is trying to prevent you from the benefits you deserve. You have a right to file a claim with Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation and obtain the assistance of a legal professional to assist you with your hearing.