So you’ve been hurt or gotten sick on the job and you find yourself unable to work. The first thing on your mind is probably, “How am I going to pay my bills now?” Luckily, there’s something called the ‘Workers’ Compensation Board‘, and they’re there to help you. But first you need to understand what workers’ compensation is, and get the answers to a few questions you may have:
- How do you qualify for workers’ compensation?
- Under what circumstances do you have to file a claim?
- Is there a time limit in which you must file a claim?
- How, exactly, do you file a claim?
- What criteria does the Workers’ Compensation Board, or WBC for short, use to determine your eligibility?
The answers to these few questions can expedite the process of getting your claim sorted out.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Put simply, workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that you, as an employee, receive as a wage replacement if you are injured or fall ill at work during the course of regular workplace duties. In exchange, you give up your right to sue your employer for any negligence that may have caused your injury. One of the biggest benefits to having a WCB is that they allow employers to stay in business if a worker is rewarded a lot of money. This is because the employer is not liable to pay the money, so they avoid having to dip into their personal coffers, thus, keeping their doors open. But this begs the question of where the WCB gets its money from. Well, every employee is taxed a small part of their paycheck. This small part is then put into a fund by the WCB, to be paid out in workers’ compensation claims.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
As stated above, if you are injured or fall ill at work, these are the minimum requirements to be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. Some people may be worried about starting on a claim if they’re unsure of the severity of the incident, but it’s always better to be on the safe side, rather than waiting for too long and not being able to make a claim. The best advice is to make the claim if you are injured or fall ill at work; if you delay in notifying your employer or/and filing your claim, you will be barred from benefits.
Filing a Claim
After being injured on the job, you are likely wondering how you go about actually filing your claim. Fortunately, in Georgia it’s rather simple. The most important step is to tell your employer you’ve been injured. They’ll provide you with a list of doctors that are approved to work with WCB claims. If your injury requires you to see a doctor, or go for any tests, x-rays, or any number of other medical procedures, using any of the doctors on the list will ensure that the medical care is covered by insurance. You can choose any doctor on the list, as well as change doctors if you need to, provided the new doctor is also on the list.
A good piece of advice is this: even if you don’t need to miss work, it’s highly recommended that you still fill out a WC-14 form. The reason is that in the event that future complications arise from the injury, you’ll have proof that it was work related. Additionally, all you’ll need is a copy of the WC-14 form. You just have to fill out this one form, then file it with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, as well as send the same form to your employer and their insurance carrier. From there, the system goes to work to get your claim sorted out. Getting a copy of the WC-14 form is as easy as visiting the State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s website and downloading it.
When You Claim Is Denied
Unfortunately, not every claim has a happy ending. Sometimes, the reason behind this is as simple as the WCB needing more information before they can process your claim. In this case, you can get that information for them, and they’ll continue on with processing. However, sometimes the WCB will outright deny your claim. This can be due to a number of factors, but the most common one is that they don’t believe the injury actually happened at work.
What can you do in this case? Is that the end of the road? Fortunately, it’s not. If for whatever reason your claim has been denied, you can always go to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, or WCAB for short. These employees, though not attorneys, are very well-versed in insurance and compensation laws, and will work to get your claim approved. You should never feel afraid to make a claim because you think it will be denied.
Workers’ compensation is a great tool when used correctly, and can help many injured or ill workers when they’re put on the sidelines. Knowing how to correctly file a claim, and what you should know before you file, will definitely help you, should the need ever arise.
To make sure that you get the money you deserve for your illness or injury, call the Bader Law Firm, LLC. Our experienced Savannah, GA work injury legal team will give your case the attention needed to get you the maximum amount of compensation allowed by law.