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Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation in Georgia

If you’re a worker in Georgia who is injured on the job, here are some answers to pressing questions that you may have about recovering compensation–

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Think of workers’ compensation as an insurance plan.  Employers pay for accident insurance so that if you are injured in the workplace, you will be guaranteed income, rehabilitation, and medical benefits. The idea behind workers’ compensation is to get you the help you need to return to your job healthy and able to get back to work. In the event that an employee is killed on the job, or as the result of a job related injury, workers’ compensation provides benefits the dependents of the employee.

Who is Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?

Employees of businesses with three or more workers are covered by workers’ compensation. Your employer is required by law to maintain workers’ compensation insurance under these circumstances.

I Don’t Think My Employer Actually Carries Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Is There A Way That I Can Check?

Yes. The state of Georgia has an online employer’s workers’ compensation coverage verification feature. You can go online to search the records to determine whether your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance here.

Is There a Waiting Period to Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

No. In the state of Georgia, you are covered under workers’ compensation from the first day on the job.

What Is Covered By Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation provides money to replace your income. It also provides rehabilitation services, and medical treatments. Medical treatments generally consist of the following:

  • Hospital bills;
  • Doctors bills;
  • Prescriptions;
  • Physical therapy;
  • Travel related expenses.

How Long Do I Have To Wait to Receive Benefits?

First, it must be determined whether or not your injury qualifies. You must be unable to work for more than seven days. After that has been established, the state of Georgia will send your first check 21 days after the day you were injured, at the latest. If you miss more than 21 consecutive days of work, you will also be compensated for the first seven days you were unable to work.

How Much Can I Receive in Benefits?

It depends on how much you are making now. You are entitled to two-thirds of your current average weekly salary.  However, this is capped at no more than $575.00 per week if your accident occurred on or after July 1, 2016.

How Long Can I Receive Benefits?

If you sustained a work related injury on or after July 1, 2013, you will be entitled to medical treatment coverage for a maximum of 400 weeks from the date of the accident. In certain circumstances, a catastrophic injury may entitle you to a lifetime of medical benefits.

You are also entitled to weekly financial benefits for up to 400 weeks. However, if you sustained a catastrophic injury, you may be entitled to lifetime benefits.

If you are able to return to work, but with limitations or restrictions that will prevent you from making as much as you made before the accident, your financial benefits may be reduced in proportion to the amount of money you are able to earn.

What if I Can’t Go Back To Work?

If you are unable to return to your job based on your injuries, you are entitled to training so that you can do a different type of job.

What if I Can Go Back To Work, But Only at a Lower Paying Job?

If you are able to return to work, but can no longer handle the duties of your prior job, and can only get a lower paying job, you will receive a reduced benefit. This will be based on your earnings at your new job as compared to your earnings at your old job. If your injury occurred on or after July 1, 2016, your benefits are capped at $383.00 per week. You are entitled to this reduced benefit for a maximum of 350 weeks.

What if I Lost a Loved One to a Work Related Injury?

If you lost a loved one who was killed on the job, or died as a result of injuries sustained in a work related accident, you may be entitled to benefits. Dependents receive two-thirds of the average weekly wage of their lost loved one. This benefit is capped at $575.00 per week, if the death occurred on or after July 1, 2015.

Dependents include a surviving spouse, children, and dependent stepchildren.

A widow who has no children is limited to benefits in the total amount of $230,000.00. However, if the widow cohabitates or remarries, this benefit stops.

What if My Request for Benefits is Denied?

If your request for workers’ compensation is denied, you are entitled to a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. This hearing is similar to a trial. It is heard by an Administrative Law Judge. Evidence is presented by both you and your employer. The Judge will make a determination based on all the evidence presented, in compliance with applicable law.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is another way to attempt to resolve a dispute in a workers’ compensation claim. Mediation involves a neutral third party to attempt to resolve the issues, much like an Administrative Law Judge. However, unlike a hearing, in mediation, the mediator does not decide the case. Rather, the mediator leads the discussion. The parties and the parties alone decide whether to resolve their case, based on suggestions of the mediator.

Am I Required to Participate in Mediation?

Yes. If the Board orders you to attend mediation, you are required to show up for the mediation.

What Should I Do If I Am Injured On The Job or Lost a Loved One Who Was Injured on the Job?

If you were injured on the job, or if you lost a loved one to a work related injury, a skilled work injury claim attorney in Atlanta can assist you in your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The dedicated lawyers at the Bader Law Firm, LLC, are ready to help. There is no fee up front. You only pay if you prevail. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

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