When a worker is injured while on the job in Georgia, the injured worker is often focused on getting the medical care necessary to make a speedy recovery, and is focused on getting workers’ compensation to pay for the medical expenses and the time off from work. These are important things to focus on, and a skilled Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can certainly help you file a claim and dispute a denied claim. But what needs to happen after a workplace injury in order to protect your rights? What else can happen after a workplace accident?
Get the Medical Attention You Need
A critical first step after a workplace accident is to seek the medical care that you need. If it is an emergency situation, then receiving medical care from any emergency medical care provider is acceptable, and workers’ compensation insurance will still pay out on your claim (presuming you are eligible for workers’ compensation). If the injury is not an emergency, then it is imperative that you seek medical care from a treating physician that is approved for workers’ compensation claims by your employer, or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. Your employer is required to provide you with a list of these approved treating physicians, so that you can choose one and seek the medical care that you need.
Obtaining workers’ compensation for your medical expenses is subject to you seeing an approved treating physician (except for emergency situations). In the event of an emergency, once your condition is stable, then you need to seek out care from an approved care provider. If you do not seek care from an approved doctor, you workers’ compensation claim will likely be denied by the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation.
The Importance of Prompt Workplace Accident Reporting
One of the first and most important things that must happen after a workplace accident is that the injured worker must report their accident and the injury to his or her employer. The accident can be reported to your supervisor, or boss. Making an accident report in writing is helpful when applying for workers’ compensation benefits for proving that you indeed reported your accident to your employer, and did so in a timely manner.
Not all workplace accidents allow for you to immediately make a report. You might be involved in an emergency situation where medical care is an urgent necessity. O.C.G.A Section 34-9-80 gives injured workers a thirty day window to report any workplace accident or injury, and reports should be made as soon as possible. Similarly, if a worker is killed on the job, or killed as a result of injuries sustained while on the job, the surviving family has a 30 day window to report the death to the employer for the purposes of seeking death benefits through workers’ compensation.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
A lot of things can happen after a workers is injured on the job. As an initial matter, it is important to understand that workers’ compensation is not generally based on the fault of either party. This means that the accident could be the fault of the worker, or could be the fault of the employer, and the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation will generally not take who was at fault for the workplace injury into consideration when approving a claim. Although there may be certain situations where the injured worker was reckless or willfully responsible for causing his or her own injury, and in such a case, the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation will give the worker’s behavior considerable weight when determining whether to approve or deny a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers must actively seek workers’ compensation benefits. You must complete some forms and submit your claim to the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation. If you find the forms to be confusing, or want to ensure your best chance of having your claim approved as soon as possible, you should work with an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer.
Employer Conducts Investigation
Usually after an accident happens in the workplace, most employers investigate the accident to determine why the accident happened in the first place. Employers usually then also implement new strategies to help prevent similar accidents from happening in the future. Employers take all kinds of actions to help prevent or reduce the risk of such accidents happening to other workers in the future. Depending on how the accident occurred, the employer will take measures to reduce risks to workers. For example, the employer could:
-Improve protocol so that workers are not placed at risk of injury.
-Enhance labeling or marking of workplace hazards.
-Put up hand rails, gates, security measures.
-Require workers to receive additional safety training.
-Provide workers with new or improved personal protection safety equipment.
-Post warning signs about potential workplace hazards.
-Develop or update the company’s emergency action plan.
OSHA May Issue a Citation
The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to provide their workers with a safe and healthy place to work. In the event of a serious workplace accident, such as an explosion or fire where workers are killed, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may get involved and may conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident. OSHA is very likely to conduct an investigation if there is a concern that an employer violated health and/or safety standards for their particular industry.
Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer: Bader Scott Injury Lawyers
There is much that needs to happen after a workplace accident. You must report the accident to your employer and file your workers’ compensation claim. After that, your employer, or even possible OSHA, will conduct an investigation into why your accident occurred so that issues can be addressed to prevent a similar accident happening to other workers in the future. An experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can help with the application process and any disputes you might have with your employer, the workers’ compensation insurance provider, or the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation. The professionals at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can assist you with every aspect of your workers’ compensation benefits claim. Reach out to us today.