People spend on average 40 hours a week at their job, which is a substantial amount of time to spend in one location. When a worker is injured or becomes ill on the job or due to a workplace accident, the injured worker is entitled to workers’ compensation while they recover from their work-related injuries or illness. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that pays injured workers for their work-related injury medical expenses, lost wages due to the injury, rehabilitation, and disability in the event that a worker is injured so seriously that he or she must claim disability benefits.
Atlanta Is Home Base for a Number of Large Industry Employers
Virtually all large employers in Atlanta are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their workers. And there are quite a few large industry employers that call Atlanta home. Some of the biggest employers – that are also industry giants – include:
- Delta Air Lines;
- United Parcel Service (UPS);
- Home Depot;
- Cox Enterprises;
- Publix Supermarkets;
- Turner Broadcasting System;
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention;
- Bank of America; and
Big Employers and Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Under Georgia law, workers’ compensation insurance is a requirement for nearly all employers, with very few limited exceptions. But rest assured that every large employer in Atlanta and elsewhere in Georgia must carry workers’ compensation insurance on its employees. When employees become injured or ill due to a workplace accident, injury, or illness, workers can seek compensation through their employers workers’ compensation insurance by filing a claim.
Typical workers’ compensation insurance covers costs associated with a worker’s work-related injuries, which include:
- Compensation for lost time from work, i.e., wages for the time taken off to recover from the injuries and to seek medical care for the injuries.
- Rehabilitation costs if rehabilitation is required after the injury.
- Medical expenses associated with getting treatment for the work-related injury.
- Disability benefits for workers in the event that a workplace accident or injury leaves a worker permanently or temporarily disabled. .
- Death benefits for workers in the event that a worker is killed as a result of a workplace accident or injury.
Workers of a major employers who suffer a workplace accident or work-related injury are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits for authorized expenses upon filing a claim. A claim is filed when a WC-14 form is completed and filed with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can help you complete the form and pursue your claim.
Work-place accidents and injuries must be reported to superiors and managers within 30 days of the occurrence of the accident. Next, the employee must file their workers’ compensation claim within a year of the injury occurrence. Failure to comply with these reporting and filing deadlines can result in a forfeiture of the workers’ compensation claim.
If you are unable to work for a period of seven days, you are entitled to weekly income benefits. Benefit checks are paid out within 21 days of your missing work due to your work-related injuries. These benefits are paid out as ⅔ of your regular weekly salary, but are capped at $550 a week. Benefits can last for up to 400 weeks from the date of the accident, but if the work-related injuries are catastrophic in nature, you may be eligible for a lifetime worth of benefits.
Sometimes problems arise at the Board, and a hearing must be requested for your workers’ compensation claim. An administrative law judge will hear your case and decide whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Hearings take place within 60 days of the claim being filed with the Board. You do not need a lawyer for the hearing, but it is always a good idea to have one by your side representing your interests.
Workers’ Rights Under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Laws
Under O.C.G.A (34-9-81.1), workers have certain rights. These rights include the following:
- Employers must post a list of at least six doctors from which injured employees can choose in order to seek medical care from a work-related injury or illness. Workers may switch between these doctors if they so choose.
- However, in the event of an emergency, a worker can get medical treatment from any doctor or hospital, but must change to one of the employer designated doctors as soon as possible.
- Workers’ compensation will cover authorized doctor and hospital expenses, rehabilitation costs in most cases, prescriptions, physical therapy and your travel to and from your appointments as necessary.
- If a worker’s injuries are classified as catastrophic, the employer must provide the injured worker with a rehabilitation specialist to assist the worker with receiving medical care and other services.
- Workers are eligible to receive up to ⅔ of their weekly compensation up to a maximum of $550 a week.
- Workers who suffer catastrophic injuries are eligible for lifetime workers’ compensation benefits. Workers who suffer non-catastrophic injuries are eligible for up to four hundred weeks of workers’ compensation benefits.
- Workers who cannot obtain work that is of the same pay level as before their workplace accident due to their work-related injuries are entitled to a weekly benefit payment of up to $550 per week for up to 350weeks.
- Employers and workers’ compensation insurance payers who do not make workers’ compensation payments to injured workers in a timely manner are subject to pay a penalty, which is paid to the injured worker in addition to the workers’ compensation payments that are owed.
- If a worker dies due to a workplace accident or work-related injuries, the worker’s dependents are entitled to burial expenses as well as ⅔ of the worker’s weekly compensation up to an amount of $550 per week. A widowed spouse with no children is entitled to the full amount under the law. The widowed spouse is permitted to keep collecting the workers’ compensation pay for their deceased spouse even after marrying or cohabitating with a new partner.
When You Need an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer, Contact Bader Law Firm, Llc
Working for a large employer can have a lot of perks, and nearly all of employees who work for a large employer are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If you have been hurt on the job, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Bader Law Firm, LLC. Please feel free to reach out to the Bader Law Firm, LLC to get a better understanding of your rights under the law.