Workplace injuries occur in many different ways and involve various kinds of harm. They can happen through mistakes made by the injured worker or by a co-worker. They can happen because of a defective product that is used on the job. They can happen through simple slip and fall accident at the workplace or while engaged in work related tasks off site. They can even be caused by auto accidents when a worker is traveling for business purposes. Because there are so many different ways that a workplace injury could happen, there is also a very wide range of injuries that can affect workers.
The most common are injuries to the back, neck, head, and joints. There are also cases where workers suffer from burn injuries, severe cuts, and even lost limbs. Sometimes, the employer can accommodate the work restrictions that are associated with the injuries by offering a light duty position. If one is offered, the worker is required to accept it in order to remain eligible for the workers’ compensation benefits that will cover their medical expenses and two-thirds of their lost wages.
Making Sense of the Atlanta, Georgia, Workers’ Compensation System
If you have never dealt with the workers’ compensation system in Atlanta, Georgia, then it can seem very complicated at first glance. This is especially true if your claim is denied and you are trying to figure out where to go from there. The first thing to understand is the purpose of workers’ compensation insurance, carried by the employer. The purpose is to ensure that the employer does not face lawsuits and that the worker is able to receive the much needed wage benefits and medical benefits associated with any work related injury. Yet, workers’ compensation insurance is not an optional thing for employers who have at least three employees.
Whether the 3+ employees are part time or full time, the employer must ensure that they are covered by a workers’ compensation policy. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as certain industries (like agriculture or railroad industry), but most workers in Atlanta, Georgia should be covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation policy. If you are not covered by workers’ compensation for any reason, you may be able to sue the employer.
You should also be aware that workers’ compensation is a no fault system, so that it doesn’t matter how or why you were injured. As long as you were not intoxicated or behaving recklessly or illegally, you should be covered even if you contributed to or directly caused your own injury. Further, there are some cases where a workers’ compensation claim can be pursued at the same time as a third party injury claim. These are the cases where a product defect caused the injury, where an auto accident caused the injury, or where a property owner failed to maintain their property to prevent injuries.
If you are injured on the job because of the negligence of someone else who is not a co-worker, then you can pursue a third party claim at the same time as your workers’ compensation claim. The two claims will be completely separate and the outcome of one will not affect the outcome of the other.
Steps That You Must Take to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Atlanta, Georgia
In order to receive the workers’ compensation benefits that you need in Atlanta, Georgia, you must take certain steps. This includes seeking medical treatment, notifying your employer of the injury in writing, and making sure that your medical treatment is provided by a company approved physician. You can go to the nearest emergency room for urgent injuries, but you must receive all other medical care from a physician that is approved by your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Your employer should help you with each of these steps. That includes helping you to fill out an incident report, directing you to an approved physician, and notifying their insurance company to initiate the claim. If your employer fails to help you through this process, or if they deny that you have a valid claim, then you can initiate the claim yourself with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. However, if you are encountering any resistance at all from your employer or the insurance company, then you would be wise to contact an Atlanta, Georgia, workers’ compensation attorney.
What Victims of Employer Retaliation Need to Know About their Legal Rights
Employer retaliation can occur in a variety of ways, but it can be very difficult to prove. It includes any action that the employer takes against you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. You might face some kind of disciplinary action. You might be demoted. You might be suspended. You might even be fired. These situations can be very stressful because of how challenging it is to prove that the employer’s actions were done in retaliation. This is especially true in Atlanta, Georgia, where any employer can legally fire any employee for any reason at all – even for no reason at all.
However, there is such a thing as wrongful termination and employer retaliation, both of which you do have legal protection from in Atlanta, Georgia. If you believe that you have been retaliated against in any way or that your employment was wrongfully terminated, contact the Bader Law Firm to find out more about your rights and how we can help you prove your case.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Do Not Include Any Non-Economic Damages
While your work related injury may include serious non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, you cannot get compensation for these damages through workers’ compensation. If you have a third party claim against another driver in an auto accident or a manufacturer of a defective product, for example, then you can probably get your non-economic damages compensated in the third party claim. Workers’ compensation will only cover your actual medical expenses and 2/3 of your lost wages.
What to Do When Your Workers’ Compensation Claim is Unfairly Denied
If you know that you have a valid workers’ compensation claim, but that claim is denied, then you’re going to want to appeal the decision or request a hearing. It is possible to do these things on your own, but you would certainly benefit from experienced Atlanta, GA worker’s compensation legal guidance and representation. Contact the Bader Law Firm to find out how we can help you to pursue the benefits that you are owed.