Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law provides workers in the State of Georgia with certain rights should they become injured, and workers are entitled to these rights even if they suffer an on-the-job injury on their first day of work.
Here is a summary of these rights:
- If you are injured on the job, you may receive medical, rehabilitation and income benefits. These benefits are provided to help you return to work. Your dependents may also receive benefits if you die as a result of a job-related injury.
- Your employer is required to post a list of at least six doctors or the name of the certified WC/MCO which provides medical care. You may choose a doctor from the list and make one change to another doctor on the list without the permission of your employer. However, in an emergency, you may get temporary medical care from any doctor until the emergency is over; then you must get treatment from a doctor on the posted list.
- Your authorized doctor bills, hospital bills, rehabilitation in some cases, physical therapy, prescriptions and necessary travel expenses will be paid if injury was caused by an accident on the job.
- You are entitled to weekly income benefits if you have more than seven days of lost time due to an injury. Your first check should be mailed to you within 21 days after the first day you missed work. If you are out more than 21 consecutive days due to your injury, you will be paid for the first week.
- Accidents are classified as being either catastrophic or non-catastrophic. Catastrophic injuries are those involving amputations, severe paralysis, severe head injuries, severe burns, blindness, or of a nature and severity that prevents the employee from being able to perform his or her prior work and any work available in substantial numbers within the national economy.
- In catastrophic cases, you are entitled to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to the maximum allowed under the law for a job-related injury for as long as you are unable to return to work. You are also entitled to receive medical and vocational rehabilitation benefits to help in recovering from your injury. Your employer will advise you of the amount of your weekly benefit.
- In all other cases (non-catastrophic), you are entitled to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage but not more than the maximum allowed under the law for a job-related injury. You will receive these weekly benefits as long as you are totally disabled, but no longer than 400 weeks. If you are not working and it is determined that you have been capable of performing work with restrictions for 52 consecutive weeks or 78 aggregate weeks, your weekly income benefits will be reduced to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but no more than the maximum allowed under the law, not to exceed 350 weeks.
- When you are able to return to work but can only get a lower paying job as a result of your injury, you are entitled to a weekly benefit of not more than the maximum allowed under the law for no longer than 350 weeks.
- Your dependent(s), in the event you die as a result of an on-the-job accident, will receive burial expenses up to the maximum allowed under the law and two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but not more than the maximum allowed under the law. A widowed spouse with no children will be paid a maximum allowed by law at the time of injury. Benefits continue until he/she remarries or openly cohabits with a person of the opposite sex.
- If you do not receive benefits when due, the insurance carrier/employer must pay a penalty which will be added to your payments.