Workers’ compensation insurance is a form of insurance coverage that is required for employers in the United States. It serves the purpose of ensuring that any injuries that occur on the job are covered and that employers are safe from any lawsuits that might have occurred from these injuries if workers’ compensation coverage were not available. The specific workers compensation laws will vary from one state to the next, but the general idea will be the same. If you have been injured on the job in Rome, Georgia, then you likely have a valid claim for workers compensation. Read on to learn more or seek a free consultation from a Rome, GA workers’ comp attorney.
Workers’ Compensation Is A No-Fault System
Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, you do not have to worry about who actually caused the workplace accident. If your injury occurred at work, then you are eligible for benefits, even if the injury was your own fault. Your employer cannot stop you from filing a workers’ compensation claim, no matter how much of the blame you carry for the injury occurring. Having said that, if you caused the injury through gross misconduct, willful recklessness, intoxication, or illegal activities, then exceptions apply, and you will not be covered.
Qualifying Injuries For Workers’ Compensation
All injuries that occur in the course of performing job-related activities are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This includes accidental injuries, repetitive motion injuries, occupational illnesses, and even death benefits if you pass away from your injuries or illness.
Workers’ Compensation Requirements
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation states that all employers in Georgia are required to have workers’ compensation insurance if they have three or more regular employees (including part time, full time, minors, and illegal workers).
Available Workers’ Comp Benefits in Rome GA
An Employee Handbook is available from the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation to explain the system and the benefits that are available to you when you’ve suffered a workplace injury or illness. Among the benefits available are medical coverage, reimbursement for lost wages, and death benefits to survivors in the event of your death from a workplace injury/illness.
Medical coverage addresses all of your medical expenses which are deemed reasonable and necessary for your treatment and recovery. Hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, rehabilitation, prescriptions, and doctors appointments are all included in this. However, you are only covered if you seek treatment from authorized physicians. A list will be provided to you by your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance coverage provider.
Reimbursement for lost wages will apply if you miss more than seven days of work, though you will only be paid for those first seven days if you miss more than 21 days. The amount of your benefits will be based on 2/3 of your average weekly pay. You will be able to receive these benefits for up to 400 weeks until you return to work, or indefinitely if the injury was catastrophic.
Death benefits are available to your survivors and dependents if you pass away from a workplace injury or illness. This will cover your medical bills, pay your funeral and burial expenses, and reimburse your lost wages to support those dependents.
How To File a Workers’ Comp Claim In Rome, GA
If you’ve been injured on the job, you should not waste any time in filing your workers’ compensation claim. You need to act fast to remain eligible for benefits and compensation from your employers’ workers’ compensation insurance company. Thus, you need to notify your employer of the incident right away. You have 30 days to do so without losing your right to file a claim, but the longer you wait, the more harm you will do to your injury claim.
Your employer, when notified of your injury, will file a First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease form. Your employer will face civil penalties if he or she does not file this form, and you should quickly contact an attorney if this happens. You can also choose to file your claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation directly within one year of the accident.
Appealing A Denied Claim
You can always appeal a denied claim, though your greatest chance of success in this action is to contact a Rome workers’ compensation attorney to represent you. You will receive notification of the denial with an explanation, and you can request a hearing to present your evidence. At this hearing, which would be best handled with the guidance of an attorney, you can use witnesses (including yourself), expert witnesses, and records from your injury and treatment. Your claim may still be denied, and if it is, your attorney can help you to appeal with the Appellate Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation within 20 days of the denial.
Third Party Liability Claims For Workplace Injuries
The aim of workers’ compensation is to ensure that you are covered for workplace injuries while also protecting your employer from liability for further damages. This means that you can’t sue your employer if you are covered by workers’ compensation unless willful misconduct has occurred to warrant a lawsuit. Having said that, there are circumstances where a third party is also liable for your injuries, and in these cases, you can file a claim or suit against that third party.
Following are some examples of third party liability claims:
- Defective Product Claim against manufacturer/distributor in defective product accidents
- Auto Accident Claim against at-fault driver in auto accident
- Premises Liability Claim against homeowner/business owner in premises accidents
- Other Personal Injury Claims, such as dog bite/attack claims
While you cannot seek non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) from workers’ compensation claims, you can seek these damages in third party liability claims.
Deciding To Hire A Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Not all workers’ compensation claims are complex enough to require legal representation. For example, if you slip and fall at work, you injure your arm, you notify your employer, your employer files a First Report of Injury, you miss a few days of work, you file a workers’ compensation claim, and you receive coverage and benefits as expected, then you don’t need an attorney. However, if your employer doesn’t file the First Report of Injury, if the employer or insurance company denies your claim, if you are pressured to return to work too soon, or if your claim is disputed or mishandled, you need to contact a workers’ compensation attorney to represent you.
Once you’ve obtained the services of a qualified workers’ compensation attorney in Rome, GA, you’re going to feel a lot more confident about the direction of your claim. You’ll know that you have an expert on your side, defending your rights and presenting your evidence in an effective manner to prove your right to receive workers’ compensation for your injuries. The best part is that workers’ compensation attorneys in Georgia can charge no more than 25% of what you receive in workers’ compensation benefits, so adequate legal representation is affordable
Locating A Rome GA Workers’ Comp Attorney
It is not difficult at all to find an excellent workers’ compensation attorney in Rome, Georgia. You can search online, read reviews, and seek a free consultation from multiple lawyers before deciding on the right attorney for your claim. Ultimately, you should choose an attorney who takes the time to understand your claim and inspires confidence in the outcome.