Having their workers’ compensation denied frightens a hard worker with a well-planned life. Injury occurs, and a trip to the emergency room follows. An extended hospital stay, potential surgeries, and treatments add up. Thus begins the financial stress. However, day-to-day expenses pile up as well. Injuries at work cost a lot in stress and financial woes. When dealing with workers compensation in Savannah, GA, questions come up and are sometimes hard to resolve on your own. Experienced professionals in the legal field are qualified to help you understand the situation and handle it efficiently. Below are some basics to help you understand workers compensation.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation exists as a program where insurance is required by the state to help people who are injured at work. The program assists the individual in order to get medical attention, receive the necessary treatments and rehabilitation and be able to return to work. It also has conditions for a situation where the individual will not be able to return to work due to the injuries they sustained.
In the event of death at work, the family of that employee is entitled to benefits for that person.
Is Workers Compensation Required in Georgia?
Yes. Any business with three or more employees in the state of Georgia is required to carry workers compensation insurance. Employers who have full-time or part-time employees are required to have this coverage, so as long as three people are employed by the company, they are required to have the insurance for workers compensation.
If you are concerned about whether your employer is covered, you can visit the Georgia Workers’ Comp website and review the section regarding verification of workers compensation insurance coverage in Savannah, GA.
What are the Benefits of Workers Compensation I Can Receive in Savannah, GA?
For those who are injured in the workplace, the following rights are part of the coverage provided by the Workers Compensation program at each place of employment:
- Medical, rehabilitation and income benefits
- Access to a list of local doctors covered through the program
- Choosing the doctor, you prefer to handle your medical diagnosis and treatment
- Weekly income benefits for an injury that requires missing work for more than seven days
- Income benefits on a weekly basis if you return to work and are doing a job that does not pay as much as your original position did
- Burial expenses if you are killed while at work (paid to your family)
- Payment of authorized doctor bills by your employer
- Payments that are considered penalties to your employer if they do not provide the benefits noted above.
The Big Question: When Can Workers Compensation Be Denied?
There are certain time limitations to filing a workers compensation claim. There are also requirements for a hearing if the employee files a claim and the business that hired them refuses to pay the bills and provide income to the injured party.
TIME FRAME: A worker’s compensation claim in the state of Georgia must be filed within one year with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. However, it is also important to know that when you get injured at work, you should immediately report that injury to your employer. If you fail to report the injury until after 30 days have passed, your chances of receiving workers comp benefits are lower.
LEGAL HEARING: After filing a claim, the employee should receive workers compensation benefits. If you do not, then the next step is to request a hearing through the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
At a hearing, the judge will listen to your side of the situation and to the employer’s side. A verdict will be determined based on the evidence presented. These hearings are generally scheduled within 60 days after the request for the hearing is received.
While it is not required to have a lawyer to represent you at these hearings, legal representation may be wise. It is very likely that your employer will be represented by legal counsel.
LEGAL PENALTIES: It is important to understand that anyone who knowingly and willingly lies at this hearing can be subject to both criminal and civil charges. There are also penalties for an employer who willfully denies workers compensation benefits to an injured employee. Each violation for both someone who provides false information and an employer who refuses to provide legitimate workers compensation benefits can be anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000. A business that does not carry workers compensation insurance is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Fraud and failure to have workers comp insurance can both be reported to the Enforcement Division of the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. This division can be reached by calling 404-657-7285.
How Long Can I Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits in Georgia?
Injuries that occurred between July 1, 1992, and July 1, 2016, will provide access to benefits for a maximum of 400 weeks. With an injury that does not permit the individual to return to work, benefits can be received for your lifetime. Meanwhile, individuals who were injured after July 1, 2016, can expect a maximum of 350 weeks of reduced benefits. These benefits will not exceed a weekly amount of $575.
Loss of sight, hearing or a body part have specific terms set for the benefits that will be received.
For those that die on the job, family benefits to the spouse and children will be two-thirds of the weekly wage, at a maximum of $575.
Each workers compensation case in Savannah, GA, is evaluated on its own merit. There are no specific results given for certain injuries or situations. That is why it is very important to work with a legal professional to understand the situation. It is also important to know your rights, the relevant time periods and the best way to proceed. Legal counsel can help with all of these concerns. They can also help you understand how life will be moving forward from your injury.
Consult with a Bader Law Firm Attorney to Discuss Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have concerns about your situation and coverage through workers compensation, get in touch with the experienced lawyers at The Bader Law Firm today by calling 678-562-5595.