How Do I Maximize My Workers’ Compensation Settlement in Georgia?
Injured worker learning about his workers' compensation settlement in Georgia.

Workers’ compensation provides coverage of medical expenses, wage replacement, and other benefits to workers injured on the job. Unlike in an injury claim or lawsuit, the workers’ compensation system does not require employees to prove their employer was negligent in causing their injury. In return, employees lose their right to sue their employers for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

While this policy is intended to streamline the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim, the process remains complex and confusing for workers trying to access their benefits.

The Augusta, Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys at Gregory Smith Law, LLC can help you pursue your benefits and work to maximize your potential settlement.

Top Ways to Maximize Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Settlement

  1. Let Your Employer Know You Were Injured

You should report your work-related injury immediately to your supervisor to document your injury and comply with Georgia’s notice requirements. If you wait more than 30 days to report your injury, you could lose the right to receive benefits. However, even a brief delay in reporting your injury might raise suspicions by the insurance company. They may try to use the delay to argue you had a pre-existing injury or were trying to cover up damaging information.

While you may have a great relationship with your employer, workers’ compensation cases are typically handled by for-profit insurance companies looking for any reason to deny your claim or minimize your benefits. Keep this in mind as you pursue fair compensation for your claim.

  1. Get Medical Treatment as Soon as Possible

It’s also important that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Your employer may argue that if you didn’t seek immediate medical attention, the injury isn’t as serious as you claim. Delaying medical treatment can also result in the workers’ compensation insurance company denying your claim.

If you delay seeking medical treatment, the insurance company may reach conclusions that affect your claim, such as:

  • Your injuries did not occur at work.
  • You are trying to cover up something, like impairment by drugs or alcohol.
  • You are exaggerating your injuries.

Your employer must maintain a panel of physicians that consists of at least six doctors or professional physician associations from which you can choose. You can also make one change between these doctors while you are receiving treatment without having to seek additional approval. To avoid potential problems, report any changes in doctors to the insurance adjuster who is handling your claim.

Georgia law allows your employer or their insurance company to require you to undergo an independent medical exam. This is a special type of exam that is used to evaluate your medical condition. It doesn’t provide treatment for you, and the insurance company may use it to minimize the value of your Georgia workers’ comp claim.

You cannot refuse this type of exam. However, you can contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer from Gregory Smith Law, LLC. We can provide you with targeted advice about how to handle this in a way that protects your rights.

  1. Understand How Disability Ratings Work

One of the most important determinations in your workers’ compensation claim is your disability rating. This rating ranges from 0 to 100 percent. Your workers’ compensation doctor assigns this rating based on the severity of your injury. This rating impacts the value of your workers’ compensation settlement and your return to work status.

If you believe the disability rating you receive is too low given your injuries, you may need a workers’ compensation lawyer to challenge it in order to maximize your workers’ compensation settlement.

  1. Don’t Give a Recorded Statement

Insurance adjusters handle workers’ compensation claims. These adjusters are invested in helping the insurance companies minimize the amount of money they pay to settle claims. Keep this in mind when talking to the adjuster.

The insurance adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement. This is a common tactic insurance companies use to try to get information to use against you, such as:

  • Statements that the accident was your fault or may have been caused outside of work
  • Admissions that you are “fine”
  • Admissions that you had a pre-existing injury

Remember, you do not have to agree to this recording. Look out for other insurance company tactics, such as sending you a medical release form for your old medical records. They may try to blame your injury on another cause or offer you a low settlement in hopes you will accept it without legal counsel.

  1. Keep Careful Records of Everything

You will likely collect many records as your claim progresses. Keep careful records of all of the following:

  • Medical records
  • Medical expenses
  • Mileage to and from appointments
  • Bills and receipts
  • Notes about how the accident occurred
  1. Contact a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

The Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys at Gregory Smith Law, LLC are here to help you with all aspects of your claim. These cases present complicated challenges for any worker. If you’re filing for workers’ compensation in Georgia, we encourage you to contact one of our experienced attorneys to pursue a positive outcome for your claim.

We can analyze your case and provide targeted legal advice and representation to pursue the benefits you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about the steps you can take to maximize your workers’ compensation settlement.

About the Author

Gregory Smith
Gregory founded Gregory Smith Law, LLC in his hometown of Augusta in 1993. Since that time, he has focused his practice exclusively on representing injured workers and their families after serious on-the-job accidents in Augusta and throughout Georgia. Gregory earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Augusta College and law degree from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law in Macon. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, Augusta Bar Association, and the Georgia Injured Workers’ Advocates, an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of injured and ill workers in the Peach State. When he’s not in the office, Gregory enjoys bicycling, fishing, and spending time with his wife and three children.