Georgia Workers' Compensation Attorney

worker using machinery

No one expects to be injured at work, but accidents on the job are all too common. When accidents happen, injured workers may be left with staggering medical bills, and they may be unable to work for weeks or months.

Most employers in Georgia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. An employee injured on the job can receive workers’ comp benefits. Those benefits help pay for medical expenses and a portion of any lost income.

However, navigating Georgia ‘s workers’ compensation laws can be challenging and frustrating. Here’s why:

  • To keep insurance rates from rising, employers often dispute employees’ injuries.
  • Looking after its own profit margin, the employer’s insurance company will deny the injury claim or try to reduce its cost.
  • If the complex rules of the workers’ compensation system are not carefully followed, injury claims can be dismissed.

An Augusta workers’ compensation lawyer can guide injured workers past those hurdles and to the benefits they need and deserve.

How Our Georgia Workers’ Comp Injury Lawyers Can Help You

Our Augusta workers’ comp lawyers have the legal skills to help you with your claim. When you choose to work with us, we will:

  • Gather medical records and other medical evidence.
  • Communicate with your employer about your work ability status.
  • Take the deposition of any fact witnesses, medical experts and other relevant parties.
  • Perform legal research on Georgia workers’ compensation statutes, as well as any relevant case law.
  • Draft pleadings, motions, briefs and other legal documents.
  • Negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
  • Litigate the case, if necessary.

Our goal as Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers is to help you obtain all of the income and medical benefits you are entitled to.

A worker filling out a work injury claim form.
A worker filling out a work injury claim form.

How Do You File a Workers’ Comp
Claim in Georgia?

Even when people understand that they may be eligible for workers’ compensation, they have no idea how to file a workers’ comp claim.

To get your claim started – and make certain it is not dismissed under workers’ comp regulations – it is important that you take these steps:

  • Report the accident and resulting injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident.
  • Obtain a WC-14 form. If your claim is denied by the insurance company. You can do this by writing the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, calling them, or by visiting their website and downloading the form.
  • Complete the WC-14 form, make several copies and file the original with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
  • Send one copy to your employer and one to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.

Remember that to protect your rights and be eligible for benefits, the WC-14 must be filed within one year of your accident. If your employer does not accept your claim, you have the right to request a hearing before a judge of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.

If you do request a hearing, it will be held approximately two months after the hearing request is filed.

A worker filling out a work injury claim form.
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What Do Georgia Workers’ Comp Benefits Cover?

Workers’ compensation can provide many benefits after you suffer a workplace injury. This coverage can provide you with payment of your medical treatment and prescription expenses. The benefits can also cover a portion of your lost income. Family members or other dependents may also be able to claim death benefits if a worker’s job accident is fatal.

If your injury requires you to miss more than seven days of work, you can receive up to two-thirds of your weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $675 per week. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be able to receive lost income benefits for up to 400 weeks or more.

A doctor in a hospital in Georgia.

Workers’ Compensation Medical Benefits

If you need medical treatment for your injuries, workers’ compensation can provide coverage for those expenses. Every employer that carries Georgia’s workers’ compensation insurance is also required to have a list of doctors you can see. This list is known as the Posted Panel of Physicians. These physicians are authorized to treat employees that have been in a workplace accident.

Workers’ Comp Medical Benefits

Finding a doctor

After reporting your injury to your employer, your employer should provide you with the Panel of Physicians. That allows you to receive immediate treatment for your injuries. If the employer’s panel is not appropriately structured, it becomes invalid. When that happens, you can see another doctor of your choice and still hold the insurance company accountable for your treatment. A qualified workers’ comp lawyer can help you determine whether the physician you saw was on a valid panel.

Changing doctors

It often takes time for patients to feel comfortable with the doctor they are seeing. If you are dissatisfied with your physician, you have the right to choose another doctor from your employer’s panel of physicians. You can do this once without prior approval from your employer or the insurance company. However, there is no guarantee that you will feel any more comfortable with the second doctor. If this is the case, your workers’ comp attorney can help you choose another physician with the agreement of your employer or the workers’ comp claims adjuster.

Independent medical exam

Once you begin seeing a doctor for your injuries, you may feel as though there is a certain treatment, diagnostic test, or surgery you need. You have the right to request an independent medical exam, commonly called an IME, with any doctor you choose that the employer or insurance company pays for.

A workers’ comp attorney can review the results of your IME and determine if you have the right to request that another doctor take over your treatment plan. If you do, a lawyer will help you make this request so that you can start receiving the treatment you need as soon as possible.

Seeing a doctor for your injury may not sound challenging; however, that process can become complex when workers’ compensation is part of the mix. This is one reason it is so important to have an attorney on your side.

What Workers’ Compensation Income Benefits are Available?

Very few injured workers can afford to keep up with their household bills when they can no longer go to work and make a living. That’s why lost income benefits are just as important as medical benefits. They can help cover your monthly bills while you are unable to work and recovering from your injury.

The income benefits available under workers’ compensation include:

Workers' Comp Income Benefits

Temporary total disability

If your on-the-job injury prevents you from working, you are entitled to receive a weekly income benefit check (temporary total disability) in the amount of two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum allowed by law. You will receive that benefit in the form of a weekly check.

Temporary partial disability

When your work-related injury allows you to return to “light duty” work that pays less than your usual wage, or if you cannot work the same number of hours, you may be entitled to receive temporary partial disability payments from the insurance company in addition to the wages paid by your employer.

Permanent partial disability

If you have suffered the permanent loss of use of any part of your body, you are entitled to receive permanent partial disability payments. Our attorneys will work with your doctor(s) to make sure that you receive an accurate permanent impairment rating, ensuring that you get the maximum allowable payment.

Tips for Protecting Your Rights
After an Injury at Work

When you file a workers’ comp claim, it may seem as though everyone is working against you.

  • Your employer does not want its insurance rates to increase.
  • The insurance company wants to spend as little money as possible and close out your claim as soon as possible.

It is crucial that injured workers take these steps to protect their rights when filing a claim:

  • Tell your employer about your injury as soon as possible.
  • Seek immediate medical attention.
  • Select a doctor for treatment.
  • Remain specific and consistent about your injury when discussing your symptoms with your doctor.
  • Do not post on social media, as the insurance company may use this against you.
  • Do not allow the insurance company or your employer to record your statements.
  • Document everything. Make copies of anything you receive and keep your records organized.
  • File your workers’ compensation claim by submitting form WC-14 if your claim is denied.
  • Speak to a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer who can give you the greatest chance to receive the benefits you need.
Understanding Georgia’s laws on workers’ compensation will help you protect your rights.

Under Georgia law, every employer must post a list of injured workers’ rights in an area where all employees have access. Your employer must also post a list of at least six doctors who participate in its workers’ comp insurance plan. At least one of the doctors must be an orthopedic surgeon.

After sustaining an injury on the job, you should tell your employer right away of your accident. You should also ask about workers’ compensation.

Your employer must then file a claim with its workers’ compensation insurance company. That company may then approve or deny your claim.

You should also speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer in Augusta, Georgia. You should never sign anything or agree to a settlement until you have done this. This is especially true if you think the settlement offer is too low.

Gregory Smith, Augusta Workers' Compensation Attorney.

Talk to a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Now

When workers are injured at work, Georgia law allows them to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Those benefits can help employees recover medical expenses and a portion of their lost income, but navigating the workers’ comp system in Georgia can be tough.

If you have been hurt, contact our Augusta workers’ compensation attorneys at Gregory Smith Law, LLC. We have the legal skills and experience to help injured workers through the process. We can give them the best chance of success with their claim. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.

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