Workers in a factory in Georgia.

As a general rule, employees who are injured at work in Georgia have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation pays the injured worker’s medical expenses and a weekly disability check.

Getting any claim paid through workers’ compensation can be a frustrating challenge. Employers and their insurance companies often dispute an employee’s work injury claim. In fact, they may even try to deny paying the claim completely or underpay it.

It is imperative that anyone that needs to file a claim speak to a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer. The lawyer can provide legal advice to see that a fair result is reached. The lawyer can work to ensure the employee gets the benefits he or she deserves.

What is the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights?

To ensure injured employees understand workers’ compensation, it is crucial that they know their rights and responsibilities after an accident.

How exactly does workers’ compensation work in Georgia? Under Georgia’s workers’ compensation Bill of Rights, injured employees have the right to:

  • Income benefits to replace a portion of lost income.
  • Medical treatment by a qualified doctor that can help them return to work.
  • A list of at least six doctors, posted by the employer, including at least one orthopedic surgeon.
  • Change doctors one time from one panel doctor to another without the approval or permission of the employer.
  • Temporary medical care from a doctor not on the list in emergency situations, and a return to a doctor on the posted list when the emergency is over.
  • Payment of doctor’s bills, hospital bills, rehabilitation, physical therapy, prescriptions, and travel expenses for going to and from doctor’s appointments.
  • Income benefits, paid weekly, when an employee has missed more than seven days of work.
  • Income benefits for the first week of work if the injury causes the employee to miss more than twenty-one days of work in a row.
  • A weekly disability check of two-thirds of the employee’s wage, but not more than $675 a week, as long as the employee is unable to work, up to a maximum of 400 weeks.
  • Weekly income benefits of $450 per week for a maximum of 350 weeks if the employee can return to work but cannot return to the same line of work at the same rate of pay or number of hours he or she once performed.
  • If the workplace accident was fatal, benefits paid to dependent family members in the amount of $7,500 in burial costs, and two-thirds of the employee’s weekly wages, up to a maximum of $675 a week.
  • Penalize the insurance company when payments are late and have those penalties added on to the employee’s disability check.

Along with the rights, employees also have certain responsibilities under the Bill of Rights. Employees have the responsibility to:

  • Follow the safety procedures outlined by the employer.
  • Report the injury to the employer within 30 days of the accident.
  • Follow all treatment recommendations made by a physician.
  • Notify the insurance company and the employer in the case the employee moves.
  • Attempt to perform a job when the authorized physician clears the employee to return to work.
  • File a workers’ compensation claim within one year of the accident.
  • Submit all claims for medical expenses and mileage within one year of incurring the costs.
  • Submit to a drug test when asked.

Georgia Workers’ Comp Law: Questions and Answers

The following section provides answers to other questions you may have about workers’ compensation laws in Georgia.

Workers’ Comp Law

Is workers’ comp required for all Georgia employers?

Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia. All employers that have three or more full-time, part-time, and even seasonal employees on staff must provide workers’ compensation.

The Workers’ Compensation Coverage Verification website allows you to conduct a quick search to determine if your employer carries workers’ compensation.

Can I refuse light-duty work while on workers’ comp?

After being injured on the job, your doctor may clear you for light-duty work. This may confuse you if you are receiving workers’ compensation. Remember that no one can force you to return to work in any capacity. However, the workers’ compensation insurance company may stop paying benefits if you refuse light-duty work and you have been approved for that work by your treating doctor.

Before returning to work, you should receive a Form WC-240 and a Form WC-240a. These forms state that your doctor has approved you for work.

Can I be fired for a work injury?

Many states provide protections for employees that are hurt on the job. One of those protections allows employees to start collecting workers’ compensation benefits. Georgia provides that same protection to injured workers. However, Georgia is an at-will employment state, and employees can be hired or fired for any reason. Under the at-will doctrine, employers may find another reason to fire an employee other than the filing of a workers’ compensation claim.

Talk to a Lawyer Now About Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws provide numerous protections for employers. But it’s important to understand that you, as an employee, have many rights also. If you have been injured on the job and believe your rights are being violated, contact our Augusta workers’ compensation lawyer at Gregory Smith Law, LLC now.

At Gregory Smith Law, LLC we can help you file your claim and ensure you meet all necessary deadlines. We will use our legal knowledge and experience to help you succeed with your claim. Call us today or reach out to us online to schedule your free consultation.