As a nurse, your job of caring for others can be physically demanding and, at times, hazardous to your health. This means you’re especially likely to suffer an injury on the job. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently noted that registered nurses have one of the highest occupational injury and sickness rates in the U.S. healthcare industry.
If you’re a nurse who got hurt on the job, you may be wondering about the options you have available to seek benefits and compensation. Chances are good that you’re eligible for workers’ compensation. However, it can be challenging to navigate the complicated claims process and get the full compensation you deserve.
A dedicated worker’s compensation attorney at Gregory Smith Law, LLC is ready to advocate for your rights and pursue all of the benefits you deserve under the law. Contact us today for a free and confidential claim review.
- 1 Can Nurses Receive Workers’ Compensation?
- 2 What Injuries Are Covered Under Workers’ Comp for Nurses?
- 3 What Evidence Is Needed to Prove a Workers’ Comp Claim for a Nurse?
- 4 How Long Can a Nurse Receive Workers’ Compensation?
- 5 Can a Nurse Still Work If They Are Receiving Workers’ Compensation?
- 6 Is There a Limit to the Amount of Workers’ Compensation a Nurse Can Receive?
Can Nurses Receive Workers’ Compensation?
Georgia State Board of Worker’s Compensation requires all organizations with three or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In short, this means that almost all doctor’s offices and medical facilities must provide this coverage to nurses who are injured in the course of their employment.
However, even when employers provide coverage, appropriate compensation is not guaranteed. The workers’ compensation process can be frustrating – even one mistake in your application can result in a denial – and it is often difficult for workers to gauge whether or not they’re receiving the full benefits they are owed.
An experienced worker’s comp lawyer will explore all possible avenues for recovery so you know that your rights are being asserted.
What Injuries Are Covered Under Workers’ Comp for Nurses?
Nurses’ jobs are physically demanding, often requiring long periods of standing and walking, as well as bending, stretching, and heavy lifting. Physical injuries related to simple overexertion are common among nurses, as are slips, trips, and falls due to hazards in rooms and hallways. Nurses are also regularly exposed to dangerous chemicals, pathogens, needles, machinery, and even violent patients.
Worker’s compensation claims for nurses may cover injuries associated with incidents such as these, in addition to:
- Back strains/Herniated discs – a primary cause for work injuries for nurses is lifting and moving heavy or unresponsive patients.
- Joint injuries – hands-on patient care can cause extreme stress to a nurse’s arms, shoulders and elbows.
- Strains and sprains – Overexertion of muscles and joints, even from simple repetitive motions, can result in unbearable pain.
- Slip and Fall injuries – commonly cause torn knee ligaments and tendons, and foot injuries.
- Trauma – a multitude of orthopedic injuries can be caused by unruly or combative patients.
What Evidence Is Needed to Prove a Workers’ Comp Claim for a Nurse?
To successfully pursue a worker’s compensation claim, nurses must prove that they were injured in the line of work and that their resulting condition is so severe that they need medical treatment and time off to recover.
Examples of evidence that may be used to support this kind of claim may include:
- Video from workplace security cameras, if available
- Coworker or eyewitness interviews and statements
- Photographs of any physical injuries
- Medical records that document causation and disability
- The opinions of treating health care professionals
How Long Can a Nurse Receive Workers’ Compensation?
The severity of a nurse’s injury and the amount of work they miss as a result both affect how much workers’ compensation they can receive and for how long.
Generally, injured nurses who are forced to miss more than seven days of work are eligible for weekly income benefits, which entitle them to two-thirds of their average weekly pay.
For most injuries, Georgia nurses are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits for up to 400 weeks. However, if the results of a workplace incident are considered “catastrophic,” such as in the case of amputation, paralysis, or blindness, injured nurses may be eligible for benefits for as long as they are unable to return to work.
Medical treatment, prescription expenses and other rehabilitative care are also covered by the Employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Can a Nurse Still Work If They Are Receiving Workers’ Compensation?
In some cases, you might be physically able to return to work but still require assistance to heal or support yourself after your injury. When this happens, you may still be eligible to receive worker’s compensation benefits while you work.
If you go back to work but must take a light-duty position that pays you less income or have to work fewer hours as a result of your workplace incident, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits under Georgia law. Your benefits will equal two-thirds of the difference between your previous average weekly wage and the wage you’re earning in your new, modified role.
Is There a Limit to the Amount of Workers’ Compensation a Nurse Can Receive?
In the event of an injury that requires you to miss work completely, you may be eligible for benefits equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages, up to $675.00 per week for 400 weeks. For an injury that leave you able to work but earning less, you can receive two-thirds of the difference from your former weekly income, up to $450.00 per week for 350 weeks. If your accident was catastrophic and left you permanently unable to return to work, you may be eligible to receive lifetime weekly benefits.
If the injury results in some degree of permanent partial disability, an additional monetary benefit is owed. This payment for permanent disability is determined by the severity of the injury and the area of the body that is injured pursuant to Georgia law. For example, a 20% permanent partial disability to the back would entitle the injured worker to benefits for up to 60 weeks in addition to whatever temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits already received.
The knowledgeable team at Gregory Smith Law, LLC exclusively handles workers’ compensation cases across Georgia. Although we see injured employees every day, we treat each case with care, compassion and attention to detail because we know our results matter.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn about the results we can seek for you.