Workers’ Compensation allows you to receive compensation for an on the job injury, regardless of who was at fault for the injury in most cases. This article is intended to inform you about the basics of Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law.
What Benefits Does Georgia Workers’ Compensation Provide?
If you have been injured on the job in Georgia, you should receive compensation based on your “average weekly wage” before your injury and the extent of your injury. Georgia Law dictates that there are three kinds of benefits available for compensation. These benefits include:
- Temporary Partial Disability – You have been injured and can’t earn as much income as before you suffered your injury, but are still able to work. This is referred to in Georgia State Law as a “Temporary Partial Disability” (TPD). If you have suffered a temporary partial disability, you can receive two-thirds of the difference in pay in respect to before and after the injury. Even if you no longer work for the employer you had when you sustained your injury, his insurance carrier will still have to compensate you. However, you cannot be compensated more than $383 a week or be compensated for longer than a 350 week period, if your injury occurred on or after July 1, 2016.
- Temporary Total Disability – You have been injured and cannot return to work for an extended, but temporary, period of time. This type of injury would be considered a “Temporary Total Disability” (TTD). You could receive two thirds of you average weekly wage, but cannot receive a weekly compensation higher than $500 per week if your injury occurred after July 1, 2007. Injuries that are considered a temporary total disability will only be compensated for a maximum of 400 weeks after the date of injury, unless the injury is deemed “catastrophic.” A “catastrophic” injury will exempt you from the 400 week timeframe, and includes:
- Amputations such as a foot, leg, hand, or arm.
- Severe neurological disorders
- Brain injuries
- Permanent Partial Disability – “Permanent Partial Disability” is different than TPD and TTD benefits because it is based on the amount of disability caused by your injury. A doctor will need to determine the percentage of your impairment, the part of your body that is impaired, and your prior compensation rate to be used in a formula to estimate your PPD compensation. This should allow you to receive coverage specific to the extent of your injury for a time frame that may extend a TPD or TTD injury. A PPD is only used after TPD and TTD payments have stopped.
What Should I Do After An Injury?
Inform your employer of your injury as soon as possible. If it is an emergency, seek medical attention immediately. However, if your injury is not an emergency, refer to the list of approved doctors that your employer should have provided and request to see one. You may lose your rights for compensation 30 days after your injury if you do not inform your employer of your injury.
If you do not receive compensation for your injury or are denied compensation, you can file a claim against your employers through the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. It is your right to retain a Workers’ Compensation lawyer to help you through any part of a compensation or legal process. You will need to file a WC-14 form and send it to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation for review. You will then need to present your case at trial that will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge. The Judge will determine what compensation (if any) you are entitled to. A strong legal representation is key here, you will probably need a lawyer to receive a fair compensation, as your employer will have likely retained a lawyer at this point as well. Also, it’s best to start this process early, because you will only have one year to file a claim after the day you sustained your injury.
What Will My Lawyer Charge Me For Her Services?
You and your lawyer should agree on a percentage that will be used to pay her before she is retained. According to Georgia law, your lawyer cannot charge you more than 25 percent of your settlement or award, unless the total award you would receive is less than $100.
What Else Should I Know?
- You will be covered by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation policy the day you start your job.
- Your average weekly wage is calculated by using the past 13 weeks of your income. If this calculation is considered inaccurate by your employer, your average weekly wage will be determined by an employee with a position similar to yours.
- You employer is required to post a list of at least six approved doctors that you can visit for your injuries on the job.
- Every company that employs three or more people (including part-time employees) is required to have Workers’ Compensation coverage.
- Your employer could face civil penalties and criminal misdemeanor charges if the company has three employees or more, but doesn’t have Workers’ Compensation coverage.
- All work injuries that occurred on or before June 30, 2013 could be entitled to lifetime medical coverage.
- If you die due to an incident at work, your family will be compensated for two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to $575 per week if your death occurred on or after July 1, 2016.
- The State laws for Workers’ Compensation are constantly changing. These laws are usually announced or enacted on July 1st every year.