Helping You Get Your Life Back on Track After a Workplace Injury
Georgia’s economy is growing at a rapid pace. Technology startups are cropping up everywhere and corporations make their homes here, meaning construction in the city is never-ending. But whether people are working in an office or on a job site, injuries can happen. When they do, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation.
Like in most other states, workers’ comp insurance in Georgia serves two purposes, intended to make things easier for both employees and employers. Firstly, it quickly provides benefits to employees who are injured but still need money coming in steadily. In return, employers who offer this coverage are protected from personal injury lawsuits from injured workers.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But too often, injured workers are denied benefits. Insurance companies look for any reason they can to deny the claim so they can increase their profits. Employers might not file the claim at all in order to save on insurance premiums.
If your claim is denied, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you appeal the denial. The appeals process may be rather simple to start with, but it can become complicated quickly. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help ensure your claim is not denied unfairly. Contact LawyerUp as soon as possible to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
What Georgia Law Says About Workers’ Compensation
Every state has different laws dictating what employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, and what injuries are eligible for benefits. In Georgia, the Workers’ Compensation Act requires any company that has three or more employees, including regular part-time employees, to carry workers’ comp insurance. Not carrying workers’ compensation insurance if required to do so is a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and may also include jail time.
Besides employees of companies with fewer than three employees, there are other workers who are not covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act. These include:
- Independent contractors
- Farm laborers
- Most railroad employees
- Domestic servants
- Federal government employees
Most injuries that occur due to your performance of your job are covered by workers’ comp insurance. This includes gradually onsetting conditions, such as a workplace illness or carpal tunnel syndrome. In most cases, workers’ comp does not cover emotional or psychological injuries, unless that condition is caused by a related physical injury.
There are some injuries that do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. These include:
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries due to willful misconduct
- Injuries that occur when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Injuries that occur when you refuse to wear proper protective equipment, or willfully ignore safety procedures
In addition, failing to seek proper medical attention, failing to report the injury in a timely manner, and failing to submit to drug or alcohol tests can disqualify you from workers’ compensation.
Understanding the Georgia Workers’ Comp Process
If you are injured on the job, the very first thing you need to do is report the injury to your employer. They will have specific paperwork you need to fill out. On your report, be sure to include all the details you can, including the time and date, the location of the injury, details of what happened, the injuries you sustained, and more.
Once the report is completed, seek medical attention immediately. If you are too injured to fill out the report, seek medical attention first and the form will be completed for you. You are not permitted to go to just any doctor. Instead, you must go to one of the physicians chosen by your employer. If you need emergency medical care, you are permitted to go to the nearest emergency room, but any follow-up care must be with an approved physician.
If you are unhappy with the initial doctor, you may switch to a different approved doctor once. Any further change must be approved by your employer. If you go to an unapproved doctor, your medical costs will most likely not be covered. However, if your employer has not prominently posted a list of approved doctors, you may go to your own physician.
After you make your report, you have one year to file your claim for benefits in most cases. If you are denied, you will be given a reason why. That reason may be easily fixed, such as paperwork filled out improperly or if may be more complex. In either situation, a workers’ comp attorney can help you appeal the decision.
Get Help from a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
If you’ve suffered an illness or injury due to your job, you have legal rights. Your workers’ comp claim might be denied, but that’s not the end of the road. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you appeal the denial and get the benefits you deserve. Contact LawyerUp to get in touch with an attorney today.