Injuries at Work and Savannah Workers Compensation Laws
While Georgia is known to have complex workers compensation laws, if you have been injured on the job, you should take some time to study the basics so you can make smart decision.
What does Workers Compensation Do for You?
1. It pays all related medical expenses.
2. It pays 2/3 of your lost wages, up to the maximum rate.
3. If there is a permanent impairment, the insurer may be willing to settle the claim.
4. If there is loss of a body part, there are tables providing for set values.
5. It does not matter if the injury was your fault.
What Does Workers Compensation Not Do?
1. There is no pain and suffering as in car accident cases.
2. There is no settlement unless the insurance carrier wants to reduce a future exposure.
3. You cannot pick your own Doctor without the Court's permission.
What are the Most Common Defenses Employers Raise?
1. The employer may claim that you are an independent contractor and not an employee.
2. The employer may claim that the injury actually occurred at home or not on the job.
3. The employer may claim that the injury occurred during the work day but outside the course and scope of employment like during lunch or on a private errand.
4. The employer may claim that the injury pre-existed or that the employee is malingering.
One interesting part of Georgia law is that, even if you were injured because you were being careless, you are still eligible for workers compensation.
How do I know if I am eligible for compensation?
Simply put, if you were injured while on the job, then you are eligible for workers compensation in Savannah. In some cases, employers will try not to pay workers compensation by claiming that the injured person is in fact an “independent contractor” for the company. If your boss is trying this tactic in your injury case, keep in mind that he or she may very well be incorrect—call our office right away so that we can help determine your actual status. From the perspective of Georgia law, if you are employed by someone who tells you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, then you are probably legally classified as an employee rather than an independent contractor.
How much workers compensation money can I expect to receive?
Under Georgia law, employers must pay their injured employees at least two-thirds of their average weekly wages, although there is a maximum of $500 per week. You should talk with an attorney to make sure, however, because the maximum amount usually changes after a few years.
Will I be compensated for pain and suffering?
Unfortunately, no. While victims of car accidents can claim damages for pain and suffering, workers compensation can only pay for long-term personal injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses.
What will a workers compensation attorney charge me?
While attorneys frequently charge by the hour, Georgia law states that they must use a “contingency fee” to charge workers compensation clients. This fee cannot legally exceed 25% of the amount you receive in your case.
If I am hurt on the job, will I have to pay for an emergency room visit?
No, your employer is responsible for your emergency room visit, so please do not hesitate to go to the ER if you need it.
Will my employer decide which doctor will treat me?
Yes, because most employers already have a “panel” of pre-approved doctors who have been chosen to treat any injured employees. If for some reason your doctor is too conservative in diagnosing your injury, though, you have the option to request a change of doctor from the Court’s Workers Compensation Board.
Will I receive compensation for each day I have to miss work?
Under Georgia law, you must be compensated for lost wages. However, this rule only applies if you have missed at least seven consecutive days of work.
Is a drug test required in order to receive compensation?
Yes, a drug test is necessary for people seeking workers compensation. If the test shows that you have taken drugs, you will probably not receive benefits.
What if I am fired after being injured on the job?
Even if you are fired after your injury, your employer is still required to pay your benefits as long as your injury lasts.
Do I have a limited amount of time to file my injury claim?
You must file a workers compensation claim (WC-14) within one year of the accident that caused your injury. If your employer provided treatment for your injury, then you have one year from the date of that treatment to file your claim.
If your injury case involves a severe injury or paralysis, then it is even more important that you hire an incredibly experienced and competent attorney to handle your case. Some “mill firms” take cases in bulk, and clients are never really able to talk to an actual lawyer. If you have hired a firm that is not returning your calls, or if you have a general feeling that your case is “up in the air,” then it is time to seek legal services elsewhere. Christopher Simon Attorney at Law takes great care to manage each case professionally and fairly, and we will make sure you receive the workers compensation you deserve.