Most people have established a routine of working, earning an income and paying the bills to make their ends meet. However, when you are injured on the job and can no longer work, everything immediately changes. How do you meet your financial obligations? In Georgia, your employer is not obligated to hold your job while you recover from your injuries. In such cases, you can file a Workers’ Compensation claim to receive benefits for your medical expenses, lost wages and a permanent impairment rating.
The Workers’ Compensation program provides financial assistance for lost wages and the medical costs of a person who has sustained an on-the-job injury, develops job-related disease or leaves dependents when a worker is killed in a job-related accident. These benefits protect employees and their families from suffering financial destitution after a work-related injury or death. Lost wage benefits or disability benefits are usually paid out weekly or biweekly. Workers’ Compensation benefits also include payment of medical expenses and permanent partial disability benefits for a permanent impairment to compensate the victims of job-related injuries. Prior to the establishment of a Workers’ Compensation program, an employee had to file a lawsuit against their employer. Often, these lawsuits could be costly and difficult to win. After the passage of the Workers’ Compensation Act in Georgia in 1920, an employee could no longer sue his employer, but could file a claim for workers’ compensation disability and medical benefits. Today, the workers’ compensation program benefits both the injured employee by providing for timely payment of disability and medical benefits, and the employer by providing protection against excessive lawsuits and verdicts.
Workers’ Compensation as a program began to appear in the United States in the early 1900s and today is the longest-running social insurance program. Most employers have a Workers’ Compensation insurance policy in place to cover the benefits for any employees injured on the job. The program itself is managed by the state, which ensures that benefits are paid and disputes are resolved.
At Affleck & Gordon, we have obtained millions of dollars in benefits for our clients, saving you the hassle of trying to understand the complex law in this area. During our over thirty years of practice, we have represented workers’ against big corporations and insurance companies, who try to limit the compensation allowed to injured employees.
Injured employee’s rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act include:
- The cost of medical treatment and/or rehabilitative therapies.
- Death benefits paid to your dependents.
- Medications and/or other costs associated with your recovery, including travel expenses to and from the doctor.
- Vocational rehabilitation training if you are unable to return to your previous position and you qualify for such benefits.
- Weekly income benefits if you miss more than seven days of work.
- Catastrophic Injury – you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly salary up to the maximum allowed for as long as you are unable to return to work.
- Non-Catastrophic Injury – you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly salary up to the maximum allowed up to 400 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, or up to 350 weeks of temporary partial disability benefits.
- Catastrophic injuries included paralysis, amputations, blindness, severe head trauma, spinal cord injury or any injury severe enough to keep you from returning to your past work or any other work.
Your employer is required by law to post a list of at least six doctors or a certified Workers’ Compensation Managed Care Organization providing medical care to any injured employee. You are allowed two selections of treating physicians from this panel of doctors without prior approval of the insurance company or State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Any additional changes require approval of the insurance company or the State Board. In cases where emergency treatment is needed, different rules may apply.