4 Important Facts to Know About Georgia Workers’ Compensation Laws
Georgia has workers’ compensation laws in place to protect its workers when they are injured on the job. This is great news for you if you have been hurt at work, but you will likely also have many questions. Here are four important facts to know about Georgia workers’ compensation laws.
1. You Cannot Sue Your Employer
Workers’ compensation laws are meant to compensate you for your work injuries, but this also means you will be barred from suing your employer when you file a workers’ compensation claim.
2. You Are Entitled to Receive Compensation for Lost Wages, Medical Expenses, and Permanent Partial Disability.
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you are entitled to three basic benefits. The first is wage benefits. Once your doctor has examined you and placed you on no-work status, you can begin receiving wage benefits at a rate of two-thirds your average weekly rate. Typically, your average weekly rate is computed by taking your average weekly rate from the previous 13 weeks that you’ve worked at your company. The second benefit you are entitled to receive is medical benefits. In addition to actual costs of treatment inside the hospital, medical benefits also include your gas expenses for driving to and from the hospital, as well as any prescription medication you are required to purchase. All of your medical costs should be billed directly to your employer. The third and final benefit you are entitled to receive is permanent partial disability (PPD). Once your treatment is completed and your doctor determines that this is as good as you will get, your doctor will give you a PPD rating that may provide a final benefit to you.
3. You Should Start Receiving Benefits Within 21 Days, but It Could Be Longer.
The insurance company has 21 days to investigate your claim, so if all goes well and the company agrees to pay you, you should start receiving benefits within 21 days. However, in some cases, the employer may refuse to pay the employee, in which case the investigation process can take six months or longer. If you are experiencing any issues with getting your employer to pay, make sure you call an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
4. Do Not Return to Light Duty Until You Have Spoken With Your Attorney.
If your doctor determines that you are ready to return to work on light duty, make sure you call your attorney and let them know before you sign anything. In Georgia, the law requires your employer to obtain a written statement from your doctor detailing exactly what type of light-duty work you are able to do. Your employer is then required to give you 10 days notice of your new position, and you have 15 days to try the job. If you determine you are unable to perform your duties during this time period, you are allowed to quit and request the insurer to restart your weekly benefits.
Workers’ compensation laws can be complicated, and each person’s situation is unique. If you have been injured at work, call a trusted attorney immediately. We have worked on numerous workers’ compensation cases in Georgia and are well versed in Georgia law. Give us a call at (404)259-7635 today or visit our website to schedule your free consultation.