If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be considering getting help from an attorney. As you weigh your decision, you’ll want to know what workers’ comp lawyers do. We represent employees injured on the job so they can get workers’ compensation (or comp) benefits. These benefits include wage replacement, medical treatment, and rehabilitation for injuries and occupational diseases.
Our workers’ comp lawyers give you the ability to focus on recovery, because we’re dealing with the insurance company and employer while you heal.
Your life can be disrupted by a work-related injury or illness. Your health suffers; it can affect your career, finances, and well-being. In the midst of this upheaval, getting legal help can relieve a lot of added stress. Is it worth getting a workers’ comp attorney? The Mann Law Firm helps you get all the benefits you’re entitled to receive, as quickly as possible, with the least hassle.
Our clients benefit from our knowledge of workers’ comp law and how insurance companies work, and you can, too. We know what information is needed and how to advocate on your behalf so the system will work for you. You may wonder, how does a workers’ comp attorney get paid? You don’t have any up-front legal fees. We get a share of your income benefits when you receive them.
What Is Workers’ Comp, and How Does it Work in Georgia?
Because of Georgia’s statutory law, employers must buy workers’ comp insurance coverage. Organizations employing three or more people, including regular part-time workers, must have workers’ compensation coverage. It’s a crime in Georgia for a covered employer not to carry workers’ comp insurance.
Generally, employers can’t be sued in court because of workplace injuries, but there are exceptions:
- Your employer lacks workers’ comp coverage.
- Your employer lied about your injuries not being work-related, and you can prove that’s the case.
- Benefits you deserve are denied.
- You’re told to return to work before you’re ready.
- You were fired because you filed for or received workers’ compensation benefits.
If a third party caused you harm, you could file for workers’ comp benefits and sue for personal injuries. This might happen if you were injured by a defective scaffolding that fell apart or another vehicle hit you while you were driving on the job. In such cases, you could bring a personal injury claim against the scaffolding manufacturer or a car accident case against the driver who was at fault for the accident.
Workers’ comp is a compromise for both sides. As the injured worker, you should get your benefits quickly, which can be helpful to cover bills associated with your injury. However, you can’t recover through workers’ comp money for pain and suffering and other damages that could be available in a personal injury claim. Employers avoid paying those potentially high jury verdict amounts that can accompany a personal injury lawsuit, but with workers’ comp claims, the insurance pays for injuries that can be blamed on workers.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Available in Georgia?
There are many costs that can be covered with a workers’ compensation claim, so it is in your best interest to move quickly to get the process started. Workers’ comp benefits in Georgia include:
- Replacement of two-thirds of your wages, providing some income while you can’t work. It will also supplement your income if you can return only part-time during your recovery.
- Payment for medical care and rehabilitation.
- Benefits to dependents of those killed by a job-related injury or illness.
- Payment for a permanent disability.
Most injuries arising out of and caused in the course of employment are covered. They include:
- Muscle, tendon, ligament strains or tears
- Back injuries
- Slipping and falling
- Injuries after being hit by an object
- Injuries due to being crushed by machinery, equipment, or objects
- Burns or injuries due to extremely high or low temperatures
- Exposure to toxic chemicals that cause lung, skin, or eye injuries
- Injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents
- Occupational illness.
The types of occupational illnesses that are covered can include hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome, and silicosis. However, some illnesses are not covered in a workers’ comp claim in Georgia. Those include: heart problems, vascular diseases, psychiatric, and psychological issues, unless a separate occupational disease causes them. While you can be covered for an injury that stemmed from an accident or injury that you caused, there would be no benefits if your willful misconduct caused an injury or accident.
Workers’ comp insurance doesn’t cover all workers — only employees. If you were falsely labeled an independent contractor and injured on the job, you could seek benefits and claim that the employer misclassified your status. Others excluded from coverage include:
- Employees whose employer has less than three regular employees
- Most railroad employees (they are covered by federal law)
- Farm workers
- Federal government employees (they are covered by federal law)
- Domestic servants.
How Does the Georgia Workers’ Comp Process Work?
The first step in getting benefits is informing your employer about your injury — and the sooner, the better. The longer you wait, it’s more likely that the insurance company will deny you benefits. They may state that you injured yourself some other way, not while working.
You must provide notice of your injury or illness within 30 days or your claim will be denied.
After you report your injury, your employer must tell its insurance company. The carrier will review your claim and decide whether you qualify for benefits. It could look at your medical records, work experience, wages and education. You may have to see their medical expert to evaluate your condition. If they approve your claim, you must promptly get your benefits.
To strengthen your claim, it is important to keep all records associated with your injury and any medical treatment you receive. Keep all your bills and any other documents you receive. If possible, take pictures of the scene of your injury because it may help your claim.
Is it Worth Getting a Workers’ Comp Attorney?
Yes, and for several reasons. You can appeal a denial by asking for a hearing with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ comp law is very technical, so hiring a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney may be the difference between getting benefits or not. Insurance companies have attorneys; you could be at a serious disadvantage without one to take on the insurance company for you.
Workers’ compensation insurance companies are like any other private business. Their goal is to make a profit. Paying out as little as possible helps them reach that goal. Your employer pays insurance premiums, and those premiums increase when benefits are paid, so employers want to avoid paying claims, too. It’s not unusual for a deserving claim to be denied or for insufficient benefits to be paid. The Mann Law Firm deals with these issues regularly.
What Do Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Do?
We can help you get benefits right from the start. We can advise you about what to say and do after your injury to ensure that all of your rights are protected. There are many other benefits to working with our attorneys. We will…
- Make sure all the required forms are correctly completed and procedures are followed in a timely manner.
- Investigate your case and develop evidence to prove your claim.
- Gather and organize relevant work and medical records.
- Communicate with the insurance company, provide missing information or records, and clear up any confusion or misunderstanding.
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance carrier.
- Represent you at hearings.
- Prepare your case and argue it on your behalf if your claim goes to trial.
How Does a Workers’ Comp Attorney Get Paid?
The Mann Law Firm is paid on a contingency fee basis. This means there will be no fees unless we recover income benefits for you. Our fee will be 25 percent of those benefits, and it can’t exceed 400 weeks of benefits.
Get Help from Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Macon
You may need aggressive legal help to get the workers’ comp system to work for you. Insurance companies pay benefits for medical treatments because they’re obligated to do so by Georgia law. What do workers’ compensation attorneys do? Often that obligation is met because an injured worker’s attorney reminded the insurance carrier of what they need to do and forced them to comply.
Our workers’ compensation lawyer at the Mann Law Firm can protect you and your family while you recover from your injuries and get your health back. Call (478) 742-3381 today for a free case evaluation.