MACON WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER
November 30, 2020
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Our Macon Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You Get All The Benefits You Deserve.If you are one of the many people who have suffered from an injury in the workplace, you are entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits. The workers’ compensation system was developed to provide benefits if workplace-related injuries or illnesses leave you unable to do your job, but sometimes benefits are denied unfairly. Our attorneys can help you get what benefits you deserve.
How a Macon Workers’ Comp Lawyer Can Help You Get BenefitsWorkers’ compensation insurance and insurance companies are out for profit and want to pay out as little as possible. Workers’ comp premiums are paid by employers, and premiums go up when benefits are paid out, so they want to avoid paying out claims. As a result, it’s not unusual to have your claim denied or be awarded less compensation than you deserve. In addition, Georgia rules and procedures for getting workers’ comp are complicated, and making a mistake can also result in a claim denial.
- Making sure all forms are filled out correctly and all procedures followed in a timely manner.
- Investigating your case, interviewing witnesses, and gathering evidence to help prove your claim
- Obtaining all relevant work and medical records
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Representing you at any hearings
- Preparing your case and arguing on your behalf if a claim goes to trial.
EVERY GEORGIA WORKER IS AUTOMATICALLY COVERED BY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE FROM THE FIRST DAY OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT. UNFORTUNATELY, WORKERS’ COMP BENEFITS ARE NOT THAT AUTOMATIC. TOO MANY TIMES, BENEFITS ARE DENIED OR THEY ARE NOT ENOUGH TO COVER THE NEEDS OF THE INJURED WORKER.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYERS HELP YOU GET PAID WHILE NOT WORKINGA work injury can cause a major disruption in your life. Your health is affected, but so are your career, finances, and wellbeing. All states, including Georgia, have a workers’ compensation system that can compensate you for some of the losses you incur and get you working again as soon as possible. This page explains the types and amounts of benefits available, so you can get paid while you are not able to work.
Types of Workers’ Comp Claims and QualificationsIf you are hurt or became ill because of the work you do, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. As long as you are an eligible employee, you may receive compensation no matter who was at fault for your injury. In exchange for having this protection, you forfeit the right to file a lawsuit against your company for damages, with a few very limited exceptions.
THERE ARE FOUR ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE THESE BENEFITS:You have to be an employee of the company.
- Not every worker is an “employee” when it comes to being covered by workers’ comp. Specifically, independent contractors, such as freelancers and consultants, are not usually entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But many employees, such as drivers for Uber, will claim they are being misclassified as freelancers or independent contractors when the firm that hired them should have called them employees. It is common for employers to misclassify workers as independent contractors or freelancers so they do not have to pay workers’ compensation premiums. Note: Even if you signed a 1099 tax form and said you are an independent contractor, you still could quality for workers’ compensation. But this sort of dispute often ends up in court, and you will need a workers’ compensation lawyer working with you.
- Most companies are required to have worker’s comp coverage, but not all do. The laws on this vary by state. Generally, the responsibility of the employer is to give coverage based on the number of workers it has, which type of business it is, and the sort of work that is being done by employees. Most states do require any employer with at least one worker to have coverage, but other states have a minimum of two to five workers.
- In Georgia, the requirement is that all businesses with three or more workers, including regular part-time workers, carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, not all employers follow the law. You can verify your employer’s coverage online at the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation website.
- Some states have other requirements in the agriculture and construction fields. Many companies buy insurance even if they are not required to. Usually, state laws allow these employers to opt into the system. In this situation, the employee can get benefits for injuries incurred on the job, but they are not eligible to file a lawsuit against their employer. Ask a work injury attorney about this if you have questions.
- Generally, if you were performing work that benefitted your employer and you got injured or ill because of the work, then it is defined as work-related. For instance, your injury is obviously work-related if you strain your back while putting boxes in a truck in a warehouse. This situation can become more muddled, such as if you were hurt when you took a break or were injured at a company-sponsored party.
- It is important to work with your Macon workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you meet all filing deadlines. There are special rules for some types of employees, including domestic employees, agricultural and farm employees, seasonal or casual workers, and workers who have been placed with a company by a temp agency.
TYPES OF DISABILITYWorkers who suffer an illness or injury that prevents them from working on a temporary basis can obtain temporary disability benefits. There are two types:
- Temporary total disability:Available if your doctor determines you are unable to work. You may receive up to 2/3 of the average weekly salary you had at the time of your injury or illness. Unless the injury is catastrophic, you will not get benefits beyond 400 weeks from the date of injury.
- Temporary partial disability:Available if you can go back to work, but only in employment that involves less strenuous duty and less income than what you had before. You may be eligible to receive up to 2/3 of the difference between your average wage each week before and after your injury. Benefits will cease 350 weeks after the date of injury.
GEORGIA STATE LAWSEmployers in this state who have three or more workers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. They are required to participate in the program because it provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job. Benefits also provide much-needed assistance to dependents of workers who die from a job-related injury or occupational disease.
WHAT IF THE EMPLOYER DOESN’T HAVE COVERAGE?In Georgia, if your company has three or more employees and you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may file a civil lawsuit against the company to receive benefits and damages.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIMIn Georgia, you must file a WC-14 with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Send a copy of this form to your company as well as their workers’ compensation insurance company. The State Board of Workers’ Compensation can provide you with the form. Or, you can get a copy of the form from the Board website.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FOR JOBSITE INJURIESWorkers’ compensation is an insurance program paid for by employers that provides medical, rehabilitation and income benefits to workers who are injured or made ill on the job. Workers who are unable to work for more than seven days are entitled to weekly income benefits based upon their earnings. Georgia’s workers’ comp program also provides benefits to dependents of workers who die as a result of a job-related injury. Any business in Georgia with three or more workers, including regular part-time workers, is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. Employees are covered as of their first day on the job. The State Board of Workers’ Compensation administers more than 100,000 claims every year, which result in hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits paid.
Our Macon Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help Secure Added Injury PaymentsUnlike a personal injury lawsuit, where you must prove another party was negligent and at fault for your injuries to get compensation, worker’s comp is a no-fault program. If you qualify for, file for, and accept workers’ compensation, you are not allowed to sue your employer even if their negligence caused the accident. However, there are certain situations where you can file a lawsuit for the injuries you suffered.
- Your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp coverage.
- Your employer lies about your injuries’ being work-related and you can prove they are.
- Your employer is denying benefits you deserve or asking you to return to work earlier than you should.
- There is a third party involved. If you are injured at work and the injury was caused by a third party, such as an outside contractor who ran you over with a vehicle, you can file a lawsuit against that third party.
- If you were fired from a job because you filed for or received workers’ compensation benefits.
What You Can Win in a Personal Injury Lawsuit Related to Your Work InjuryWhile workers’ compensation can provide benefits for your medical care and lost wages, a personal injury lawsuit can provide additional benefits. In a successful lawsuit, our workers’ comp lawyers can win an award, called damages, for both compensatory damages and punitive damages.
- Special damages are for monetary losses that have a specific dollar value, such as medical and rehabilitative expenses, lost work income, and property damage.
- General damages are for losses difficult to quantify, such as past and future pain and suffering.
CONTACT A MACON WORKERS’ COMP LAWYER TODAYIf you have been injured on the job or have lost a loved one in a workplace accident anywhere in the Middle Georgia area, an experienced Macon workers’ compensation lawyer from the Mann Law Firm can help you obtain the workers’ comp benefits that you need and deserve. Contact us today at (478) 742-3381 to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation about your case.
Work injury statistics:
- It is estimated by the National Safety Council that a worker is hurt on the job every seven seconds.
- There are 510 workers hurt every hour, and 12,300 per day. That is 86,500 per week, and 4.5 million per year.
- Approximately 104,000,000 production days were lost to work-related injuriesin 2016.
- Most common types of injuries that prevent employees from working are sprains, tears and strains; soreness and pain in the back or neck; and cuts, lacerations and punctures.
- The top three workplace injury events are overexertion; contact with objects and equipment; and slips, trips and falls
EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIESEmployers have several responsibilities under the workers’ comp system. Most employers with three or more employees must have coverage. If they do not, employees may be able to file a lawsuit against the company in civil court.
- Post information in a convenient location that employees frequent during regular working hours. The notices should provide the name of the firm’s workers’ compensation carrier and state that workers who are injured have a right to receive medical treatment and benefits. Details about workers’ compensation benefits also should be stated.
- Provide the injured employee with a workers’ compensation claim form within 24 hours of getting notice of the injury or illness.
- Provide each employee with written material about employees’ rights to receive workers’ comp.
4 THINGS TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED ON THE JOB
- Report the injury to your supervisor.
- Ask to see the panel of physicians from your employer’s insurance company.
- Select a physician from the panel.
- If the doctor recommends physical restrictions at work, advise your supervisor about them.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROCESS IN ACTIONWorkers’ compensation insurance protects workers from financial ruin after an on-the-job injury, but how does the process work on your end?
Claims ProcessIn Georgia, telling your employer about your injury is the first step to starting a workers’ comp claim. You must give prompt notice of the work-related injury in writing or orally. If you do not tell your employer about the injury within 30 days, you could forfeit the right to collect workers’ comp benefits. You also must file Form WC-14 with the State Board and send a copy of the form to your employer and its workers’ comp insurance provider.
Your ResponsibilitiesThe process of filing a workers’ compensation claim begins with the worker’s informing the employer of the incident that caused the injury. While you shouldn’t be subjected to intense scrutiny or be required to do an excessive amount of paperwork, there are a few important things to remember after being hurt at work.
- Report all workplace accidents and injuries right away when they happen on the job.
- You must tell your employer if you have been hurt at work. This must be done within 30 days of the date of injury or when you first became aware of the work-related injury or illness.
- You also have the responsibility to inform your doctor about your injury and how it occurred on the job.
- You must accept reasonable medical treatments if ordered by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
- Submit to drug testing after a workplace accident if the employer or workers’ compensation insurance company requires it.
- Make only honest and true statements and claims to receive workers’ comp. You can be convicted of a misdemeanor if you make false or misleading statements to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
- Report change in status to the provider of workers’ comp or your company.
If you have questions about the process or feel you may not be treated fairly, talk to a workers’ comp lawyer on our team. Our experience and knowledge will ensure your rights and benefits are protected.
APPEALS PROCESSJust because your claim was denied doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. The workers’ compensation claim appeals process is your chance to get the payment you deserve.
If Your Claim Is Denied, You Can AppealTo start this process, you need to ask for a hearing with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Unless your case is very simple, it is highly recommended that you hire a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney. The insurance company will have good attorneys, and you could be at a serious disadvantage without proper legal counsel. That’s why it’s important to reach out to a workers’ comp lawyer who has significant experience helping injured workers.
Typical Workplace Accidents and Injuries for Which Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Paid:
- Muscle, tendon, ligament strains or tears from excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing
- Injuries caused by bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, slipping or tripping without falling
- Slipping and falling to the floor or ground or from one level to a lower level
- Being struck by an object, such as a tool or piece of equipment or material falling from above
- Being smashed against an object, such as a worker being pushed into a door or wall or piece of machinery
- Being crushed by getting caught in, under or between pieces of machinery, equipment or objects
- Exposure to extreme temperatures (i.e., burns or deep freezes)
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Injuries on construction jobs
A Denial Is Not the End of the RoadLike many government programs, workers’ compensation does not always work as expected. And, as the program has been adjusted through the years, its rules and regulations have grown more complicated. Injured workers who are denied workers’ compensation benefits, or who are dissatisfied with the benefits they have been allocated, may request a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. This hearing is before an Administrative Law Judge, who determines what benefits, if any, the worker should receive. “Your employer may be represented at the hearing by a lawyer,” the Board of Workers’ Compensation says in its FAQs about the workers’ comp program. “You may need help from a lawyer in order to present your claim properly.”
Indeed, an experienced Macon workers’ compensation lawyer like those at the Mann Law Firm can help you if you face problems applying for or appealing workers’ comp benefits.