Below are the Top 5 Georgia Workers’ Compensation questions. The list contains the most common questions/answers for Georgia workers’ compensation injury claims.
#1 What is the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law?
Injured workers have rights and responsibilities pursuant to O.C.G.A 34-9-81.8. You may receive medical, rehabilitation income benefits. The goal of these benefits is to help you get better and return to work. This is a general overview of your rights under the Act. In a separate page, I describe PPD ratings and what they mean.
#2 What Is a Panel of Physicians?
If your employer posted a Panel of Physicians (a list of at least six doctors) you must choose a doctor from that list. You may change to another doctor without permission from your employer from the Panel. If you are suffering from a medical emergency, you’re eligible for temporary medical care from any doctor until the emergency is over.
#3 What is a Compensable Claim?
“Compensable” claims entitle you to the reasonable and necessary treatment to cure or relieve the effects of the work injury. This is a frequent area of litigation. However, reasonable and necessary is subject to interpretation and debate. Sometimes you can’t work because of your injury. You need the Authorized Treating Physician to provide you with a work excuse. The excuse must state “totally disabled.” If you are off work as a result of your work injury you may be entitled to weekly monetary benefits called weekly income benefits.
#4 What is the Difference Between TTD or TPD?
TTD – Temporary Total Disability
Temporary total disability payments or TTD income benefits come into play if you are taken off work completed by the Authorized Treating Physician. This is calculated by taking two-thirds of your average weekly wage (of the wages for the 13 weeks prior to the date of accident) up to the statutory maximum. For injuries prior to July 1, 2013, the maximum is $500 per week. For injuries after July 1, 2013, the maximum $550 per week. This is nontaxable.
TPD – Temporary Partial Disability
Sometimes, the Authorized Treating Physician does not believe you are totally disabled. Instead, they believe you can perform a lighter duty job or work fewer hours, and you return to work at a lower paying job. As a result, temporary partial disability payments or TPD benefits are a possibility. Calculating these benefits can be somewhat tricky. It is very important that you keep track of all of your pay stubs and any post-injury wages earned.
There are time limits on how long you are eligible to receive income benefits. Specifically, there is a limit of 400 weeks from the date of the accident for TTD benefits. It is 350 weeks from the date of the accident for TPD benefits. In the past, there was no time limit on the weeks you could receive medical treatment. However, injuries occurring after July 1, 2013, have a limit or “cap” on medical benefits beyond 400 weeks from the date of the accident. This does not apply to catastrophic claims. The majority of the claims in Georgia are not catastrophic.
# 5 What are Income Benefits
You are only entitled to TTD income benefits if you are off work for more than seven consecutive days, deemed compensable or “accepted” by the insurance company, and certified disabled by the Authorized Treating Physician. Unfortunately, you will not be paid for the first seven days that you are off work. Missing work for more than 21 consecutive days due to the injury results in retroactive payment for seven days.