Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve suffered a work-related injury in Georgia, your employer is responsible for the cost of your injuries. After your work-related injury, you may not know what you should do and what steps to take to receive the benefits you deserve.
The Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers at The Gearhart Law Group can guide you through this complex process. The answers to some of the most common questions clients ask about workers’ compensation are below:
What is Workers’ Compensation?
In Georgia, workers’ compensation allows an employee to recover the costs of all medical expenses and lost wages after they’ve suffered a work-related injury. If you suffer an occupational disease or workplace injury, you are eligible to receive benefits through the State of Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
Georgia’s Division of Workers’ Compensation currently serves almost four million workers and a quarter of a million employers in Georgia. They are responsible for ensuring that work injury claims are reimbursed consistently with existing workers’ compensation laws.
All 50 US states have individual workers’ compensation rules on how benefits work. Did you know work injury benefits fall into four different categories? Here they are:
What Are Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits?
TTD benefits get disbursed to an employee if they are recuperating from a workplace injury and unable to return to work.
There’s a waiting period to receive TTD, where the injured worker must be away from work for a period of time before they can file their claim.
TTD benefits continue until the worker returns or reaches their state’s maximum number of weeks allowed off from work.
What Are Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits?
TPD benefits get paid to an employee who returns to their job in a reduced schedule or capacity.
TTD benefits will end when the worker returns to work in a full-time capacity or reaches their state’s maximum number of weeks allowed on the program.
What Are Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits?
PPD benefits get disbursed to employees that experience permanent impairments, (i.e., loss of a limb) that took place during a workplace accident.
Payments correlate to the severity of the disabling injury. A number of weeks are assigned to an injury and multiplied by the worker’s salary that’s eligible under TTD.
PPD is paid out to a worker after they’ve reached their maximum medical improvement.
What Are Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits?
PTD benefits get disbursed to workers when they become severely disabled due to a workplace injury and can’t return to any job in the workforce.
In some states, PTD benefits get reduced when the worker starts to receive Social Security Disability Insurance.
Is There A Time Limit To Report My Work-Related Injury in Georgia?
Generally speaking, you have 30 days from the date of your injury, or, if your work-related injury occurred over a period of time, the day you became aware that you were injured.
Your Georgia employer may try to tell you that you cannot file a workers’ compensation claim because you didn’t report your injury immediately, but this isn’t true. However, you should report your work-related injury to your employer as soon as possible.
What Does Georgia Workers’ Compensation Count as an On-The Job Injury?
An on-the-job injury is one that takes place during the scope of performing your job. Additionally, if you needed to travel to meet a client and got injured while on the client’s property or are involved in a motor vehicle accident during your trip, that still counts as an on-the-job injury. Your commute to and from work, however, is not considered to be part of the scope of your employment.
However, if your employer gave you instructions regarding your commute, you may be able to claim benefits if you are injured while following the instructions of your employer.
My Employer Told Me I was Responsible for my Medical Bills Because My Work-Related Injury Was My Fault. Is This True?
No! Georgia’s workers’ compensation program is a no-fault system. Even if your mistake caused you to be injured at work, your employer is required to pay all the medical bills and lost wages associated with your work-related injury.
Please note that there are exceptions to this rule, so it’s important to contact one of the Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers at The Gearhart Law Group to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding your case.
Does Georgia Workers’ Compensation Pay For My Lost Wages?
Yes, Georgia’s workers’ compensation program will pay two-thirds of your average weekly salary, which is calculated based upon all the wages you received including overtime, bonuses, and any other benefits, in the 13 weeks prior to your work-related injury.
Do I Have To See My Georgia Employer’s Doctor for Treatment and Can I Get A Second Opinion?
Georgia law does require that your employer post a “panel” of pre-approved doctors for you to see if you are injured on the job. This panel must meet certain legal requirements such as:
- This list must be pink and printed on the most current poster
- The list must include at least six (6) physicians
- At least one physician on the list must be an orthopedic surgeon
- One doctor on the list must be a minority
- Your employer must take steps to make sure you are aware of the panel. If your employer doesn’t have a panel, then you can see any doctor of your choice.
If your Georgia does have a valid panel posted in your place of work, then you can choose from that panel. Your employer does not have any right to tell you to see a certain doctor printed on that panel.
If a Contractor Was Involved in My Work-Related Injury do I have Legal Options?
If your injury occurred while you were on the job, you are able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for your work-related injury. You can also file a personal injury claim against that third party – the contractor.
The third party claim against the contractor may give you the opportunity to recover damages that aren’t covered by Georgia workers’ compensation such as pain and suffering. You are able to file both a personal injury claim and a claim for Georgia workers’ compensation benefits in connection with the same work-related injury – you don’t have to choose one or the other.
Do I Need An Attorney To Help Me With my Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim?
It’s recommended that you speak with a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after your work-related accident. Georgia workers’ compensation insurance companies are notorious for paying less than your injury may be worth or denying your claim outright.
With an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer from The Gearhart Law Group working with you, you will know that you are receiving all the compensation you are owed. We will handle your legal case so you can focus on recovering from your work-related injury.