Some people work for decades for the same employer. They are always on time, work hard, do anything that is asked of them, but unfortunately, when a worker gets injured in the workplace, everything can change. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has indicated that there were 5,190 fatal workplace injuries in 2016 alone. Moreover, the BLS found that nearly 3 out of every 100 workers in the United States experience a non-fatal workplace injury.
If you have been injured in the workplace, you will face a number of different challenges such as lost wages, medical expenses, and uncooperative employers, but the law allows you to collect certain benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance to help you through this difficult time. However, your employer or their insurance company might try to mislead you or keep you uninformed as to what you are entitled to by law, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will guide you through the legal process while fighting for the benefits you deserve.
Workers’ Compensation Law in Georgia
Most states have their own workers’ compensation system that has been created by statute. Every year statutes can be changed or modified, and the laws governing Georgia’s workers’ compensation system are codified in O.C.G.A. Title 34, Chapter 9. These statutes outline exactly what benefits an injured worker is entitled to by law.
Like many states, Georgia is a “no-fault” workers’ compensation state. Meaning, an employee and their employer are afforded the same rights and entitlements, regardless of how or who caused the employee to get injured.
Can I Sue My Employer for a Workplace Injury?
The workers’ compensation system is the exclusive remedy to seek compensation for a workplace injury, pursuant to O.C.G.A. §34-9-11. This means you are prohibited from suing your employer for a workplace injury in a traditional civil court of law. However, this statute only covers workplace injuries, and it does not prohibit you from suing your employer in connection with an employment law claim, such as discrimination, nor does it prohibit you from seeking civil remedies from any third party that might have caused the accident.
Who Pays for my Medical Bills?
Georgia law requires the workers’ compensation carrier or employer, if self-insured, to cover the cost of all authorized medical care. This includes appointments with your doctor, medication, surgeries, and reimbursement for mileage when you drive to the doctor’s office.
Can I Collect Lost Wage Benefits?
If you have been injured at work, one of the most debilitating aspects of your injury is the loss of your income. Some injuries are so severe that you cannot work at all. Others are debilitating enough to warrant your employer offering you work in a light duty capacity, because your doctor has indicated that you can perform some work with physical limitations on your activities. In both of these scenarios, you would normally be entitled to lost wage benefits.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
If you are physically capable of performing work within the physical limitations given to you by your doctor, your employer can offer you a light duty position within your physical restrictions. However, if you are making less money in a light duty position due to fewer hours or less pay, the insurance carrier could be obligated to pay you temporary partial disability benefits (TPD).
These benefits are paid to compensate you for the loss of income you’re experiencing due to being in a light duty capacity. Moreover, you need to keep track of how much you are being paid by your employer and speak with a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you’re being paid correctly by the insurance company.
TemporarTotal Disability Benefits
If you doctor has stated that you are not physically able to work or your employer cannot offer you a light duty position during the recovery process, you could be entitled to temporary total disability benefits (TTD), which is paid at a higher rate than TPD benefits. An injured worker’s pay is normally an area where mistakes are made frequently, which is why you should always consult with a workers’ compensation attorney if you believe you are not being paid correctly.
At Cambre and Associates, our workers’ compensation attorney will explain your rights, ensure that you are being paid correctly, and give you legal guidance on how you should proceed with your claim. The workers’ compensation system can be complex, but our attorneys are dedicated to helping you succeed. Call our office today for a free consultation.
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