Both accidents and repeated job duties can cause work-related injuries. A construction worker injured in a fall is an example of the former, while an industrial worker injured by constant exposure to dangerous chemicals represents the latter. As such, even the workplace can be extremely dangerous for workers. In order to help safeguard environments that people work in, the government created a program called Workers Compensation.
In Georgia, Workers Compensation is a benefit system put in place to help injured workers receive compensation for their injuries and return to their jobs as soon as possible. Injured employees are eligible for workers compensation if they are injured on the job or while performing normal job duties. Fault is not considered. Workers Compensation protects workers by providing for their medical expenses and lost wages until they are medically able to return to regular duty. Both part time and full time employees can qualify for Workers Compensation.
Generally, employees who accept Workers Compensation benefits cannot sue their employer, although in some cases, lawyers can bring suit against a third party or manufacturer. In some particular cases, you may be able to identify a third party who was negligent, such as a manufacturer or maker of a dangerous or defective product. In these third party lawsuits, you may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering and disability damages that you would not be able to recover under Workers Compensation law against your actual employer.
Accidents that can occur at the workplace include explosions, falls, exposure to dangerous chemicals, defective products, or defective machinery. Other types of workplace injuries include construction accidents (falls, back injury scaffolding), slip and fall, car accidents while on the job, being exposed to hazardous/toxic chemicals and stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Georgia Statute of Limitations:
A statute of limitations is the given time period during which a legal action can be made. If the time period ends, it is a complete bar to any recovery if your case is not completely settled or the lawsuit is not served on the appropriate parties prior to this date or properly filed.
Georgia law requires that if you are an employee who was injured on the job, you must notify your employer or supervisor within thirty days. The only exception to this notification rule is if you are confident that your employer or supervisor witnessed the accident you were involved in. If you do not meet this thirty day deadline, than you must submit a notification in writing and have a good reason for the delay.
Georgia law also requires a WC-14 form, Notice of Claim to be filed with the Georgia Workers Compensation Board either one year from the date of the last authorized treatment paid for by the employer or its insurer; or one year from the date of the injury; or two years from the last payment of Workers Compensation income benefits.
If you have a claim that is against some other party other than your employer (a third party), the general two-year statute of limitations applies according to Georgia law. It is also important to note that if your employer has less than three employees, Workers Compensation laws do not apply. Employers who have three or more employees are required by law to provide Workers Compensation for its employees.
There are four basic types of Workers Compensation income benefits:
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits: this benefit is paid weekly to an employee who is paid less after returning to work because of the on-the-job accident. This type of benefit is paid up to 350 weeks.
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits: this benefit is paid weekly to an injured worker who cannot return to any type of work after the on-the-job injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability: this type of benefit is also paid weekly to the employee whose injury results in permanent disability.
- Death Benefits: these benefits are available to an employee’s dependent spouse and minor children if the employee died due to an on-the-job injury.
- Medical Benefits: these types of benefits are covered under Workers Compensation. The condition is that the care must be provided by a physician who is included in the employer’s panel of approved physicians, except immediate emergency care.
What should you do if you are injured at work?
- Immediately report this injury to your supervisor in order to meet the statute of limitations.
- Then go and see a physician. Make sure it is an approved physician from your employer’s approved list.
- Then you want to get all the paperwork from your employer in order to make a compensation claim.
If you have additional questions about work place injuries or Workers Compensation in Georgia you can visit the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation website for their question and answer section on the law in Georgia and how it applies to your specific situation.
The Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation is currently located at 270 Peachtree Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30303-1299. The Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation phone number is (404) 656-3818 in the Atlanta area or toll free at 1-800-533-0682.
Workers Compensation claims can be difficult and complicated. You may want to contact our Workers Compensation Injury Lawyers to see how they can help protect your legal rights and ensure you are getting the medical treatment you deserve. Our lawyers at Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to help you.