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Workers Compensation Lawyer Georgia

Most employees in Georgia are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits when they are injured on the job. Georgia law requires all employers with more than three employees to carry this type of insurance. Employers that have fewer than three employees must still carry workers’ compensation insurance if they are incorporated or an LLC.

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Workers Compensation Lawyer Georgia

Workers’ compensation benefits can be a great relief to employees. They can help pay for medical bills. They can help an employee recover a portion of any lost income.

Yes, workers’ comp can be a real help to employees, but those benefits are not always easy to receive. Why? Insurance companies often dispute these claims. That allows them to hang on to more of their profits. Meanwhile, employers often argue that employees were not hurt at work. They’ll fight workers’ comp so their insurance rates do not go up.

Sound familiar? If you’ve been injured on the job, speak to a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer today. Call Cain Injury Law or contact us online. Our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers can give you the best chance of success with your claim.

How to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Georgia

The process for filing a workers’ comp claim in Georgia is fairly simple:

  • Notify your employer. You must report the accident and injury to your employer as soon as possible. If your company has a procedure for reporting workplace accidents, follow that procedure. Telling someone in passing does not constitute the way to report the accident. Fill out any accident report. If possible, write out a statement outlining exactly how the accident occurred and what injuries you have.
  • File your claim. In many states, when you tell your employer of the workplace injury, you have essentially completed the filing process. The employer then notifies the insurance carrier. In Georgia, after you notify your employer you must fill out Form WC-14. That form goes to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. The form must be submitted within 30 days of the accident that caused your injury.
  • Wait for a decision. After filing Form WC-14, you must wait for a decision. As you wait, consider whether to file a third-party injury claim. That claim can be filed when a third party, such as a driver, contractor, or property manager, caused your injuries. By filing a third-party lawsuit, you may be able to collect more in damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
  • Appeal the decision. Sometimes, a workers’ compensation claim is denied by the Board. The worst mistake an employee can make at this point is to give up. Denial can be appealed. That must be done within 60 days after you’ve received notice of denial. A Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer can help you throughout every step of the appeal process.

The steps for filing a workers’ compensation claim may sound simple. That is not always the case, especially if the claim is denied. To avoid those complications, many injured workers work with a lawyer from the very beginning of their case.

How a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help

Workers’ compensation in Georgia is meant to benefit everyone, including the injured worker, the employer, and even the insurance carrier. Unfortunately, insurers often still try to deny claims. Sometimes they may think the employee is being fraudulent in their claim, either exaggerating an injury or being dishonest about how injured they actually are. Even when they allege fraud, it may only be so they can avoid paying out on a claim that would take away from their own profits.

Employers may try to deny that the injury happened at work because they do not want their insurance premiums to increase. This is often the case when they have had multiple workers’ compensation claims filed in the past, and the insurer is much more likely to raise their rates if they file another claim.

When either the insurance company or the employer try to deny a claim, an attorney will refute their arguments and hold them accountable for paying the compensation injured workers deserve. An attorney will also gather evidence that can corroborate the hurt employee’s claims, including medical records, eyewitness statements, and safety reports. In the event that the insurance company still denies the claim, an attorney will understand the possibility of appealing the decision, and know how to do it so injured employees receive the full amount of compensation they need to recover.

Additionally, an attorney can also help determine when someone other than your employer was at fault for the injury. These are third party claims and an attorney can help determine liability and collect evidence, as it is necessary when filing a personal injury claim.

What Does Workers’ Comp Cover in Georgia?

In Georgia, workers’ compensation provides for all of an injured employee’s medical expenses. That includes any travel costs associated with the treatment. Workers’ comp also covers a portion of an employee’s lost income. If an employee becomes disabled due to a workplace accident, workers’ compensation will provide benefits to help with this disability.

Workers’ compensation does not provide non-economic damages. That means that damages such as pain and suffering are only available through a personal injury claim.

Injured workers should understand that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in Georgia. It does not matter if injured workers contributed to their own accident. They can still receive benefits. It also means that if the employer caused the accident, the employee must still go through workers’ compensation. Filing a lawsuit against the employer is generally not permitted unless the employer did not meet the obligation to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Tips for Protecting Your Rights After a Work Injury

Employees who are injured on the job have many rights, but all too often the employer or its insurance company looks after the bottom line rather than the welfare of the employee.  However, you can take steps after a workplace injury to ensure your rights are upheld.

These steps can help you get the compensation you’re entitled to:

  • Report the injury right away. Many workers do not report injuries because they do not think they are severe enough. They later learn that their injury is much more serious than they first thought. However, if they wait too long to report the accident, they can no longer receive workers’ compensation. Do not let this happen to you. Immediately tell your employer of any accident that results in an injury. If possible, tell the employer in writing and keep a copy for yourself. This can serve as proof that you reported your injury.
  • Document everything. If you have your phone on you at the time of the accident, take pictures of the accident scene. Also take pictures of your injuries. If there were witnesses to the accident, take their statements. Write down everything your employer did and said when you reported the injury. Also keep track of your doctor’s appointments — especially if the doctor you saw was not your own.
  • Seek medical attention. Seek medical attention for your injuries soon after the workplace accident. Your health and safety should be your priority after any accident. Note that if you fail to seek medical attention, the insurance company will use that against you and argue that you were not hurt.
  • File a claim with the Board of Workers’ Compensation. In Georgia, reporting the accident to your employer is not enough. You must also report the accident to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. If you fail to do this in a timely manner, you could forfeit your right to receive benefits.
  • File an appeal. If your initial workers’ compensation claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. You must file an appeal within 60 days of receiving notice of the denial. For this reason, start filing an appeal as soon as possible.
  • Speak to an attorney. You have the right to speak to an attorney and have one represent you throughout the workers’ compensation process. An attorney will always ensure that your rights are upheld. An attorney will give you the best chance of securing the benefits you need.

Taking these steps is the best way to protect your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the workers’ compensation process.

What to Do If Your Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied

Many people give up after hearing that their workers’ comp claim has been denied. That is a mistake. Two main options remain available. You can take your claim through mediation or attend a formal hearing.

Some injured workers are required to attend mediation before they can move on to the appeals process. During mediation, you and your employer or their insurance company will meet with a mediator. The mediator is an objective third party.

During mediation sessions, the mediator will try to resolve the dispute and have both sides reach an agreement. Mediation is informal and confidential. The statement made in the mediation cannot be used if the case goes to a hearing.

If an agreement cannot be reached, the case goes to the hearing stage. A hearing is very similar to a trial. Evidence is introduced and the two sides present their arguments to a judge. During the hearing, you can present evidence that shows why you need workers’ compensation benefits.

You will also need to provide testimony at the hearing. The testimony cannot be in the form of letters or other written statements — those are inadmissible during the hearing stage.

At the hearing, you can have other witnesses testify on your behalf. For example, if there were witnesses to the accident, they can testify about how the accident occurred. Witnesses can substantiate your claim that the accident, and the resulting injury, happened at work. Your doctor can testify about the extent of your injuries.

After each side has presented arguments at the hearing, the judge reviews the evidence and reaches a decision. The judge may confirm the denial or determine you are entitled to benefits and set the amount you should receive.

If the judge does not rule in your favor, you can appeal to the Appellate Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. The Appellate Division will review the case and make a decision. You will be notified in writing of that decision.

Common Types of Workplace Accidents

Any type of workplace accident can create your need for workers’ compensation benefits. Common accidents include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Muscle strains, usually from overexertion
  • Repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel, resulting from making repetitive motions
  • Collisions involving cars or other vehicles, such as forklifts
  • Toxic fumes that lead to an occupational disease
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Walking into objects, such as sharp corners or a wall
  • Violent acts

An employee injured by any of these or other accidents at work has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Talk to a Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Georgia Now

Even though you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim, these benefits are not always easy to obtain. At Cain Injury Law, our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers can help.

We know how to hold employers and their insurance companies responsible. We will give you the best chance of success with your claim. When you have been hurt at work, call us or contact us online to arrange a free case review with one of our qualified attorneys.

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