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.