If you've suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help answer your questions on how to win your personal injury claim in a Georgia personal injury court!
At S. Burke Law we are here to help give answers to these important questions. Our Frequently Asked Question database covers the common questions you may have regarding what to do after a serious accident, how to file a claim in personal injury court, and tips on how to win your personal injury claim. When researching information on the legal process following a serious accident you want legitimate advice from a source you can trust.
When you’ve suffered serious losses and damages from an accident due to the negligence of another you aren’t alone. An Atlanta injury lawyer from our office is always available to answer additional questions not addressed on our page. Contact us for a FREE consultation and get the answers you need to seek compensation for your losses!
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Who Is at Fault If a Pedestrian Was Hit by a Car?
Whoever was negligent in causing the pedestrian accident is at fault. Under Georgia law, pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way, and neither do cars.
Contact S. Burke Law today, at 404-842-7838, for a free case review.
Location of the Accident Is a Significant Factor in Determining Fault
One factor that will determine fault is location. Where the accident happened will affect the duty of the driver and the pedestrian.
On a sidewalk: the car is most likely liable, but there are situations in which the walker can be at fault. For example, a vehicle was entering a parking lot whose entrance went over a sidewalk with curb cuts. The driver proceeded slowly and cautiously, but a pedestrian ran into the path of the car, and the driver could not stop in time. On the other hand, if a drunk driver jumps the curb and hits someone walking down the sidewalk, the driver is at fault.
In a crosswalk: the pedestrian usually has the right of way, but not always. If the pedestrian has a crossing signal (“Walk” as opposed to “Do Not Walk”), looks both ways, and crosses within the crosswalk, a car hitting the pedestrian will probably be liable. If, however, the walker enters the crosswalk when the signal displays the “Do Not Walk” instruction or steps out into the path of a car that is already in the intersection, the driver might not be responsible.
When jaywalking – it depends on the facts of the case. A pedestrian should not expect drivers to have to slam on their brakes for a pedestrian who does not want to walk to the crosswalk or wait for traffic to pass. On the other hand, drivers have to make a reasonable effort to avoid hitting walkers who step into the street.
Event Prior to the Accident
The events that transpired just before the collision are vital information to determining whose negligence caused the accident. Here are some examples of driver or walker behavior just before the wreck that can be a factor in deciding who is liable:
- The driver drove too fast for the conditions.
- The driver ran a red light or stop sign.
- The driver was not paying attention to the road or keeping a careful lookout for vehicles and walkers.
- The driver was impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
- The pedestrian darted out into the road in front of a car that did not have sufficient time to stop.
- The walker was jaywalking or crossing inside a crosswalk but in violation of the signs or electronic signals.
- The pedestrian was not looking where she was walking because she was distracted by her companions or her cellphone.
- The walker was impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
Multiple Negligent Parties
In some accident scenes, both parties are at fault. Even if one person committed the vast majority of the negligence, the other party might be slightly at fault. For example, a speeding driver lost control of her vehicle and hit a walker who was in the crosswalk but crossing against the light and signal. Both the driver and pedestrian may be at fault, but in widely differing degrees.
How we sort out liability when both parties were negligent.
Georgia follows the doctrine of modified comparative fault. Comparative fault allows an injured party to recover some damages despite his own negligence. The law will reduce the amount of his compensation in proportion to his fault.
The term “modified” refers to a limit that Georgia imposes on negligent injured people. If the plaintiff’s negligence was 50 percent or more of the total fault, he will get nothing for his losses. If he is only responsible for 49 percent or less of the total negligence, he will get some reduced damages.
How modified comparative fault works in a case.
If the judge holds the speeding driver at 90 percent fault and the pedestrian at 10 percent fault, the pedestrian can recover compensation for damages. For example, if his damages were $100,000, the law will deduct 10 percent ($10,000) to account for his negligence. Since the driver was more than 49 percent at fault, she cannot recover any compensation from the walker.
Contact S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation and case review.
How You Can Get Help With Your Pedestrian Accident Claim
A car accident lawyer from S. Burke Law can help you to file a claim. Call us at 404-842-7838 and we will schedule your no-cost case evaluation. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you receive compensation.
What Is a Repetitive Stress Injury?
A repetitive stress injury is a medical condition that is the result of performing the same motion hundreds or thousands of times. Eventually, parts of your body will break down under this strain.
Repetitive stress injuries may happen in the workplace if your job requires you to perform the same motions over and over throughout your workday. Typing for hours every day at the office can cause swelling in the wrist that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Other repeated motions can cause repetitive stress injuries in the hands, elbows, shoulders, and other areas of the body.
You may qualify for workers’ compensation for a repetitive motion injury that is the result of your job.
How to Tell If You May Have a Repetitive Motion Injury
One may typically notice the symptoms of a repetitive stress injury when performing the motions that caused the injury. In other words, if typing for an excessive amount of time every day at work caused your carpal tunnel syndrome, you are likely to notice discomfort when you are typing while on the job.
Symptoms of a repetitive stress injury can cause:
- Numbness and tingling
- A sensation similar to electrical shocks
- Dropping objects
- Inability to sleep, due to the discomfort
- Stiffness in the affected area, particularly in the morning
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
- Aching, similar to arthritis
Tendonitis is more common than people realize because we tend to refer to the specific types of tendonitis when talking about them, rather than using the more general term of tendonitis. Two of the more common forms of tendonitis that can be repetitive stress injuries are trigger finger and tennis elbow.
Trigger finger. Make a tight fist, then relax your hand. If one of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position, you might have trigger finger. This condition can happen in any of your fingers, but is most common in the index or middle finger. Trigger finger can be painful. In severe cases, the finger gets locked and cannot straighten.
If your job involves extensive typing or gripping actions, you could develop trigger finger. The repetitive motions narrow the area that surrounds the tendon in the finger, impeding it from releasing and straightening smoothly.
Tennis elbow. Bending and straightening your arm excessively can cause a painful condition called tennis elbow. The stress on the tendons of your elbow causes the pain, which usually runs from the bony bump on the outside of your elbow, down your forearm, and sometimes to your wrist.
According to the Mayo Clinic, carpenters, painters, plumbers, and butchers are at higher risk of developing tennis elbow because of the repeated arm motions their jobs require. If your arm hurts or is too weak to turn a doorknob, grasp an item, hold onto a coffee cup, or shake hands, you may have tennis elbow.
Another painful repetitive motion injury is bursitis, in which the bursae (small sacs containing fluid) develop inflammation. The purpose of the bursae is to cushion your muscles, bones, and tendons near your joints. Any joint that experiences excessive repetitive stresses can develop bursitis. The most common joints where bursitis occurs are the elbow, shoulder, and hip.
The joint pain can be debilitating. Your joint can become so stiff that you cannot move it. You might experience sharp or shooting pain. The joint can swell a surprising amount. The area can also turn red, bruise or have a rash.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If your thumb and fingers (but not your little finger) feel numb and tingly, your hand is weak or you experience shooting pains or “electrical shocks” in your wrist and hand, you might be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive motions like typing for hours every day at work can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in your wrist, next to your palm. The nerve that controls your thumb and some of your fingers travels through this passageway on its journey down your arm into your hand. If repetitive motions have caused inflammation in the carpal tunnel, the swelling can compress the median nerve and cause the hallmark symptoms.
Consequences of Untreated Repetitive Motion Injuries
Without appropriate treatment, a repetitive stress injury can result in permanent damage to your tendons, nerves, bursae, or joints. You could lose function and endure chronic pain. Eventually, you could be unable to maintain gainful employment or perform the daily tasks necessary for independent living.
If you believe your repetitive stress injury may be related to your job, you should contact your physician and a lawyer before your injury goes untreated for too long. A lawyer will help guide you in understanding your rights, if you may be eligible for workers’ compensation, and if you should file a claim to receive work injury benefits.
Who to Call for Legal Help for a Repetitive Stress Injury
If you suffer from a repetitive motion injury and you think it might be related to your job, call the office of S. Burke Law. We can help you pursue workers’ compensation benefits. Call us today at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation.
What Should I Do If My Workers' Compensation Claim Is Denied?
If the insurance carrier denies your worker’s compensation claim, you may have options to appeal the decision.
You Have Options After Your Employer Denies Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
You might be surprised at the reasons some employers give for denying legitimate workers’ compensation claims. Among other things, the insurance company might claim that your injury did not happen on the job or that you were impaired.
Talk to a lawyer about your workers’ compensation denial. You may still have a valid claim and deserve benefits even if the insurance company denied your claim.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Denied Because of a Positive Drug Test
If your employer made you take a drug test after the injury and it came back positive, the insurance company might try to scare you into dropping the workers’ compensation claim. Or you might be afraid of criminal charges and not pursue a workers’ compensation claim at all.
Do not be bullied.
If the drugs did not contribute to the accident or injury, they may not be relevant to the workers’ compensation claim. A lawyer at S. Burke Law can help. Call us at 404-842-7838.
Evidence That Can Prove Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Every case is different, so you might not need some of these items, and you might need other things as well. Here are some of the typical kinds of evidence we use to establish your right to workers’ compensation benefits:
- The accident report filed with your employer. This document should contain many details of the incident.
- Photographs of the scene where you got hurt. Employers may make changes to the workplace after an accident, so it is important to get photos as soon as possible.
- Photographs of your injuries. Photos can provide compelling proof of the injuries you suffered.
- Medical records of the treatment you received. If the insurance carrier tries to minimize the severity of your injuries, the medical records can help prove your case.
- Eyewitnesses to the accident. Coworkers or other eyewitnesses to the accident can describe how the accident occurred and that it occurred within the scope of your employment.
Appealing the Denial of Your Claim
You should talk to a workers’ compensation attorney right away if the insurance company denied your claim for benefits.
There is a time limit to file an appeal, and if you miss the deadline, you can lose your right to benefits, so do not delay. The main steps of the appeals process include:
- Getting a copy of the written decision to deny your benefits, which should state the reason for the denial.
- Investigating your accident to establish it occurred within the scope of your employment.
- Gathering the evidence to prove your entitlement to benefits for your injury. See above for a list of some types of evidence that may be helpful.
- Drafting and filing an appeal of the insurance company’s decision to deny workers’ compensation benefits.
Getting Legal Help After Denial of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Call S. Burke Law to get the power of a worker’s compensation lawyer behind you. We can take your case through all the stages of appeal, and we will be there with you every step of the way. You do not have to face this situation alone.
Rather than trying to learn Georgia workers’ compensation law, prepare an appeal of the denial, and gather evidence to prove your entitlement to benefits, let us handle your case. You can focus on getting well while we handle the appeals process.
Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
Can You Sue if You Slip and Fall in a Supermarket?
You can sue if you slipped and fell in a supermarket. The Georgia laws on premises liability will govern this type of case.
Ways the Grocery Store Can Be Negligent in a Slip and Fall
Under Georgia law, the store must use care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition for people who legally enter the property. A negligent property owner is one:
- Whose property contained a dangerous condition, and
- Who knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, and
- Who failed to repair the condition or post adequate warnings about the condition.
What You Should Do to Protect Your Injury Claim
There are four actions you should take immediately following a slip and fall accident:
- Report the accident to store management right away.
- Take pictures of the dangerous conditions that caused the accident.
- Collect the names and contact information of eyewitnesses.
- Get medical help, then call a lawyer for legal help.
Things You Should Not Say After Slipping and Falling in a Supermarket
You should never admit fault or blame yourself after a slip and fall injury in a grocery store. If you do, the store may use it against you, calling it an admission of fault. You might have said some things out of embarrassment or being flustered that will come back to haunt you later.
Do not say to store employees or fellow shoppers things like, “Oh, this was so stupid of me,” or “I’m such a klutz,” or apologize for the fuss. You might intend to be polite, but the store’s insurance company may take your words out of context and twist them into something you did not mean.
Traps to Avoid After a Grocery Store Slip and Fall
- Do not give a written or recorded statement to the store or insurance company: Clear it with your lawyer beforehand. Again, they can take your words out of context. Those statements do not protect you. The insurance company may use written or recorded statements to try to reduce the amount of money they have to pay you.
- Do not accept a settlement check early in the process: While taking the money can be tempting, you should not settle your case without having a lawyer advise you. If it turns out that you develop medical complications, for example, or cannot go back to work, you cannot go back to the insurance company or grocery store to ask for more money if you already accepted a settlement check.
Damages in a Supermarket Slip and Fall Case
Every premises liability case is different, but you might be able to recover:
- Your medical bills for all reasonable and necessary treatments you have to undergo because of the accident.
- Wages and other income you lost because of the injury.
- Pain and suffering to compensate you for the physical pain and mental distress of the experience.
- Decreased earning potential because of the injury.
- Reduced earning potential from the physical damage you sustained.
- Loss of consortium, a claim your spouse might make for the harm to the relationship from the injury.
Getting Legal Help for Your Supermarket Slip and Fall Injury Claim
The personal injury team at S. Burke Law will meet with you and evaluate your injury claim. We will not charge you for this initial consultation. In fact, we do not charge legal fees until you get compensation. Call us today at 404-842-7838, so that we can set up your free consultation.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
To prove a wrongful death in Georgia, you must show that the negligent or criminal act (e.g., assault and battery) by another party caused a person's death.
Acts That Can Result in a Wrongful Death Action
To recover for a wrongful death, you must show that the decedent could have filed a lawsuit had he or she survived the accident resulting in his or her death.
Proving Negligence Caused the Decedent's Death
Negligence can be the basis of liability in a wrongful death suit. What must you prove?
- The person owed a duty.
- The person failed to meet that duty.
- The person's failure to meet his or her duty caused an accident.
- The accident caused injuries, resulting in death.
Examples of negligent conduct that result in a death include the following:
Proving Other Conduct Caused a Decedent's Death
A criminal act, such as a fatal shooting, can form the basis of a wrongful death claim. The government can prosecute and convict the defendant, but the purpose of the wrongful death civil action is to recover compensation for the loss of the decedent's life[JR1] .
Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia
Georgia has two types of wrongful death claims:
- A traditional wrongful death claim
- An estate's claim
Bringing a Traditional Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
A traditional wrongful death claim seeks to recover the value of the decedent's life.
Who can file a traditional wrongful death claim?
- The decedent's surviving spouse
- If there is no surviving spouse, the decedent's children
- If there are no surviving spouse or children, the decedent's parents
- If there is no surviving spouse, child or parent, and there is no will, the executor or the administrator of the estate
Damages in a traditional wrongful death claim include the following:
- Lost earnings: Factors used to determine what the decedent would have earned include age and the decedent's earnings at the time of death.
- Loss of companionship: You can recover compensation for the loss of the companionship of the decedent, for example, the spouse or child.
The compensation recovered in a traditional wrongful death claim goes to the surviving spouse and children equally, but the spouse must receive at least one-third of the recovery.
Estate's Claim for Wrongful Death
The personal representative of the decedent's estate may bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate. Damages in an estate's wrongful death claim include the following:
- The decedent's medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The decedent's pain and suffering: For example, the decedent does not die immediately and lives for a period of time before passing away.
The amount recovered by the decedent's personal representative goes into the decedent's estate.
- The personal representative pays the decedent's debts before distributing the funds of the estate.
- The funds pass according to the decedent's will or according to Georgia's intestacy laws if there is no will. Under the intestacy laws, the funds from the estate go to the decedent's next of kin, usually the surviving spouse and children.
When to File a Wrongful Death Action
Generally, you must file a wrongful death action in Georgia within two years of the decedent's death. You should not wait until the time is about to expire to contact a lawyer. The collection of evidence is paramount in building a case for a wrongful death claim. Therefore, getting an early start on the case could be critical:
- In a trucking accident, the electronic control box (similar to an airplane's "black box") needs to be recovered immediately.
- In a traffic accident, skid marks on the road can fate.
- In any accident, memories can fade and witnesses can move.
If you have questions about how you prove wrongful death in Georgia, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a suit brought by the personal representative of a person killed by the criminal or negligent conduct of another person. The lawsuit is brought to benefit family members of the deceased person.
Filing a Lawsuit When Another's Conduct Kills Your Loved One
If the negligent or criminal conduct of another killed your spouse, parent or child, or a defective product caused the death of your loved one, you may be eligible to recover compensation for related damages.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The conduct that would form the basis of a personal injury lawsuit had the person survived will form the basis of a wrongful death action.
- Negligence: You can show that a party’s negligence caused the decedent's death. You must show the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care, the defendant did not meet that duty, the defendant caused the decedent's death, and the beneficiaries experienced damages.
- Medical malpractice: You can show a health care provider did not meet the standard of care required of the medical community and that the conduct caused the decedent's death.
Preserving the Evidence in a Wrongful Death Action
Contact a lawyer soon after the accident, so the evidence is properly preserved. What can happen after the accident?
- A damaged vehicle is towed to a junkyard, and its condition is altered.
- Skid marks on the road may fade.
- Witnesses may move, or their memories may fade.
Wrongful Death Action to Recover the Value of the Decedent's Life
If your loved one died in an accident caused by someone's criminal or negligent conduct, you can file a wrongful death suit to recover damages related to the decedent’s death.
Who Files the Wrongful Death Action
- The decedent's surviving spouse
- If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse, the decedent's children
- If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse or child, the decedent's parents
- If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse, child, or parent, the personal representative of the decedent's estate
Recovery for Lost Wages of the Decedent
If you bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of your parent, spouse or child, you can recover for the value of the decedent's lost wages, including what your parent, spouse, or child could have earned during his or her lifetime. Your lawyer at S. Burke Law will gather evidence about the decedent's work history and may work with an economist to put a value on the decedent's life.
- If the decedent is an older adult, we may look at the decedent's current employment and determine how much he or she would likely have earned during his or her lifetime.
- If the decedent is a young adult, for example, a student, we may gather evidence about how much a person on the same career path would earn during his or her lifetime.
Other Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Other types of damages for which you may recover compensation in a wrongful death case include:
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
Get Help With a Wrongful Death Action to Recover Financial Losses
If you lost a loved one because of somebody else’s negligence or criminal act, contact attorney Sheryl Burke at S. Burke Law. We can help you take action to fight for compensation your family needs and deserves.
Call us today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
Can Parents Sue for Wrongful Death?
When the criminal or negligent conduct of another party causes the death of their child, parents can file a wrongful death action. However, the parents are permitted to file a wrongful death case only if the child has no surviving spouse or children.
A Wrongful Death Claim to Recover the Value of the Decedent's Life
If a child has a surviving spouse or child, the spouse or child brings the suit. The parents of a child may file a wrongful death claim to recover the value of their child's life if the child has no surviving spouse or children.
Which Parent Files a Wrongful Death Claim for the Value of the Child's Life
Generally, both parents bring the wrongful death action jointly. The joint right to bring the suit exists even if the parents are divorced, separated or living apart.
An exception applies when one of the parents refuses to bring the suit or cannot be located. The other party can bring the suit on behalf of both parents. If one parent dies, the other parent has the sole right to bring the wrongful death action.
A parent can lose his or her right to file a wrongful death suit for a child’s death. Reasons for the loss of this right include:
- Releasing his or her rights to a third person
- Consent to the child's adoption
- Abandoning the child
- Engaging in cruel treatment of the child
Value of a Child Wrongful Death Action
A lawyer will hire an expert to help place a value on the deceased child's life. An economist can help estimate the amount of money the child would have earned during his or her life. The parent can also recover for the loss of companionship with the child. Funeral expense and medical expenses may be recoverable as well.
Division of the Recovery Between the Parents
The recovery goes equally to both parents if the parents are married and living together. In the case of divorced parents, separated parents, or parents living apart, either parent may file a motion to apportion the recovery fairly. At a hearing, each party can present evidence about his or her relationship with the child. A judge will consider the relevant factors, such as who had primary custody of the child, and determine a fair apportionment of the recovery.
A Wrongful Death Claim to Recover the Decedent's Financial Losses
A personal representative of the child's estate may file a wrongful death claim to recover the deceased child's financial losses. Who is the personal representative of the child's estate?
- If the child has a will, the personal representative is the person designated as executor in the will. The executor may be a parent, but if the child is an adult, the will may name a spouse, a child or another third person as the executor.
- If the child does not have a will, which may be the case with a young child, the court appoints an administrator who serves as the personal representative. This most likely will be the child's parent(s).
The wrongful death recovery goes into the estate and is distributed to beneficiaries per the terms of the child’s will or according to the laws of intestacy. If the child dies without a spouse or a child, the assets of the estate pass to the child's parents.
When to File the Wrongful Death Claim
Generally, you have two years after a child's death to file a wrongful death claim per the Georgia statute of limitations. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible so she can begin investigating the circumstances of the claim.
S. Burke Law will gather evidence to prove liability for the child's death and present evidence to establish the value of the case.
Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation about your wrongful death case.
How Do I Report an Injury at Work in Georgia?
If you suffer an injury at work in Georgia, you must tell your employer within 30 days. If you fail to give timely notice, your employer may deny your workers' compensation claim.
Giving Notice of Your Work Injury
If you suffer an injury on the job, one of the first things to do is give notice to your employer.
Giving Notice to the Correct Person
You must give notice to your supervisor. Your employer may give you an employee handbook or a separate document explaining how to give notice if injured on the job.
When to Give Notice of Your Injury
Georgia workers' compensation law requires you to give notice within 30 days of being injured. If you suffer a sudden injury (for example, you hurt your back while lifting a heavy object), the clock to give notice starts counting down immediately.
If you have a repetitive motion injury (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome), the clock to give notice starts upon learning of your diagnosis.
Report the injury promptly. If you delay giving notice, your employer may argue that you hurt yourself at home or somewhere other than at work. You appear more credible when you report the injury immediately.
Your employer may claim its rules require notice within a shorter time than the 30 days required by Georgia law. An employer cannot shorten the time you have to report your injury. If an employer denies your claim for not reporting your injury in less than 30 days, contact a workers' compensation lawyer to protect your interests.
Whether You Must Give Written Notice to Your Employer
Georgia workers' compensation law does not require that you give written notice to your employer. However, if practical, giving written notice may be a good idea. It provides you documentation in case a supervisor denies you gave verbal notice.
What You Should Say When Reporting Your Injury
Georgia workers' compensation law does not specify what you must include in your notice of injury, but the notice should be specific:
- Give the date and time of your injury.
- State the nature of your injury. For example, you can explain that you hurt your back and you felt tingling in your legs.
- Connect your injury to your work. For example, you can report that you were using a heavy tool when you felt a pain in your back.
- Provide names of anyone who saw your accident. Your employer may be less likely to dispute your claim if co-workers witnessed the event.
Completing an Accident Report
Your employer may ask you to fill out an accident report. Keep these things in mind when completing the form:
- Be honest when answering questions.
- Do not exaggerate your injuries.
- Do not answer a question if you do not know the answer.
Consequences of Failing to Give Timely Notice
Failing to give notice within 30 days may defeat your workers' compensation claim, but exceptions may apply:
- You may have a gradual injury. For example, you may suffer hearing loss over time due to the noise in a factory.
- You may not know the severity of your injury for months. You should give notice of minor injuries, so an employer cannot claim you failed to give notice if the injury turns into something major.
- You may not know your injury arose out of your work. You may believe a rash resulted from an exposure at home when it actually came from a chemical you used at work.
If your employer denies your workers' compensation claim on the grounds that you did not give timely notice of your injury, contact a workers' compensation attorney. The circumstances of your injury may excuse your late notice.
Secure Legal Help After an Accident at Work
If you suffered a work injury, contact a workers' compensation attorney at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
How Long Will Workers' Compensation Last in Georgia?
How long your workers' compensation benefits last in Georgia depends on the extent of your disability. You may receive temporary benefits, but if you have a permanent disability, you may receive additional benefits
Temporary Disability Benefits Under Workers' Compensation Law
If a work injury causes you to miss work, you can receive temporary disability benefits.
When Temporary Disability Benefits Begin
If you miss more than seven days of work due to a work injury, you become eligible for temporary disability benefits and your benefits begin. The workers' compensation insurance carrier has 21 days, from the date you first missed work, to begin payment.
You receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a maximum amount set by the state. For an injury occurring on or after July 1, 2016, you can receive up to $575 per week.
When Temporary Total Disability Benefits End
You are granted benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement or at 400 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, whichever occurs first.
You reach maximum medical improvement when your doctor says your recovery is complete. In other words, your condition will not improve with more treatment.
Your Return to Work After Your Injury
You may return to work in a light duty job after your injury, or you may work fewer hours. You can receive temporary partial disability benefits if you earn less than before your injury. In addition to what you earn, you receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for the difference in what you earned before and after your injury.
The maximum you can receive in temporary partial disability benefits is $383 per week if your injury occurred on or after July 1, 2016. These benefits continue until you reach maximum medical improvement or 350 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, whichever occurs first.
What Can Stop Your Temporary Disability Benefits
Certain events may stop your temporary disability benefits before you reach maximum medical improvement or before 400 weeks expire:
- You return to your job earning the same money as before your injury.
- Your doctor releases you to return to work without restrictions.
- You do not cooperate with your doctor.
To challenge the suspension of your benefits, contact a workers' compensation lawyer in Georgia for legal help.
Duration of Permanent Disability Benefits Under Workers' Compensation Law
Once you reach maximum medical improvement or the maximum time for your temporary disability benefits expires, your authorized treating physician will evaluate you to determine if you are permanently disabled.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Permanent and total disability involves severe injuries. If your doctor determines that you are totally and permanently disabled, your benefits continue for life.
Duration of Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If your doctor finds permanent disability, but you are not declared totally disabled, Georgia workers' compensation law provides payment of benefits for injuries listed in a schedule and for unscheduled injuries.
A schedule lists certain body parts and how many weeks of benefits you receive for the total loss of the listed part:
- Thumb: 60 weeks
- Index finger: 40 weeks
- Middle finger: 35 weeks
- Ring finger: 30 weeks
- Little finger: 25 weeks
- Arm: 225 weeks
- Foot: 135 weeks
- Leg: 225 weeks
- Eye: 150 weeks
- Great toe: 30 weeks
- Other toes: 20 weeks
- Hand: 160 weeks
- Loss of hearing (one ear): 75 weeks
- Loss of hearing (both ears): 150 weeks
For example, if your physician says you lost 25 percent of the use of your hand, you receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for 40 weeks.
If your injury does not fall within a part listed on the schedule, your award equals the amount assigned to the body as a whole, 300 weeks. For example, if your doctor says you have a 20 percent injury to the body as a whole as a result of a back injury, you receive benefits for 60 weeks.
Get Help With a Workers' Compensation Claim
What Is Respondeat Superior?
Respondeat superior holds an employer liable when an employee, acting within the scope of his or her employment, causes your injury. Respondeat superior is the legal doctrine that may allow you to sue the trucking company when you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, for example.
How Respondeat Superior Works in Georgia
Georgia law makes an employer liable for the acts of an employee within the scope of the employer's business. If you suffer an injury in an accident with someone who is an employee, you need to prove that the employee acted negligently to hold the employer liable for your injuries.
Examples of Respondeat Superior
An employer may be liable for an accident caused by its employee if the employee was acting within the scope of employment at the time of the accident.
- A truck driver causes an auto accident while making a delivery.
- An office employee causes a wreck while driving to the bank to make a company deposit.
- A bouncer assaults a patron while working at a bar.
If the employee caused your injury while performing these or other work-related duties, you may be able to sue his or her employer.
Joint Liability When an Employee Causes Your Injury
To hold the employer liable for your injury under the doctrine of respondeat superior, you must prove three things:
- The employee owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused your injury.
- The person who caused your injury was an employee of the employer.
- The accident occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment.
Proving the Person Responsible for Your Injuries Was an Employee
You must prove the party that caused your injury was an employee.
Unfortunately, some employers try to argue that the person who caused your injury was an independent contractor. For example, the person may be working for a construction company or for a hospital under a contract. Generally, a company is not liable for the acts of independent contractors.
However, a lawyer at S. Burke Law can review the circumstances of your accident and the defendant’s employment. If the defendant is under the immediate direction and control of the company, he or she may be an employee even if a contract says otherwise.
What factors show that a company exercises direction and control over a person?
- The company controls the hours the person works.
- The company controls the details of the person’s work.
- The person cannot accept other jobs while working for the company.
These just a few scenarios that might suggest the person is an employee, not an independent contractor.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A personal injury lawyer can help you pursue legal action under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Your lawyer can investigate your accident and help you file a lawsuit or insurance claim seeking compensation for your damages.
To get help after a serious injury, call a personal injury lawyer at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.