Time is of the essence when filing a claim for workers’ compensation in Georgia. You must follow the required steps within the deadlines and use the proper forms to preserve your eligibility for benefits. Below, we discuss how to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Filing the Workers’ Compensation Claim Form
You have to use the correct document, Form WC-14, to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. You complete the form and send it to:
- The Georgia State Board of Worker’s Compensation (the original form)
- Your employer (a copy of the form)
- Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier (a copy of the form)
Information for the WC-14 Form
WC-14 is a Notice of Claim form. It puts the state board, your employer, and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company on notice that you got injured on the job and will be filing a claim for benefits. The form asks for information about:
- You: including your name, mailing address, email address, and date of birth.
- The injury: including the date of the injury, the county where it occurred, the part of the body injured, description of the accident, first date of disability, and, if it was a fatal injury, the date of death and names and addresses of all claimants for death benefits.
- Your employer: including the company’s name, mailing address, and email address.
- Other parties: including your attorney, your employer’s attorney, and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
How to Verify Your Employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage
Every business that employs three or more workers is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. It does not matter if the employees are full-time or part-time. You can check online to see if your boss maintains the required coverage. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation provides a look-up tool you can use to check on your employer’s insurance coverage.
What Happens After Your Notify Your Employer of an Injury
The notification that you give to your boss sets the wheels in motion for a process that begins with medical care and can provide benefits like medical care and compensation for lost wages. These are the initial steps:
- Your employer gives you information about a panel of doctors or a Workers’ Compensation Managed Care Organization (WC/MCO) where you can go for medical services to treat your injury. You must use the approved health care providers. If you go to your regular doctor or someone who is not on the list of authorized providers, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will likely refuse to pay for your medical care.
- You go for medical care to an approved health care provider. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company pays for this treatment, as long as the injury happened on the job.
- If you cannot work for more than seven days, you can get weekly income benefits. If you are unable to work for more than 21 days in a row, you will also get compensation for the first missed week. The first income check goes into the mail within 21 days of the first day that you could not work because of the injury.
Income Benefits for an On-the-Job Accident
If you qualify, you can receive income benefits while you are unable to work because of the injury. Most people receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage, but the maximum is $575 per week. You can get these benefits for up to 400 weeks.
You can collect a reduced benefit for up to 350 weeks from the date of the accident if you can go back to work, but your injury causes you to make less money than before the accident. In this situation, your benefits cannot exceed more than $383 a week.
Catastrophic injuries can entitle you to lifetime benefits. Also, if your injury results in a permanent disability, you might be eligible for weekly benefits.
In the event of a fatal on-the-job accident, the dependents can receive two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average wage, up to $575 a week. A widowed spouse with no children can receive up to $230,000, but if they remarry or live with a significant other, the benefits can stop.
Hearings on Claims
Sometimes people do not receive benefits after they file for workers’ compensation. When this happens, you can request a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Your employer will likely have an attorney at the hearing. An administrative law judge will listen to both sides of the claim and decide if you should receive benefits and if so, how much.