If you have a qualifying work-related injury or illness, Georgia’s workers’ compensation program can pay for your medical treatment and provide some income replacement, rehabilitation, and death benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Income Benefits
Workers’ compensation in Georgia covers four possible types of income benefits. These include:
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
Temporary total disability benefits (TTD) are usually the first type of income benefit that an injured worker receives. Once you miss more than seven days of work, you will qualify and will get TTD benefits going back to the date of the injury or illness.
If the authorized treating physician says that you cannot work because of the medical condition, you can collect two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum amount allowed. You can only get TTD checks for up to 400 weeks (about seven and a half years) for a non-catastrophic injury. You are not allowed to work anywhere, even part-time, when collecting TTD benefits.
If the doctor says that your injury is catastrophic, such as burns covering much of your body, loss of arms or legs, severe paralysis, or blindness, TTD benefits can continue beyond 400 weeks with no limit, as long as you cannot work.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
People often return to work doing “light duty” or staying for limited hours for a while after an injury that workers’ compensation in Georgia covers. During this interval, you might make less money than before. Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits can help to make up some of the shortfall.
You can collect two-thirds of the difference between your previous regular wage and the amount you earn on restricted duty, up to the state limit. You can get TPD benefits for up to 350 weeks.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If your authorized treating physician determines that you have a permanent impairment as a result of your job-related injury or illness, you might qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. The doctor will assess the extent of the disability using current AMA guidelines. The Worker’s Compensation Board will calculate your award using a statutory formula and the doctor’s rating.
PPD benefits are not automatic with all on-the-job injuries. You can only qualify for PPD benefits if your physician assigns a rating to you.
Eligible beneficiaries, like a dependent spouse and minor children, can receive income if the employee dies from a work-related illness or injury. The dependents can receive two-thirds of the worker’s regular wage up to the maximum allowed amount. Georgia law also provides for a limited amount of reimbursement for funeral expenses.
Keep in mind that you cannot collect more than one kind of compensation at a time. For example, you cannot get temporary total disability benefits and permanent partial disability benefits at the same time.
Free Medical Care
If you get hurt on the job or develop a work-related illness, you can get free medical care, as long as you jump through all of the hoops of the Georgia workers’ compensation program rules. You should talk with a lawyer as soon as possible to make sure that you do not miss any deadlines or make any mistakes that would take away your right to benefits.
You can receive free medical treatment and rehabilitation for injuries that workers’ compensation in Georgia covers. Here are some of the many rules you must follow to become and stay eligible for these valuable benefits:
- You must notify your employer immediately about the injury or illness. If you cannot fill out the form your boss provides because of your job-related medical condition, someone can complete the form and submit it to the employer on your behalf. If you miss the deadline for the notification, you might lose the right to get any medical, income, or other workers’ compensation benefits.
- You cannot go to your regular doctor for treatment of your injury or illness. You must get your medical care for the work-related condition from a physician on your employer’s approved service provider list. Workers’ compensation will not pay for unapproved treatment.
- If you need emergency medical attention, you can go to the nearest available emergency facility for temporary care. Once the emergency is over, you must get your treatment from someone on the approved list.
- Georgia’s workers’ compensation program will pay 100% of your authorized hospital bills, doctor bills, prescription drugs, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and approved travel.
- Your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company can face penalties if you do not receive your benefits when due. The employer or carrier must add the amount of the penalty to your regular benefits payments.
- You might have to submit to an examination or drug testing. If you refuse to cooperate, you might lose the right to receive benefits.
There are many other rules you must follow when you have a workers’ compensation claim for a job-related illness or injury. We can help you to navigate the process and go after the benefits you deserve. Call S. Burke Law today at (404) 842-7838 for a free consultation. There is no obligation. We treat our clients like family.