The State Board of Workers’ Compensation in Georgia administers the Workers’ Compensation program. If you are a worker in the state of Georgia and you get injured on the job or develop a work-related illness, you might be able to get benefits like medical care, income replacement, and rehabilitation depending on the facts of your situation.
Your coverage starts on your first day on the job. Unlike some other benefits that do not cover you until you have worked for a month, six months, or longer, there is no waiting period for workers’ compensation benefits.
Compensable Work-Related Claims
Georgia law defines a situation as a compensable work-related claim if you fall ill, are injured, or die:
- On the job
- During assigned work hours
- Performing assigned job duties
If you get hurt in any of these circumstances, you will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits:
- During lunch or other breaks
- While engaging in unassigned duties
- During your ordinary commute to and from work
If you have any questions about whether your injury or illness qualifies for benefits or how workers’ compensation works, give us a call.
How Workers’ Compensation Works
You need to report the injury or illness immediately to your employer. Your company will have forms for you to fill out so they can process your claim and get you connected to benefits like medical treatment. You have a short window of time to report the injury or illness. If you miss the deadline, your employer or the workers’ compensation insurer can deny your claim.
What you need to know about medical care for your illness or injury:
- When you report your illness or injury, your employer must give you a list of approved healthcare providers.
- You have to use one of the approved doctors or service providers.
- You cannot go to your regular doctor for treatment of a work-related injury or illness.
- In an emergency, you can get temporary care from the nearest emergency location available. As soon as the urgent situation is over, you must get your medical treatment from someone on the list of approved physicians from your employer.
You can receive benefits for an injury due to haste or inattentiveness, but your employer might discipline you for the conduct if it violates company policies or safety rules.
You can lose the right to benefits, even for a compensable injury or illness, if you:
- Refuse to take a drug test
- Refuse to let the authorized treating doctor examine you at reasonable times
- Submit fraudulent information
- Refuse to return to employment that your approved physician deems suitable
- Work somewhere else while collecting benefits for Total Temporary Disability
- Fail to cooperate with your doctor or employer on the issues of medical evaluations and treatment, rehabilitation services, and investigation of the claim.
These are only some of the situations that can jeopardize an injured worker’s right to benefits.
Income Benefits Under the Workers’ Compensation Program
Georgia law allows for four types of income benefits in addition to free medical care. You might qualify for only one or several of these income benefits:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits help to replace some of your income when you are unable to work at all because of your injury or illness. You can get two-thirds of your regular weekly wage up to the maximum. You have to miss at least seven days of work before you can qualify for TTD benefits. Once you meet that requirement, you will get retroactive pay starting with the day of the injury.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits can help to make up some of the difference if, when your doctor clears you to return to work, you have to take a position that pays less because of the injury. You can get two-thirds of the shortfall up to the maximum.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits pay an injured employee who sustains a permanent impairment from a qualifying injury or illness. Not all people who get workers’ compensation benefits are eligible for PPD payments. If your doctor assigns a rating to you, the Workers’ Compensation Board will calculate the value of the impairment using a statutory formula.
- Death benefits are available to eligible dependents like a dependent spouse or minor children if a work-related injury or illness causes death. In addition to partial income replacement up to the maximum, the program can pay some of the funeral expenses.
You can only collect one type of income benefit at a time.
Getting Legal Help for Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation is a crucial lifeline for many when hurt on the job, but we understand that the rules can be overwhelming. At S. Burke Law, we can take care of your legal matters so that you can focus on getting better and rebuilding your life. Call us today at (404) 842-7838 to get started. The initial consultation is free.