Knowing what to do if you are hurt at work can protect both your physical health and your right to recover workers’ compensation benefits. After a work injury, you should:
1) Inform Your Supervisor Immediately.
Submit an accident report in writing. Include the time, place, and circumstances surrounding your accident. If you took any photos of the area, keep those handy in case your employer needs proof of how the accident occurred. You should also detail what noticeable injuries you suffered in your accident.
If you are unable to report your accident immediately, Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation allows you up to 30 days to report your accident to a superior. Do this as early as possible. It is easy to step over this 30-day time limit.
2) Get Medical Attention.
As soon as you are able, you should get medical attention. You can visit your own doctor for treatment immediately following your workplace injury. However, if you want your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance to pay your medical bills going forward, you will have to visit a doctor within your employer’s approved medical care providers. These doctors will be from Georgia’s workers’ compensation panel of doctors.
Your employer should have posted a list of approved providers somewhere at your workplace, usually in a breakroom. If there is no visible list, ask your employer before continuing with medical care.
Note: In some cases, your employer might require you to undergo an Independent Medical Examination. If you decline this exam, you may be unable to recover the compensation you need.
3) Document Your Injuries and Any Time You Need to Take Off Work.
Be sure to take note of any injuries you suffered. Keep all receipts and take any time you needed to take off. Workers’ compensation pays for all necessary medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. If you do not document your injuries or the time you take off, you might not receive compensation for those losses.
This will also help if your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer claims that you are falsifying your injuries.
4) Fill Out Any Required Forms.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you need to fill out Form WC-14. The form is fairly simple, but a small mistake can jeopardize your right to workers’ compensation benefits. For example, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation requires you type the answers on the form or print them in black ink.
5) Continue with Your Doctor’s Appointments
It is very important that you continue on with your doctor’s appointments and obeying your doctor’s orders after you submit your form. If you ignore doctor’s orders, you risk worsening your injury and jeopardizing your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
6) Discuss Your Case with a Lawyer.
Unfortunately, getting the benefits you need from workers’ compensation is not always easy. Your employer or its insurer might claim that your injury never happened or that your injuries fall into one of the workers’ compensation coverage exceptions (e.g., you purposefully caused your injury, your injury resulted from horseplay or intoxication, etc.). The insurer might also claim that you did not meet the applicable deadlines to qualify for benefits.
Sheryl Burke knows how insurers operate because she began her career as an insurance adjuster. She has insider knowledge of the tactics insurers use to deny valid claims. This knowledge allows her to anticipate and prevent denials. If you receive a denial, the S. Burke Law team can also help you appeal the denial.
Note: In some cases, employers do not carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer is not insured, you can sue him for your injury. This is a complicated process, but the team at S. Burke Law can handle it from start to finish.
S. Burke Law has represented many Atlanta residents in workers’ compensation cases for over 20 years. In that time, we have fought on behalf of the community, helping injured workers receive the compensation they deserve. Call us now at 404-842-7838.