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!
- Page 1
What Happens If I Was in a Car Accident on the Way to Work?
If you were in a car accident on the way to work, you likely have questions about who must pay for your losses. You might wonder if your boss has any responsibility for the damages or whether you will have to shoulder these expenses all on your own.
Sometimes another driver causes the wreck. You need to know whether that negligence lets your employer off the hook or if you can make a claim for compensation against both the at-fault driver and your boss. In general, Georgia’s “going and coming” rule says that your company does not have to pay your damages if you have a crash during your commute. There are, however, some exceptions to note.
When a Boss Is Liable for Employees’ Car Accidents
These cases are fact-driven, meaning that the circumstances of your accident will determine whether your employer will have to pay you compensation for losses such as medical bills or lost wages. These are some of the situations in which a company can have liability for an employee’s crash on the way to work:
The employee was performing a task for the employer. Let’s say that you work for a home remodeling company, and your boss asked you to pick up something from the hardware store on your way to the job site.
If you experienced a crash on your way to the hardware store or on your subsequent trip to the job site, your employer can be responsible for your injuries. You would not have been there but for the boss directing you to go to the hardware store for job-related items.
Multiple job sites rather than one fixed location. Your employer can be liable for your collision damages if your work requires you to travel to multiple locations during the day and your crash happened on the way to a job location. For example, if you are an electrician and you go to various buildings throughout your shift making repairs and doing installations, the employer can have liability when you are on your way to a job site.
Traveling on business. When you are on the road as part of your job, such as attending a conference or going to a meeting out of town, your boss can be responsible during your entire trip.
Driving a company car. Your employer is usually responsible for your injuries if you had a collision while you were operating a company car.
Driving is an essential component of your job description. Some workers spend much of their shifts operating vehicles. Examples of these workers include cab and bus drivers, delivery personnel, and other people whose jobs involve a significant amount of regular travel. The boss is usually responsible for the employee’s injuries in these situations.
What Happens if You Were Also Negligent?
In some circumstances, your mistakes can reduce the amount of money you can receive as compensation for your injuries. We will explain this legal concept, called comparative negligence, when we meet with you.
Getting Legal Help for Your Car Accident On The Way To Work
There is no need for you to figure out these legal issues because we can handle the legal components for our clients. Just meet with us, and we will evaluate your situation and let you know who might be liable for your injuries. You can set up your free consultation by calling S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
What Happens If I Was Hit by a Company Vehicle?
If you were hit by a company vehicle, you need to know who is liable to compensate you. Depending on the facts of your case, the company or a third party might be responsible for your losses.
Our personal injury law firm evaluates these scenarios on a case-by-case basis and can walk you through that analysis when we discuss your injury claim.
When a Boss Is Liable for a Company Vehicle Hitting an Employee
These injuries are usually matters for workers compensation benefits. In the state of Georgia, workers compensation is defined as:
“a benefits program created by state law that provides medical,
rehabilitative, income, death and other benefits to employees and
dependents due to injury, illness and death resulting from a
compensable work-related claim covered by the law.”
If a company vehicle struck you while you were performing your job duties during your work hours, under Georgia law your injuries would constitute a compensable claim. You will have to follow the strict regulations about:
- Quickly reporting the incident to your employer
- Getting treatment from an authorized treating physician
- Cooperating with your employer and the approved physician to get medical evaluations, treatment, rehabilitative services, and claim investigation.
You can receive free medical care and cash disability benefits to replace a portion of your regular income through workers compensation.
When Workers Compensation Does Not Cover an Employee Hit by a Company Vehicle
Workers compensation in Georgia only covers you for injuries you sustain while working. If the company car strikes you while you are on your lunch or other breaks, workers compensation will not pay you benefits. In a situation like this, you will have to look to other sources for compensation, such as:
The driver of the company vehicle. Let’s say that the company truck hit you because the driver was texting someone on her cell phone while operating the vehicle. The driver’s negligence from texting while driving caused your injuries, so she can be liable to you for damages.
The company. The employer can have responsibility under a couple of legal theories, including negligence. Examples of negligence include:
- Negligent hiring for failing to perform an adequate background check on the driver, if that research would have discovered information that the driver had been careless with company vehicles in the past
- Negligent supervision if the firm did not create and enforce a policy that prohibited employees from texting while driving company vehicles
- Negligent training if the company did not train drivers on the safe operation of company vehicles.
An employer can also be liable under the legal theory of respondeat superior, which states that an employer can be liable for some of the acts of its employees. For example, but for the boss putting the driver in the position of operating the company vehicle, you would not have sustained the injury.
How We Prove Negligence
There are four factors to negligence, and we have to prove each one to win a lawsuit in which we allege that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. The four facets are:
- The defendant had a legal duty toward you. Like all drivers, the driver of the company vehicle had a duty to operate the truck with caution.
- The defendant breached her duty toward you. Breach of a legal duty of care is negligence. The defendant violated her duty of care by texting while behind the wheel.
- The negligence caused your injury. The defendant’s negligence caused the company truck to hit and injure you.
- You suffered measurable damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Physical injuries are measurable in that we can calculate the damages in dollars. Your medical bills will be proof of your quantifiable damages.
What Happens If You Were Partly to Blame
Let’s say that you were somewhat at fault in the accident. For instance, perhaps you were in an “out-of-bounds” area on the job site when you were hit by a company truck. Although the driver’s negligence in texting while behind the wheel was the primary cause of the wreck, the judge assessed 10 percent of the responsibility for the accident to you for being in the wrong place.
Do not worry – you can still recover compensation for your damages as the rule of comparative negligence is applied in Georgia. This law deducts an amount equal to your proportion of the total negligence, and you get to collect the remaining award. For example, if your losses were $200,000, your 10 percent of the negligence will reduce your compensation by 10 percent, which is $20,000. You can recover $180,000.
Getting Legal Help After a Company Vehicle Strikes You
You might have several different legal options if a company vehicle hit and injured you, but you do not have to figure out this issue by yourself. The team at S. Burke Law will evaluate your case you can focus on getting well. Call us at 404-842-7838 to arrange a time to discuss your case. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation.
Electrical Shock Injury at Work
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), electrical current injury is a widespread workspace hazard. Workers face many electrical shock dangers. The four main types of on-the-job electrical injuries are:
- Electrocution (which is fatal)
- Electric shock
- Falls that result from electrical injuries
Electrical Shocks in Construction and Related Industries
Construction sites are a veritable landmine of electrical hazards, including:
- Electrical currents running through their power tools and equipment
- Electrical lines that provide the power for the lights, tools, and equipment on the site
- Nearby and overhead power lines (extremely dangerous for crane operators, workers using portable metal ladders near power lines, and workers on rooftops and scaffolding)
- Workers installing electrical lines in the building or construction project.
Since it is not possible to remove electricity from the workplace in construction and related industries, employers must focus on safety to prevent injury and death.
How Electrocution Happens
The vast majority of people who come into contact with electricity survive the experience, even though many do suffer some injuries. Why do some people live and others do not survive?
Death occurs from an electrical shock when the amount of electrical energy causes a lethal level of overstimulation of the nervous system or damage to internal organs. Cardiac arrest is a common component of electrocution.
Whether a particular electrical contact will be fatal depends on these five factors:
- How strong the electrical current is,
- The path the current takes through the body,
- How long the electrical contact lasted,
- The damage the body took from the electrical contact, and
- The emergency medical treatment the person received.
You can experience an electrical shock by either a direct contact with an electrical current or from an electrical arc hitting you. An electrical arc happens when electrons flow through the air or through a gas. Construction sites have many locations where electrical shock from direct contact or arcing can occur.
The heat of an electrical arc can create a flash burn on the human body. You can sustain flame burns if the electricity ignites your clothing or other nearby combustible materials. Flash burns and flame burns are thermal burns that seldom involve electricity flowing through the body. The damage is usually limited to the skin and layers of tissue below the skin, as opposed to the internal organs.
You can suffer internal and external burns from electrical shocks. Internal burns happen when the electricity flows through parts of your body, burning a swath of your tissues and organs all along its path. The current can cause nerve damage and blood clots throughout your body along the path of the internal burns.
Falls from Electrical Injuries
When a jolt of electricity hits the body, your nervous system responds rapidly with muscle contraction or a startle reaction. If you are working at a high elevation on a construction site, such as in a crane, on a ladder or scaffolding, or in an aerial bucket, the reflex response could cause you to fall or move into the path of dangerous equipment. Either result could be fatal.
Your Legal Options After Suffering an Electrical Shock Injury at Work
You might be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits if you sustain an on-the-job electrical shock injury. At S. Burke Law, we will explain your legal options and how to collect your worker’s compensation benefits.
If a third party’s negligence caused your injuries, you might be able to file a claim for damages from that individual or company.
When a Third Party Can Be Liable for Your Electrical Shock Injury
If a third party (not your employer) caused your electrical shock injury at work, you might have a right to compensation from that entity. Let’s say that the manufacturer of a crane with aerial bucket used cheap wiring that did not meet safety requirements
The manufacturer knew that the wiring would eventually fail, but it calculated that it would be cheaper to pay injury claims than to use the high-quality wiring mandated by safety guidelines. You were in the aerial bucket on the job when the wiring failed, disabling the steering. The bucket careened into live electrical lines, and you suffered severe electrical shock injuries.
The law would hold the manufacturer responsible after applying this four-prong liability assessment:
- The manufacturer had a duty to produce equipment that was safe when used as intended.
- The manufacturer violated that duty when it used inferior, unsafe wiring in assembling its cranes with aerial buckets. Violation of a legal duty of care is negligence.
- The manufacturer’s negligence caused the accident.
- You suffered physical injuries in the accident.
Therefore, the manufacturer owes you compensation for the injuries you suffered as a result of its negligence.
Damages You Can Recover from the Liable Party
In a negligence action, you can typically recover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and long-term impairment. Depending on the facts of your case, you might be eligible for other damages as well.
Getting Legal Help for Electrical Shock Injuries
The team at S. Burke Law will answer your questions and tell you if you might have a claim for compensation. Call us today at 404-842-7838, and we will set up your free consultation.
What Are Permanent Total Disability Benefits Under Georgia Workers' Compensation?
There is no category of Georgia Worker’s Compensation benefits called Permanent Total Disability Benefits, but it is possible to get benefits for a total disability on a permanent basis for a qualifying catastrophic injury or for loss of or loss of use of more than one major member of your body.
To speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
The Four Kinds of Worker’s Compensation Benefits in Georgia
Georgia has four different types of benefits for people who sustain qualifying injuries on the job. The four benefit categories are:
Temporary Total Disability Benefits. An employee with a work-related injury who cannot work at all while recuperating can collect Temporary Total Disability benefits. The authorized treating physician must certify that the employee cannot work.
The weekly check will be two-thirds of the employee’s average wage as of the time of the accident, up to the legal maximum. Most people can only receive the benefits for a total of 400 weeks from the date of the injury.
Those with catastrophic injuries have no limit on the number of weeks that they can collect these benefits, so for these people, the benefits can be permanent in duration.
If at any time a person receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits, whether for a catastrophic injury or a non-catastrophic injury, recuperates to the point at which she can go back to work, the Temporary Total Disability benefits will stop. The authorized treating physician can certify you to return to work, even if you have to take a lower-paying job or work fewer hours.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits. Sometimes people can return to work after an injury, but because of the injury, they cannot work as many hours, or they have to take a job that pays less. In this situation, Georgia worker’s compensation will pay Temporary Partial Disability Benefits to help make up the difference in income.
These benefits only cover two-thirds of the difference between the employee’s previous injury and current income. Also, these benefits have a time limit. You can only collect these benefits for up to 350 weeks following the injury. If you already collected Temporary Total Disability Benefits for 350 weeks or longer, you will not qualify for Temporary Partial Disability Benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits. If you experience residual impairment from your injury, you might qualify for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits.
Your authorized treating physician (worker’s compensation doctor) will evaluate you to see if you fall within the American Medical Association’s guidelines for loss of or loss of the use of a body member, such as a hand, a leg, your hearing, or your sight. Georgia statutes designate the number of weeks for which you can receive benefits for your partial impairment.
Your weekly benefits will be two-thirds of your regular wages. You will get the checks for the number of weeks the law dictates.
For example, you can receive weekly benefits for 225 weeks for the loss of or loss of the use of an arm. The loss of vision in one eye qualifies for 150 weeks of benefits.
Death Benefits. Eligible dependents like minor children or a dependent spouse can receive worker’s compensation benefits for the death of an employee from a work-related injury. The benefits are two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average wages up to the legal maximum. Worker’s compensation will also pay a limited amount of funeral expenses for death from an injury on the job.
Qualifying Circumstances for Total Disability Benefits on a Permanent Basis
If you lose both of your arms, hands, feet, or legs, or any combination of two of these body parts, there is a rebuttable presumption that you qualify for the payment of total disability benefits on a permanent basis. Losing your vision permanently in both eyes also qualifies you for this type of compensation.
You will get the same amount every week that you would for Temporary Total Disability. Your benefits will be unlimited in duration. In other words, they will not expire 400 weeks after the work-related injury.
What Are Permanent Partial Disability Benefits Under Georgia Workers' Compensation?
When you have a qualifying injury that happens on the job, you might be eligible for weekly workers’ compensation benefits. The Georgia statutes define permanent partial disability for purposes of worker’s compensation as:
“Partial in character but permanent in quality resulting from loss or loss of use of body members or from the partial loss of use of the employee’s body.”
You are not required to have sustained any economic loss from the injury to be a candidate for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits, but not all injuries that qualify for worker’s compensation benefits in Georgia qualify for PPD benefits.
To learn more work injury benefits and to schedule a free consultation, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
How to Calculate Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Your authorized treating physician (your workers’ compensation doctor) will evaluate your on-the-job injury and assign a percentage of bodily loss or loss of use to your permanent partial disability by using the American Medical Association’s guidelines. The impairment award will be based on the number of weeks that the Georgia statutes assign to your impaired body parts. For example, the law assigns a maximum of:
- 225 weeks for an injured arm
- 160 weeks for a hand
- 75 weeks for traumatic loss of hearing in one ear
- 150 weeks for the loss of vision in one eye
- 300 weeks for disability to the whole body
Your weekly benefits check will be two-thirds of your average weekly income for the number of weeks that apply to your injury. For example, if you lost your hearing in one ear because of an injury on the job, you can get a weekly check for two-thirds of your income for 75 weeks, even if you are back at work and earning your full previous wage.
Other Worker’s Compensation Benefits
You can only collect one type of worker’s compensation benefits at a time, even if you meet the requirements for more than one kind. As a result, if you are collecting Temporary Total Disability benefits or Temporary Partial Disability benefits, you cannot start getting Permanent Partial Disability Benefits until your other workers’ compensation benefits run out.
What to Do After Your Temporary Total and Partial Disability Benefits Expire
After your temporary disability benefits run out, Permanent Partial Disability benefits for a qualifying injury can start. There are three common situations in which a person gets PPD benefits:
- You received Temporary Total Disability benefits until you healed to the point at which you could return to work. If less than 350 weeks have passed since your injury and your injury causes you to make less money, you might get Temporary Partial Disability benefits until they expire, and then you might be eligible for PPD benefits.
- You received Temporary Total Disability benefits until you healed to the point at which you could return to work, more than 350 weeks have passed, and your injury causes you to earn less money than before you got hurt. Since you cannot get Temporary Partial Disability benefits after 350 weeks have passed since your injury, you might qualify for Permanent Partial Disability benefits.
- You received Temporary Total Disability benefits until you healed to the point at which you could return to work. You are able to earn the same amount of money as before your injury, so you do not qualify for Temporary Partial Disability benefits. If your injury qualifies, you might get to collect Permanent Partial Disability benefits, even though you are not losing income.
To speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
Catastrophic Injuries and Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
People who sustain catastrophic injuries can stay on Temporary Total Disability benefits past the 400-week rule, as long as they cannot work at all because of their injury. You cannot collect both Temporary Total Disability and Permanent Partial Disability at the same time.
Let’s say that you eventually can go back to work after a catastrophic injury but at lower pay because of your injury. More than 350 weeks has passed, so you are not eligible for Temporary Partial Disability to help offset the difference in your pay. You should request a disability rating from your authorized treating physician and then apply for Permanent Partial Disability.
Call S. Burke Law for help navigating workers’ compensation laws. You can get legal help with your workers’ compensation claim with no upfront attorney fees. Call us today at 404-842-7838 to get your no-cost consultation.
What Are Temporary Partial Disability Benefits Under Georgia Workers' Compensation?
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits under Georgia’s workers’ compensation can help make up some of the difference between your income at the time of your injury and your new income if you have to take a lower-paying job when you return to work. The injury must be the reason you take the lower-paying job.
To get a free case consultation, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
Eligibility Requirements for Temporary Partial Disability Benefits under Georgia Workers’ Compensation
Qualifying for Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits is a multi-step process. Your case must satisfy every one of these factors:
- You must be working at a job that is eligible for Georgia Workers’ compensation Benefits at the time of your injury or illness.
- You must have sustained an on-the-job injury or illness that meets the requirements for workers’ compensation benefits.
- You must obtain your medical treatment from an approved provider. Your employer maintains a list of the approved providers.
- You must return to work when your treating doctor releases you to do so.
- You must be unable to return to your previous position because of the injury or illness.
- The position you take after the injury or illness must pay less than the position you held at the time of the injury or illness.
To speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
When the Temporary Partial Disability Payments are Payable
You must be back at work before you can get TPD benefits. You can only get TPD benefits for up to 350 weeks from the date of injury. So, if you were out of work for 50 weeks getting medical treatment and rehabilitating from the injury, you can only get TPD benefits for up to 300 weeks.
How to Calculate Partial Temporary Disability Benefits
PTD benefits will pay two-thirds of the difference between your previous average wage and your new wage. Let’s say that you were working at a $25-an-hour job for 40 hours a week when you got hurt. After medical treatment and recuperation, you came back to work but had to take a $20-an-hour job and could only work 30 hours a week because of the injury.
You previously earned $1,000 a week ($25 an hour for 40 hours a week). Your new income is $600 a week ($20 an hour for 30 hours a week). The difference in your wages is $400 a week. Your TPD benefits will be two-thirds of the difference, which is $266.67 a week.
Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to get a free consultation about your case.
There are four basic income benefits under Georgia Workers’ compensation:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
- Death Benefits.
Georgia law does not allow recipients to combine benefits. You can only receive one type of benefit at a time.
You might receive Temporary Total Disability Benefits after the on-the-job injury while you undergo medical procedures and wait for your body to heal, if the doctor says that you cannot work during this time. After the treating physician certifies that you are done with your medical care and ready to return to work, your Temporary Total Disability Benefits will stop. If appropriate, you might receive Temporary Partial Disability Benefits or Permanent Partial Disability Benefits at that point.
What Happens if Your Partial Disability Becomes Permanent
If your condition warrants it, your authorized treating physician can evaluate your residual (permanent) disability. Injury ratings are not automatic in all injuries.
The doctor will use the current AMA Guidelines for this assessment. Georgia law provides a mathematical formula for the physician to use, including a number of weeks, your disability percentage rating, and the TTD rate. You cannot receive both Temporary Partial Disability Benefits and Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits at the same time. Once you exhaust your TPD benefits, you might start receiving PPD benefits.
Occupational-Related Diseases and Temporary Partial Disability
If your employment caused you to suffer an occupational-related disease, you might qualify to receive Temporary Partial Disability Benefits under Georgia workers’ compensation law. The disease must satisfy the applicable legal tests.
How Partial Disability Works for Catastrophic Injuries
Georgia law has a special procedure for catastrophic injuries that happen at work. An extremely severe injury, like the loss of a limb or a severe burn, is a catastrophic injury for purposes of Georgia workers’ compensation.
As long as you cannot work at all, you will get Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits. Despite the word “Temporary” in the name, these benefits are unlimited. Catastrophic injuries receive TTD benefits as long as you cannot work at all.
Once you return to work, the TTD benefits cease. If your new job pays less because of your injury, you might then qualify for Temporary Partial Disability benefits. Once those benefits end, Permanent Partial Disability benefits will begin.
How to Get Help with Your Partial Temporary Disability Benefits Claim
You can call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to set up your free consultation on your Georgia workers’ compensation case.
What Are Temporary Total Disability Benefits Under Georgia Workers' Compensation?
Temporary Total Disability Benefits under Georgia Workers’ Compensation can provide a predictable stream of income to you and your family while you are getting medical care and recuperating from an on-the-job injury or illness.
Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for help from a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Qualifying for Temporary Total Disability Benefits under Georgia Workers’ Compensation
You must meet all of these requirements to get Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits:
- You must be working at a job that is eligible for Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits at the time of your injury or illness.
- You must have sustained an on-the-job injury or illness that meets the requirements for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
- You must obtain your medical treatment from an approved provider. Your employer maintains a list of the approved providers. You generally cannot go to your own doctor, and you must choose an approved provider to get care for your work injury.
- You must be unable to work at all because of the injury or illness. Your inability to work can be because you are going through medical treatment or recuperating from the injury, illness, or medical procedures. In some cases, your doctor might expect that you will never be able to work again. Regardless of this fact, Georgia Workers’ Compensation will award you “temporary” benefits.
When You Can Get Temporary Total Disability Benefits
You can get up to 400 weeks of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) checks beginning with the date of your non-catastrophic injury or illness. You must be unable to work at all for the benefits to continue.
If your doctor releases you to go back to work, even on light duty or reduced hours, you no longer qualify for TTD checks. At that point, you might qualify for Temporary Partial Disability Benefits.
Collecting Multiple Benefits
Georgia Workers’ Compensation will only pay you one category of benefits at a time. You cannot, for example, collect at the same time both Temporary Partial Disability benefits for having to work fewer hours after your injury or illness and Permanent Partial Disability benefits for a permanent disability you now have because of the injury or illness.
Calculating Temporary Total Disability Benefits under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation
Temporary Total Disability Benefits will pay two-thirds of your average weekly income as of the time of your injury or illness. Let’s say that you were working 40 hours a week and earning $25 an hour. You earned gross wages of $1,000 a week. Your TTD benefits will be two-thirds of that, for $667 a week.
Catastrophic Injuries and Temporary Total Disability Benefits
There is no limit to the number of weeks that you can receive TTD benefits for a catastrophic work-related injury or illness.
Since Georgia Worker’s Compensation does not have a category called “Permanent Total Disability Benefits,” they just keep paying you “Temporary Total Disability Benefits” even after the 400 weeks runs for a catastrophic injury or illness, as long as the condition prevents you from working at all.
If you can eventually return to work, but at reduced hours or lower pay, your TTD benefits will cease. You will then be eligible for Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits for up to 350 weeks from the date of the injury or illness. After the TPD benefits end, you can start getting Permanent Partial Disability Benefits, if you qualify at that time.
What Happens When Your Temporary Total Disability Benefits End
In cases involving non-catastrophic injuries or illnesses, your Temporary Total Disability benefits will stop 400 weeks after the date of your injury or illness. You cannot get Temporary Partial Disability checks then, because they stop 350 weeks after injury or illness.
Your only option after 400 weeks is to seek a disability rating from your authorized treating physician. These ratings are not automatic. Physicians do not assign a disability rating to every injury or illness.
You might be eligible for benefits beyond the 400 weeks for a non-catastrophic work-related injury or illness if your treating physician finds that your current medical condition meets the AMA Guidelines for a permanent disability.
If so, then your treating doctor will follow a mathematical formula using your disability rating, the Temporary Total Disability rate, and the number of weeks as determined under Georgia law, to calculate the amount of your Permanent Partial Disability benefits.
Getting Legal Help for Your Temporary Total Disability Benefits Claim
You might not be sure about whether you qualify for Temporary Total Disability Benefits or another type of Georgia Workers’ Compensation benefits. You do not have to figure this out for yourself. You should get to focus on getting your health back.
Give S. Burke Law a call at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation to evaluate your benefits claim. There are no legal fees until you get compensation.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement in a Workers' Compensation Claim?
“Maximum Medical Improvement,” for purposes of a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, means that your authorized treating physician has decided that your medical condition is not going to improve any further with medical treatment. This designation is significant, in that it moves your case forward to a new evaluation.
To get a free consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
What Happens When You Reach Maximum Medical Improvement in a Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you reach the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI), it means one of two things:
- You have healed 100 percent from your work-related injury or illness; or
- You have not achieved your pre-injury/pre-illness health status, but your workers’ compensation doctor does not expect your condition to improve any further.
If you have entirely recuperated and have all the function and health you had before the injury or illness, you can go back to work at the same position. You will not receive further benefits for this injury or illness. On the other hand, if you have residual impairment or loss of function, you might be eligible for additional benefits.
Potential Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits After You Reach Maximum Medical Improvement
If you have continuing problems after completing medical treatment, you might fall into one of these categories:
- You can return to your previous position and work the same number of hours as you did before. Depending on the nature of your injury, you might qualify for Permanent Partial Disability Benefits. Your workers’ compensation physician can perform a disability rating, and then calculate the amount of benefits you could receive.
- You can return to work, but your residual problems cause you to take a lower-paying job or work fewer hours than before the injury or illness. You might be eligible for Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits. TPD benefits will pay two-thirds of the difference in your previous average income and your current income. These benefits will last for up to 350 weeks from the date of injury or illness, after which, you can seek Permanent Partial Disability Benefits.
- You cannot return to work because of the injury or illness, even with light duty and reduced hours. You can seek Temporary Total Disability Benefits, which pay two-thirds of your previous income for up to 400 weeks from the date of your non-catastrophic injury or illness. When your TTD benefits run out, you can seek a disability rating for Permanent Partial Disability Benefits.
A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You After Your Catastrophic Injury
If you sustained a life-changing injury or illness while on the job, it might meet the guidelines for a catastrophic injury. Severe burns, loss of limbs, and some other extremely severe injuries are catastrophic.
Even if your workers’ compensation doctor does not think you will ever be able to work again, you will get Temporary Total Disability Benefits as long as you cannot work, whether that is two years or two decades or longer. The 400-week limit for TTD benefits does not apply to catastrophic injuries.
If you can eventually return to work after a catastrophic injury, your TTD payments will stop. Contact S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free case review and consultation.
How Disability Ratings Work
You can request a disability rating from your authorized treating physician. If she decides that you qualify for a disability rating (not all injuries do), she will calculate the amount of your PPD benefits by plugging your disability rating into a formula with the current rate and the number of weeks that Georgia law assigns to your situation.
How to Get Legal Help with Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim
Getting shuffled from one category of benefits to another can be stressful and confusing. To learn more about maximum medical improvement in your workers' compensation claim, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838. We will give you a free consultation and explain your workers’ compensation benefits.
Can I Get Workers' Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Yes, you can get workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome if the injury is work-related. Any injury that arises out of your employment, including repetitive stress injuries, may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Employee Handbook.
Contact us today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation and case review.
What Constitutes a Repetitive Stress Injury
A repetitive stress injury is a medical condition that is the result of stressing a part of the body by repeating the same motion numerous times. Medical professionals recognize repetitive stress, like typing for many hours a day, as one of the most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. Other work-related repetitive motion injuries include:
- Trigger finger (also from typing or grasping objects all day);
- Tennis elbow (from repeatedly bending and straightening the elbow as a carpenter or plumber might do on the job); and
- Bursitis (from repeated motions involving the elbow, shoulder, or hip).
Overview of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in your wrist, next to your palm. The median nerve runs down your arm and travels through the carpal tunnel on its way to your hand. This nerve makes it possible for you to move your thumb and fingers (except the little finger), and to have feeling in those areas.
Overuse of your hand and wrist can cause swelling in the carpal tunnel, and since there is little excess room there, the inflammation presses down on the median nerve, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. If you press down on a nerve, you will likely sense numbness and tingling, and eventually, experience weakness in the muscles the nerve controls.
How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Feels
Initially, you may experience occasional numbness and tingling in your thumb and index finger. Over time, the sensations become more constant. The middle and ring finger can also feel odd, but not your little finger, because a different nerve innervates your little finger.
When there is compression of the median nerve because of carpal tunnel syndrome, you might drop things or have a hard time picking up some things. This compression happens because the median nerve controls some muscles in your hand.
Your hand can feel “asleep” or as if electrical shocks are jolting through it. These symptoms can shoot through the wrist and up the arm. The discomfort can keep you from sleeping at night.
Showing That Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Work-Related
Your employer might deny that your carpal tunnel developed because of your job. When your regular tasks involve repetitive motions involving the hands and wrists, however, establishing those activities may help demonstrate that your carpal tunnel is work-related.
Contact S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to hear your options when an employer has denied your workers’ compensation claim.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Georgia
Like other repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome is not a life-threatening condition, but it can be painful and debilitating. Losing the ability to grasp or hold objects due to weakness in your hand muscles can prevent you from doing your job or performing some routine daily tasks of independent living.
Three types of workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome in Georgia are:
Temporary Total Disability. If you cannot work at all because of your carpal tunnel syndrome, workers’ compensation can pay you two-thirds of your average weekly wage until you can work again. If you have a catastrophic injury, the benefits can continue as long as you are unable to work. In all other cases, the benefits run out at 400 weeks.
Temporary Partial Disability. If you can work, but because of your injury you had to switch to a job that pays less than you were earning before your injury, you can get some compensation for up to 350 weeks. Workers’ compensation will not make up the entire difference between your current and previous pay, but they can pay you two-thirds of the difference.
Permanent Partial Disability. If it appears that you will not recover full function after your injury, you can get ongoing compensation. A permanent disability like this means you will have to go to an approved doctor who will rate the percentage of impairment you will likely have for the rest of your life. The extent of disability is one factor in how much compensation you will get.
What Can Happen with Untreated Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If your symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome remain untreated, you could sustain permanent nerve damage if the median nerve stays compressed for too long. This nerve damage can cause lasting impairment in the use of your hands. It can also lead to chronic pain and discomfort.
How to Get Legal Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Georgia enforces a limited timeframe on filing workers’ compensation claims. Contact S. Burke Law today and let us help you navigate Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. Call us today at 404-842-7838, to get your no-cost consultation.
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.