Your workers' compensation disability benefits in Georgia are based on your average weekly wage. Benefits begin when you miss more than seven days of work due to your work injury. Further, workers’ compensation covers medical expenses to treat your work-related injury too.
Here’s an overview of how to calculate workers’ compensation disability benefits in Georgia:
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Georgia
Georgia workers' compensation law allows four types of disability benefits:
- Temporary total disability benefits
- Temporary partial disability benefits
- Permanent total disability benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
Calculating Temporary Total Disability Benefits
Temporary total disability benefits begin when you miss more than seven days of work due to your work injury. You receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to the maximum allowed by the state. Your average weekly wage equals the average of your wages for the 13 weeks before your injury. For injuries occurring on July 1, 2016, or later, you can get up to $575 per week.
You receive temporary total disability benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement or for 400 weeks, whichever occurs first. Maximum medical improvement occurs when your doctor says your recovery is complete, usually when the doctor releases you to return to work.
Calculating Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
If you can work but not at the wage you earned before the work injury, you can receive temporary partial disability benefits. For example, your employer may place you on light duty, or you may work fewer hours than you did before your work injury.
You receive two-thirds of the difference between what you earn and what you earned before the injury, up to $383 per week if your injury occurred on or after July 1, 2016. You receive temporary partial disability benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement or 350 weeks, whichever occurs first.
Calculating Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Once you reach maximum medical improvement, your doctor will assess your condition to determine your eligibility for permanent partial disability benefits or permanent total disability benefits. To qualify for permanent total disability benefits, your condition must be severe, for example, the loss of both eyes. If you qualify for permanent total disability benefits, you receive an amount equal to the rate of your temporary total disability benefits for life.
Calculating Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If you reach maximum medical improvement and your doctor determines you are eligible for permanent partial disability benefits, your benefits continue at two-thirds of your average weekly wage. How long you receive permanent partial disability benefits depends on whether your injury affects a part of the body, such as a leg, that appears on the state's list of scheduled members.
What appears on the schedule? Here are some examples:
- The total loss of an arm is 225 weeks.
- The total loss of a hand is 160 weeks.
- The total loss of a leg is 225 weeks.
- The total loss of a foot is 135 weeks.
- The total loss of hearing in one ear is 75 weeks.
For example, if your doctor assigns you a 25 percent loss to one hand, you receive benefits for 40 weeks.
If your injury is not on the schedule, you receive an award based on the number of weeks allowed for the body as a whole. Benefits for an unscheduled member, such as the back, can go as long as 300 weeks.
If your doctor says you have 50 percent permanent disability to your back, you receive benefits for 150 weeks at two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to the maximum allowed for temporary total disability, $575 per week, for injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2016.
Death Benefits Payable to a Spouse, Children, or Dependents
If you die in a work accident, your spouse, children or other dependents can receive death benefits. The amount of the death benefits is two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Your family can also receive funeral and burial expenses up to $7,500.
Medical Benefits for Workers Injured on the Job
If you suffer an injury on the job, your employer must pay your medical expenses related to your work injury and authorized by your doctor. Your employer must provide mileage reimbursement for trips to and from the doctor.
Your workers' compensation does not cover pain and suffering. But you can bring a lawsuit against a third party who caused your work injury. Your third-party lawsuit can seek compensation for pain and suffering and other damages.
Get Help With a Workers' Compensation Claim
Did you suffer a work injury? You may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Contact a workers' compensation lawyer at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.