Hurt Georgia Worker Awarded Medical Expenses and Legal Fees in Atlanta Workers' Compensation Case

An Administrative Law Judge for the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation has ruled that an injured employee should recover medical benefits and attorney's fees related to a workplace injury. In the case, a Georgia truck driver apparently injured his right shoulder while unloading 10 gallon buckets from his tractor-trailer in February 2014. Despite the pain in his shoulder, the driver purportedly deemed the injury to be minor and continued working. The next day, however, the trucker purportedly experienced additional pain while unloading a different trailer. According to the man, he reported the injury to the dispatcher with whom he had worked for about 10 years.

The following day, the driver again reported his shoulder injury to his dispatcher. The man stated he could not drive his normal route and also help unload the tractor-trailer, due to the injury. The dispatcher allegedly told the driver that he would do his best to swap out the injured man's driving route with another trucker. Unfortunately, the worker was required to continue his normal route. The dispatcher also apparently told the driver he was required to see a doctor as soon as he returned from completing his truck driving duties.

The driver's physician recommended that the man seek care from an orthopedic specialist and noted that the workplace accident injury had increased the man's blood pressure. The orthopedic doctor to which the worker was referred apparently declined to treat him after learning the injury was work-related. According to the specialist, the driver needed proper authorization from his employer prior to seeking care.

In March 2014, the truck driver reported his work injury to human resources, as required by an employer policy that was signed by the worker in 2010. Although the human resources Director initially denied the man's claim for failure to report his workplace harm in a timely manner, she later recanted her statement before the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation ("the Board"). According to the Director, she denied the driver's workers' compensation claim under direct orders from her supervisor. In addition, a treating physician and an impartial medical examiner stated the driver's shoulder harm was consistent with a workplace injury.

The Board examined the evidence offered in the case before ruling that the truck driver timely reported his workplace injury to both his dispatcher and human resources. After that, the Board addressed the worker's request for legal fees. According to the Board, the worker continued to work despite his shoulder injury. As a result, the compensation at issue related only to medical bills that resulted from his treatment and legal expenses. After examining the facts in the case, the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation ruled that the truck driver was entitled to recover both the cost of his medical expenses and $6,000 in attorney's fees under O.C.G.A. Section 34-9-108(b)(1).

If you were hurt at work in Atlanta, you are advised to discuss your rights with a knowledgeable workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with a hardworking Fulton County workers' compensation attorney today, do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford at (770) 922-3660 or contact us online.

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