Workers’ Compensation FAQs
The workers’ compensation system can be confusing, especially if you’ve never had to make a claim before. To help you get a better idea of what to expect, we have put together this list of frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation in Georgia. If you have further questions and would like an evaluation of your case, please fill out an online contact form or call our office at (770) 629-9321.
Are employers required to carry worker’s compensation insurance in Georgia?
In Georgia, any company that regularly employs three or more full-time or part-time employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
What benefits am I entitled to receive?
Pursuant to the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, anyone who has been injured in a workplace accident and is unable to work is eligible for certain benefits, which includes payment of two-thirds of your weekly income (up to a maximum of $550/week) for up to 400 weeks. In cases involving certain catastrophic injuries, the injured employee may be entitled to receive benefits for the rest of his or her life. Employers are also required to pay any and all reasonable medical expenses resulting from the injury.
How long do I have to file a claim?
In Georgia, injured workers have one year from the date of their accident to file a claim. This deadline can be extended in some cases, but it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss the deadline that applies to your case. If you wait too long to make a claim, you risk losing your right to seek benefits.
What if I have a preexisting injury? Can I still file a claim?
Many people believe that if they have a preexisting injury, they won’t be able to file a successful workers’ compensation claim because their employer may simply blame their medical problems on a prior injury. This isn’t the case! In Georgia, a worker is still entitled to compensation for an injury which exacerbates a preexisting condition. For example, if you suffered a back injury in the past and you hurt it again during the course of your work duties, you still have a valid claim.
What does “no-fault” mean?
The Georgia workers’ compensation system operates on a no-fault basis, which means that an employee does not have to prove that their employer or a coworker was at fault for their injury in order to have a successful claim. Not only does this make it easier for the injured employee to recover, but it also means that even if the employee was partially at fault for their injury, they can still file a claim.
Can I sue my employer for compensation for my injury?
The workers’ compensation system is an exclusive remedy for employees against their employers and co-workers, which means that injured employees are barred from suing for personal injury if their employers have WC insurance. However, injured workers are allowed to make personal injury claims against third parties (i.e. someone other than an employer or coworker). For example, if an unsafe piece of equipment caused your injury, you may be able to sue the manufacturer for damages.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
If you have sustained a serious injury in the workplace, it is absolutely a good idea to consult with an attorney for two reasons. The first reason is that there are several deadlines that you must meet in order to avoid losing your ability to collect money for your injury. Even missing one deadline can cost you your case. The second reason is that an attorney can help ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injury and that you aren’t denied benefits that you are entitled to.