Georgia Workers' Compensation Board Holds Employer Must Pay Injured Employee Benefits, Partial Lost Wages, and Legal Fees

The Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation recently held that an employee was entitled to benefits following a workplace injury. Additionally, the Board in this case found that the employee suffered wage loss and was entitled to temporary partial disability benefits because his injury resulted in decreased earnings. In making their Calgary Roofing Contractors (1)determination, the Board reviewed the employee's credibility as well as supportive medical evidence to reach these findings.

Employer in this matter had at least 12 employees, and the Board stated that Employer was therefore subject to the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act. Employee stated that he worked for Employer as a roofer, and on September 22, 2014, he fell 25 feet off the roof where he was working. He suffered injuries to his left ankle, left leg, left wrist, chest, and lower back. That day, or the following day, Employee notified his supervisor of the accident and his resulting injury. The Board stated that Employer therefore had notice of the alleged workplace injury.

Under the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act, the Board held that Employer was liable to pay benefits to Employee as as result of the injury. Following the injury, Employee stopped working for Employer. He became disabled as of December 7, 2014 due to his injury, and he remained totally disabled until January 15, 2015, when he returned to work for Employer.

Employee's pain was allegedly so severe that on January 30, 2015, he stopped working for Employer. The Board held that Employee was totally disabled from that period until June 8, 2015, when he began to work as a waiter for another employer. On June 12, 2015, Employee stopped working due to the severity of his pain.

The Board, basing the decision on Employee's credible testimony and supportive medical evidence, stated that Employee had remained totally disabled due to his injuries since June 13, 2015. Under O.C.G.A. §34-9-261, Employer needed to pay Employee temporary total disability benefits from December 8, 2014 to January 16, 2015, from January 30, 2015 to June 8, 2015, and again from June 13, 2015 to the date of the hearing.

Medical expenses that were incurred and reasonably required to effect a cure, or give relief, were to be provided by Employer. O.C.G.A. §34-9-200(a).

Regarding Employee's claim for partial wage disability benefits, the Board stated that a worker is entitled to these benefits if his disability is partial in character and temporary in quality. O.C.G.A. §34-9-262. Here, Employee suffered wage loss due to his injured condition when he returned to work for Employer from January 16 to January 30, 2015. He also suffered wage loss when he worked as a waiter for the restaurant from June 9 to June 12, 2015. The Board stated that, since he could not earn as much as before, due to his injury, he suffered wage loss. The Board held Employer must pay temporary partial disability benefits.

Additionally, the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation ruled that Employee was entitled to recover $3,750.00 in attorney's fees, which was determined to be the fair and reasonable fee for attorney services.

If you suffered an injury at a Georgia workplace, you should discuss your rights with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a confidential consultation with a caring Atlanta workers' compensation lawyer, do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford at (770) 922-3660 or contact us through our website today.