Jan 19, 2016

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.