For people who suffer injuries while performing work-related duties, workers’ compensation can provide benefits to help with needed medical treatment and wage supplementation when an injury prevents them from working and earning pay, even in cases when there is permanent disability. The system also provides death benefits in the event of a fatal work accident. While workers’ compensation is a system intended to help injured workers and their families, it may not be available to every person or for every type of incident.
Determining whether you are eligible to receive benefits is an important step in the workers’ compensation process. The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC is a trusted Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm that helps clients and their families understand and exercise their rights, including many who were unsure as to whether they were entitled to benefits. If you or someone you love has been hurt on the job, it’s important to know whether you qualify for benefits that can help ease the strain of these difficult times. Under state law established by the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, eligibility boils down to a few important criteria.
Whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits first and foremost depends on whether your employer has workers’ compensation insurance. Georgia law states the following:
- All Georgia businesses that employ 3 or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance for their workers. Employees are covered from the day they begin working at a business with workers’ comp insurance.
- The 3-minimum employee rule includes part-time workers, provided that they work for the business regularly.
- Some businesses may be self-insured, but they are still financially liable for providing benefits to injured workers. These businesses essentially pay workers’ comp benefits to an injured employee out of pocket, rather than making regular payments to an insurance carrier or state-run fund. In Georgia, employers must submit applications and be approved in order to be self-insured.
If you are unsure as to whether your employer has workers’ compensation coverage, you can visit the State Board of Workers’ Compensation website to conduct a verified employer coverage search.
Your Accident / Injury
In addition to having an employer with workers’ compensation insurance, or a self-insured policy, your eligibility is contingent on a few key points related to your accident and injury:
- Your accident or injury must have occurred in the course of your employment while performing assigned job-related duties during work hours.
- Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so you will be entitled to benefits regardless of who is at fault. In some cases, injured workers may be able to obtain compensation outside of the workers’ comp system if a negligent third-party caused their accident.
- Workers’ compensation does not cover accidents that involve unassigned duties during times such as a lunch break or during your commute to and from work.
- You may lose eligibility to benefits if you do not report your injury to your employer in a timely manner. It is always advised to report your injury immediately, as waiting longer than 30 days may result in loss of benefits.
If you have been injured on the job – or if you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident – our legal team at The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC is available to help you learn more about your rights, whether you are entitled to workers’ comp benefits, and how we can help secure the benefits you need as swiftly and successful as possible. For a free consultation, contact us today!