Understanding Georgia Workers’ Compensation Laws
Since 1920, Georgia has had some form of workers' compensation legislation codified into law. However, this initial enactment allowed employers to opt-out of this coverage and had very low rates for injured workers. It wasn't until the 1970s that this became mandatory.
Now, any Georgia employer with three or more regular employees, including part-time workers, must provide workers' compensation benefits.
Rights of Injured Employees
In what is known as the "Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker," the State Board of Workers' Compensation outlines the rights and responsibilities of employees who are injured at work. Employee rights are as follows:
- Workers injured on the job may receive medical, rehabilitation, and income benefits.
- Employers must post a list of at least six doctors that injured workers must receive care from unless in an emergency.
- Expenses, including doctor/hospital bills, rehabilitation and physical therapy if applicable, prescriptions, and travel, are to be paid under this law (if the worker was injured on the job).
- Accidents may be classified as catastrophic or non-catastrophic, and these distinctions will be used to determine the benefits awarded.
- If you can only find a lower-paying job due to your injury, you may receive weekly benefits for no longer than 350 weeks.
- In fatal work accidents, dependents will receive burial/funeral expenses and two-thirds of weekly wages (with restrictions); if they had no children, it would fall to the widowed spouse.
- Employers must pay a penalty if injury benefits are not paid when due.
It's imperative that workers understand these rights and their responsibilities when undergoing the workers' compensation claims process. Should your employee be withholding the benefits you are entitled to or otherwise infringing on these rights, you may be able to seek the legal assistance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Augusta and Atlanta
Work injuries can have devastating consequences and leave families with many questions about their recovery and the ability to pay for necessary living expenses. Know that you have a right to seek workers' compensation benefits for injuries on the job and can take legal action if they are not received.