Jul 3, 2022
An Overview of the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
Injured workers in Georgia are protected under the workers’ compensation system. While filing a claim for your injury may seem like an arduous task, know that you have the right to work with a skilled attorney who can help make the process more efficient. Here is an overview of what you can expect before, during, and after the workers’ compensation claims process.
What to Do Immediately After Being Injured in the Workplace
The first thing you should do after being injured in the workplace is to report the accident to your employer. You should do this as soon as possible, or within 30 days of the accident, in order to preserve your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
Seek Medical Attention for Injuries
Next, you will need to seek medical attention for your injuries. You can choose any licensed physician or provider for treatment, and there is no need to get prior approval from your employer or the insurance company. However, you should notify your employer of the name and address of the physician or provider you have chosen.
Your employer or their insurance company may request that you be examined by a physician of their choice, but you are not required to do so. After receiving treatment, be sure to keep copies of all medical records and bills related to your injury. These will be important when filing your workers’ compensation claim.
Learn More: What Doctors Can I Treat With When I Am Hurt on the Job?
Employer Files a Form WC-1
After receiving notice of your injury, your employer will be required to file a Form WC-1 or the Employer’s First Report of Injury within 10 days. This is essentially an accident report that details what occurred, the extent of the injuries, and wages. Your employer should then send this to the workers’ compensation insurance company so that your claim is in motion.
File a Claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation
The next step in the process is to file a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. You can do this by mail or online through the board’s website. You will need to provide information about yourself, your employer, and your injuries. Once your claim is filed, the board will send a copy to your employer and their insurance company.
Receive Notice of Compensation Benefits
If your claim is approved, you will receive notice of compensation benefits from the Board. These benefits can include payment for medical treatment, income replacement, and death benefits if applicable. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the appeals process.
How to Appeal a Denied Claim
The first step in appealing a denied claim is to file a Request for Reconsideration with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. This must be done within 30 days of receiving notice of the denial. The board will then review your claim and make a decision.
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you can appeal to an administrative law judge. Again, an attorney can help you through this process.
Filing a Form WC-14
If your claim is approved but you have not received your workers’ compensation benefits, your best options are to obtain legal help from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney and to file a Form WC-14. Also known as the Notice of Claim/Request for Hearing, this will allow you to schedule a hearing with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation to ensure that you get the benefits you are entitled to. This hearing is usually scheduled within 60 days of receipt of the WC-14.
What Should I Do After Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
After you have begun receiving workers’ compensation benefits, there are a few things you should do to protect your rights. First, keep track of all medical treatment and expenses related to your injury. You should also keep a record of any income you lose as a result of the accident. These records will be important if you need to file for an extension of benefits or appeal a denial.
Second, be sure to notify the board and your employer if you return to work. You should also let them know if your injuries prevent you from working or restrict your ability to perform certain tasks. Failure to do so could result in a loss of benefits.
What If I Am Permanently Disabled?
If you are permanently disabled as a result of your injuries, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits. These benefits are paid in a lump sum and are based on your average weekly wage. You may also be entitled to medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation.
When Should I Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
You may be wondering if you need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. The answer is that it depends on the circumstances of your case. If you have suffered a serious injury or your claim has been denied, you will likely benefit from having an attorney on your side. An attorney can help you gather evidence, file appeals, and negotiate with the insurance company.
Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Being injured in the workplace is never ideal, but having a skilled workers’ compensation attorney by your side can help simplify the process. The team at The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC has decades of experience in helping workers throughout Georgia obtain the benefits to which they are entitled. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (770) 741-2825.