After suffering a workplace injury, you may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses and lost income. As an employee, you have specific responsibilities you must adhere to following an on-the-job accident to receive benefits. Examples include reporting the incident as soon as possible to your employer, accepting recommended medical treatment, and submitting to a drug test.
Fulfilling your obligations facilitates a smooth process and allows you to pursue fair compensation. However, benefits may be denied or suspended if you fail to carry out your responsibilities.
At The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC, our Atlanta team provides skilled counsel and can help you understand what’s required of you when seeking workers’ compensation. Contact us at (770) 741-2825.
When Can You File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation?
You might be eligible to seek workers’ compensation if you were injured on the job. The benefits may cover lost income (if your injury causes you to be out of work for more than 7 days) and medical expenses, such as doctor’s bills, rehabilitation, and prescriptions.
Workers’ compensation benefits allow you to get the care you need to recover from your injury and return to work (if possible).
What Should You Do After an On-the-Job Accident?
You have the right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits if your injury occurred during the course of your employment. In other words, you were carrying out your job duties during working hours.
After being involved in a workplace accident, there are several things you are required to do to protect your right to seek benefits. We discuss some of your obligations below.
You must tell your employer or a supervisor about your accident as soon as possible after it happens but no later than 30 days following the incident. Failing to meet this deadline could cause your request for compensation to be denied.
When making your report, you must be detailed about what happened and when. You must also give the names of anyone who might have witnessed your accident.
Additionally, you must be sure to complete and submit any forms required by your employer.
Submit to a Drug Test
Following your accident, your employer might direct you to submit to a chemical test to determine whether you had alcohol or drugs in your system. You would be ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits if an intoxicating substance was present in your system at the time of the accident.
If you refuse to submit to an alcohol or drug test, it will be presumed that your accident resulted from intoxication. Your request for benefits will be denied.
Accept Medical Treatment
The physician treating your injuries or the State Board of Workers’ Compensation may recommend specific medical treatment. You must accept and undergo the care suggested; otherwise, your benefits may be suspended.
Notify the Insurer When You Can Return to Work
If the treating physician authorizes you to return to work, you must inform your employer’s insurance company. The notification requirement stands whether you can go back on a full-time or part-time basis or to a position different from the one you held before your accident.
Returning to work with limitations might mean you will earn less than you did pre-injury. If this is the case, you may be entitled to receive reduced workers’ compensation benefits for up to 350 weeks. However, you can get no more than $483 a week.
Attempt an Offered Job
Your employer might offer you a position different from what you held before to accommodate your injury. If your treating physician clears you to perform the duties of the new role, you must try to return to work and carry out the functions.
If the new position’s pay is lower than the wages for your previous role, you may be entitled to reduced benefits.
Refusing to attempt an authorized position can result in your workers’ compensation benefits being suspended.
File a Claim within the Allowed Period
Your employer’s insurance company might offer a benefit amount lower than what you believe you deserve, or it might deny your workers’ compensation request outright. If you disagree with the insurer’s decision, you can ask for a hearing with Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
You have one year to file your claim. Failing to request your hearing on time can cause you to be ineligible for benefits.
Contact Our Firm Today
Receiving benefits to pay for the care you need following a workplace accident is important. But your eligibility for compensation may be in jeopardy if you fail to do what is required of you after the incident. Work with an attorney to ensure you meet your obligations and can pursue just benefits.
If you need legal assistance in Atlanta, please call The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC at (770) 741-2825 or submit an online contact form.