What Happens If The Employee Is Personally At Fault For The Incident That Caused The Work Injury?
In Georgia, any injury that occurs at work is recoverable under the Georgia workers’ compensation statute, because as an employee, you are not required to prove that someone else was at fault for your work-related injuries. As a sort of statutory compromise for paying for all injuries that occur during the course and scope of employment, the damages are reduced to include only medical expenses and income benefits, and not pain and suffering. Your authorized doctor bills, hospital bills, rehabilitation, physical therapy, prescriptions and necessary travel expenses will be paid if the injury occurred on the job.
If you’re put completely off work for more than 7 days, then you’re entitled to income benefits of up to $675 per week for up to 400 weeks or two-thirds of your average weekly wage whichever is less. Your first check will be mailed to you in 21 days. If you are Catastrophically Injured you are entitled to 2/3 of your average weekly wage or $675 per week whichever is less for life. If you are economically impacted by your work injury, there is temporary permanent disability (TPD), which is an economic injury caused by a work injury that will result in a situation where you are working but making less than you were before the injury. In this case, you would be eligible to receive two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wage and your post-injury wage capped at $450 a week with for a maximum of 350 weeks.
Finally, there is permanent partial disability (PPD), which you would be eligible for if you were injured at work, reach maximum medical improvement, and are given a disability rating (for part of your body or your whole body) by a doctor. If the doctor were to give you a 10 percent disability rating for your whole body, then you would be entitled to receive 10 percent of the 400 weeks of temporary total disability, or $675 x 40. There’s essentially a statutory compromise where all claims are accepted regardless of fault, but they’re paid out at a reduced level of damages.
If you die as a result of a work accident or injury, your dependents are entitled to burial expenses of $7500.00 and 2/3 of your average weekly wages capped at $675.00 per week. A widowed spouse with no children can be paid a maximum of $270,000.00.
Does An Injured Worker Have To Be At The Physical Place Of Employment To Qualify For Workers’ Compensation At The Time Of The Injury?
As long as you were injured during the course and scope of your employment, it is not necessary that you were at the physical place of employment when you were injured. If you were on a personal errand when you were injured, or had left the employer’s premises for the day, then workers’ compensation likely wouldn’t cover it. However, if you were in the field for your job and were injured while in the course of fulfilling your duties or before your workday was over, then you would likely be covered by workers’ compensation. Ultimately, this is a determination that must be made on a case-by-case basis.
I Believe I Have A Valid Workers’ Compensation Claim; What Do I Do Next?
If you have a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, then you have to notify your employer of the injury within 30 days and file a claim within one year. The best course of action is to immediately notify your immediate supervisor or the HR department by phone, email, and in writing just to make sure all of your bases are covered.
In Georgia, the employer is required to have a posted panel of physicians to whom you can go to if you’re injured on the job. Most workplaces have this poster in the breakroom with other employment-related posters. It is generally pink in color. You should take a picture of that poster and work through your employer to be referred to one of those doctors, or just choose a doctor on the list.
It’s better to hire an attorney immediately, because an attorney will have good information about which doctors are employer-friendly and which are worker-friendly. The attorney can look at the list of doctors on the poster and direct you toward the best one for your particular needs. The doctors have a lot of power in terms of the outcome of a workers’ compensation case, so it’s important to try to pick the right doctor upfront, although you’re entitled to one change after your first authorized treating physician is picked.
For more information on Workers’ Compensation In Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (770) 961-5511 today.
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