Accidents happen without any warning, and when you are injured in the workplace, you can be left without any income to sustain yourself and your family. Fortunately, the law protects employees by giving them the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits when they are injured while working.
Workers’ compensation laws and employees’ rights vary from state to state. Understanding the law helps you know how you can be compensated for work-related injuries that result in permanent or temporary disabilities. If you are working in Georgia, it is crucial to learn about your rights as a worker.
What You Need to Know About GA Workers’ Comp and Employee Benefits
#1. Workers’ Compensation: What is it about?
Workers’ compensation is an employer-paid insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured, become ill, or temporarily disabled while gainfully employed with the company. The goal of the workers’ compensation program is to help employees recover and return to their job. The employer is responsible for paying the workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Then, the employee may be eligible for income, medical, and rehabilitation benefits if the claim can be verified or justified. In case you do not recover or die due to an injury in the workplace, your dependents will receive the benefits.
Every state follows different rules and regulations on workers’ compensation. You should verify whether the company you work for is required by the government to provide compensation insurance to their employees. Businesses that are required but fail to include workers’ comp insurance in their benefits can be penalized. Workers’ compensation coverage in Georgia starts from the first day of employment as long as the employee is not a government employee, independent contractor, domestic worker, railroad employee, or volunteer.
#2. How to File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation
The ability to file for workers’ compensation is one of the employee rights in Georgia. If you run into an accident or contract a work-related illness, then you must report it to your employer, who will then provide you with the necessary paperwork to file the claim. Accomplish these, including the Form WC-14, and submit to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
You must also furnish a copy to your employer and the company’s worker’s compensation insurance provider. Remember to report the incident within 30 days, or else you may not be able to claim any workers’ compensation benefits.
#3. Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Injuries
The workers’ compensation benefits given to you will depend on the rules and regulations of the state of Georgia. You should consult with a reputable workers’ compensation lawyer to have a better understanding of your eligibility and rights. Below is the overview of Georgia’s workers’ compensation benefits.
- Temporary partial disability: TPD or temporary partial disability benefits apply to employees who can perform lighter duties before they became sick or injured in the workplace. TPD compensation stops once you become fully rehabilitated or after 350 weeks.
- Temporary total disability: TTD or temporary total disability benefits apply to employees who were not able to work for the last seven days. TTD compensation stops once you fully recover or after 400 weeks. If you were not able to recover, you could seek benefits for permanent disability.
- Permanent partial disability: PPD or permanent partial disability is awarded when permanent damage after an injury is sustained, but the employee has not lost the capacity to work.
- Permanent total disability: PTD or permanent total disability is awarded when damage sustained while working cannot be corrected after medical treatment, and the employee lost the capacity to work permanently.
#4. Other Things You Must Know About the GA Workers’ Comp Law
Aside from the salary compensation due to injuries, any employee covered by the Workers’ Compensation Law can receive medical and death benefits, mileage reimbursement, and vocational rehabilitation. Here are other things that you should know about Georgia’s Workers’ Comp Law:
- You can choose your doctor. The employer has to give a list of doctors or medical professionals, but you can also request the one that is not included in their options. You are also allowed to change doctors if you are not satisfied with the doctor you choose or assigned to you.
- You need to file a personal injury claim to be compensated for pain and suffering. Workers’ comp covers only the lost wages and medical expenses.
- You can go to court for a lump sum settlement. However, a lump sum settlement will prevent you from getting any additional benefits in the future.
- You can represent yourself when filing a workers’ comp claim. However, hiring a legal expert makes you confident that you are getting the right benefits for your claim.
Workers are entitled to benefits if they fall ill, injured, or die while performing their job responsibilities. It is, thus, essential to understanding your fundamental rights as an employee. While no one wants to suffer due to unfortunate circumstances, Georgia’s workers’ compensation law and employee rights are your safety net when the need arises.