Savannah Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Fights for Employee Benefits
Experienced Georgia attorney gets strong results for injured employees
In Georgia, employers with three or more employees are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage reimburses workers for medical expenses and lost income when they suffer a job-related injury or illness. Unfortunately, many workers who file claims are denied benefits, and others who get an initial approval often run into difficulties accessing the full range of benefits due them. If you’ve encountered such difficulties with your claim, Anderson Law Firm is here to help. Since 1993, our Savannah law practice has focused on injured workers. We provide highly personal services and work tirelessly to achieve the results you need.
Caring advocate outlines benefits available to workers’ comp claimants
There are five major categories of benefits available through workers’ compensation:
- Medical treatment — Injured workers are entitled to have their expenses paid for all reasonable and necessary treatment, but the claimant must choose from a panel of physicians named by their employer. Questions sometime arise about whether a victim’s injury was present prior to the workplace accident. However, aggravation of a pre-existing condition is compensable.
- Wage replacement — A worker who is hurt on the job and unable to work is entitled to partial wage replacement, usually at two-thirds of his or her average weekly wage up to a maximum set by the state. For injuries occurring after July 1, 2019, the top weekly benefit for someone with a total disability is $675.
- Disability — Workers who are disabled due to a work-related injury or illness are entitled to benefits. Temporary disability payments are awarded to claimants who miss at least 7 days of work due to their medical condition. Depending on the nature of the injury, you might be entitled to total disability payments or partial reimbursement if you are still working but earning less income because of limitations caused by your injury. If you still cannot work after reaching maximum medical improvement, you will be evaluated to determine if you can collect permanent disability benefits on a total or partial basis.
- Job retraining — Employees who can no longer continue with the type of work they did before becoming ill or injured are entitled to retraining paid for by the employer’s insurance.
- Death benefits — Families of fatally injured workers receive benefits that include up to $7,500 in funeral and burial costs as well as wage replacement similar to what a totally disabled employee would receive.
Georgia has issued a Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker, which describes the types of medical expenses that must be paid and the types of injuries that are classified as “catastrophic.” The document also details the claimant’s responsibilities in workers’ compensation actions, including the duty to report injuries within 30 days of the incident.
Who is eligible to file a Georgia workers’ compensation claim?
Both full- and part-time employees must be protected by workers’ compensation coverage. Medical bills are to be submitted to your employer and/or their insurer, so you should not receive any invoice or be required to pay a deductible. To receive benefits, all of the following must be true:
- You are an employee.
- Your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
- You have a work-related injury or illness.
This seems easy enough, but many workers with legitimate claims are denied benefits because their employer lodges one of the following defenses:
- There is no employer-employee relationship.
- There is no injury.
- The injury is not work-related.
You can also encounter problems later. For example, your treating physician may clear you to return to work before you are fully healed, or you may receive a disability rating that is too low for your condition.
Our firm is committed to securing all of the benefits that injured employees are due as promptly and efficiently as possible. You only have one year from the date of the injury or illness to file a workers’ compensation claim, but prompt action gives you the best chance to prepare the strongest possible argument. If you received benefits but believe you were not fully compensated due to an alleged change in your condition or some other disputed issue, you have two years from your final payment to seek relief.
When you should hire a workers’ compensation attorney
There is usually no reason to consult an attorney when first filing a claim. Simply talk to the person at your company who is designated to handle claims, and make sure you file your claim as soon as possible after you realize you’ve been injured. However, you certainly should contact a lawyer if:
- Your employer denies your claim.
- Your employer doesn’t pay your benefits promptly.
- The insurer makes an offer of settlement for your lost wages or medical bills.
- You disagree with your treating physician and are prevented from getting a second opinion.
- You cannot return to your old job because of your injury or illness.
- You become permanently disabled, either partially or totally.
- You are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits.
- You face retaliation on the job for filing your workers’ comp claim.
- Your injury is due to the negligent act or omission of a third party with whom you do not have an employer-employee or coworker relationship.
- Your injury is due to a defective product, tool or piece of machinery.
- Your injury is due to your employer’s serious misconduct.
In each of these circumstances, an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney may be able to remove obstacles to your benefits. In many cases, we can also explore the possibility of a personal injury action that would allow you to recover full compensation for your economic losses as well as your pain and suffering.
Contact our Savannah law office for assistance with your workers’ compensation case
Anderson Law Firm represents injured Georgia workers in all types of workers’ compensation claims. To schedule a free consultation, please call us at 912-328-6491 or contact us online. We are conveniently located at 800 Commercial Court, Savannah, Georgia 31406. near the Savannah Botanical Gardens and Oglethorpe Mall.