When an employee sustains an injury on the job, workers’ compensation ensures that they get medical care and a portion of their salary while they are unable to work. This system also benefits employers, as injured employees cannot sue them for workplace injuries.
However, it is still recommended that you consult an experienced personal injury lawyer if you are filing a claim for these benefits. A Winder workers’ compensation lawyer could help explain all the available avenues for fair compensation to cover your losses.
All employers with more than three employees must participate in the workers’ compensation program. These benefits kick in when an employee sustains an injury that is related to their employment.
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated §34-9-200, an injured worker must seek treatment from a medical professional approved by their employer to receive coverage for their medical expenses. Employers must provide employees a list of at least six approved providers.
If these requirements are met, workers’ compensation can cover a variety of expenses related to the work injury, including:
If an employee is unable to work because of their injury, workers’ compensation will pay them a temporary total disability (TTD) benefit equal to two-thirds of their wages. An injured worker can receive TTD benefits up to $675.00 per week for no more than 400 weeks. If an employee returns to work but must perform a lower-wage job due to their condition, they might be entitled to receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits, which pay two-thirds of the difference in the worker’s wages. A skilled lawyer could help determine what type of workers’ comp benefits a Winder employee qualifies for after returning to work.
Sometimes, a work-related accident results in a permanent injury that limits a person’s use of a body part or sensory function. In these cases, the worker might qualify for permanent partial disability benefits (PPD). Georgia employers must begin paying PPD within three weeks of when their temporary benefits end.
To receive PPD, an authorized physician must first certify that the injury is permanent. The physician will then assign a percentage indicating how much function the person lost. For example, if a worker is no longer able to completely straighten their arm because of an elbow injury, the physician might determine that the elbow has lost 20 percent of its function.
This percentage has an impact on how much compensation a worker might receive for their partial disability. If a Winder employee believes that their physician has underestimated the amount of function they lost, a dedicated attorney could help them contest the assignment and pursue a fair amount of compensation.
Unfortunately, some employment-related injuries are so severe that the law presumes the person will be unable to work again. In these tragic cases, the injured worker is eligible to receive weekly benefits for the rest of their life.
However, the law narrowly defines the catastrophic injuries that qualify for permanent benefits. For example, loss of vision in both eyes qualifies, but complete blindness in one eye and vision loss in the other does not. Loss of both hands, feet, arms, or legs, or a combination of the loss of two of these appendages, qualifies as a catastrophic injury. Despite this, the loss of one hand or foot is not necessarily considered catastrophic.
If a worker’s injuries do not automatically qualify them for permanent benefits, they still might be able to receive them with persistent legal guidance. A well-practiced attorney could argue that their condition effectively prevents them from working again, even if their injuries do not qualify as catastrophic under Georgia law.
The workers’ compensation system is beneficial in many situations, but certain obstacles might prevent an employee from receiving the benefits they deserve. Employers and insurance companies looking to cut costs might try to force a person to return to work before they are recovered or dispute the severity of their injuries. Sometimes, employers argue that their employee’s injuries are not work-related to avoid paying any compensation at all.
A Winder workers’ compensation lawyer could provide crucial legal support and advocacy throughout the entire process of filing for benefits. At Smith Hulsey, our attorneys are experienced in handling these types of legal proceedings. If you have sustained a work-related injury, call now to learn how we could help.
Smith Hulsey Law