Sandy Springs and Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you are injured while at work in Sandy Springs, Atlanta or anywhere in Georgia, you are entitled to benefits under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. You may be eligible for weekly income benefits, medical benefits, and a settlement for permanent injuries. In addition, if you are unable to return to gainful employment you may also be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.
However, filing a claim and obtaining those benefits can be a long, complicated process. At Robbins & Associates, PC, our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate through the confusing system in order to ensure that you receive the maximum allowable benefits in a timely manner. We have years of experience appearing before the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, and we have successfully helped many of our clients secure the workers’ compensation benefits to which they are entitled.
What Types of Injuries are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?
Most injuries incurred on the job in Georgia are covered under workers’ compensation. Other long-term conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive motion, or back pain resulting from heavy lifting, may also qualify. There are a few exceptions which may not be covered, such as:
- Injuries caused by horseplay or your reckless behavior
- Injuries sustained while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Proving that your injuries are directly related to your job may be difficult, and you may want an experienced attorney to help handle your case. It is important that you carefully document the events which caused your injury so that our attorney can help expedite your claim.
In many instances, your employer and its insurance company will try to prevent you from collecting your benefits. Your employer may try to steer you to medical care that will limit treatment and release you to go back to work before you are fully able to do so. This issue may go before an administrative law judge for a ruling. Even if the judge rules in your favor, your company’s insurance can file an appeal and further prolong your ability to receive the treatment you need. In the meantime, your injuries may worsen and ultimately prevent you from returning to work at all.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INJURED ON THE JOB
Regardless of your type of employment, you are susceptible to job-related injuries or illnesses. In Georgia, as in other states, you have a limited time to file your claim in order to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. If your injury is serious, or potentially so, you should consult with Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney Laurie S. Robbins to ensure timely and accurate filing.
REVIEW THE REQUIREMENTS
Each employer that participates in Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation plan must post information on how to file a claim in a prominent location. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the law and the requirements before you need them. In order to receive fair and adequate compensation for your injuries or work related illness you must follow the steps outlined by the state.
REPORT THE INJURY TO A SUPERVISOR
You should report the injury or the discovery of the illness to your immediate supervisor as soon as possible. It does not count to tell a co-worker, a supervisor must be notified and a report about the injury should be made, not only to establish the facts of the injury, but as a first step to establishing your claim. The accident or illness must be job-related in order to receive compensation. If it is not adequately reported, your employer may contest the decision and your claim may be denied.
VISIT AN APPROVED PHYSICIAN
In order to ensure that your medical expenses are covered by the plan, you should visit an approved physician. The physicians who participate in your area should also be posted along with the other Workers’ Compensation information. By visiting an approved physician, you will help ensure your claim is not denied on a technicality. If you have any questions about which physician you should see, you should consult with your employer and make sure that the information is recorded in an injury report.
Make sure you retain a copy of the injury report and any medical records generated during examination and treatment. It is not enough to hope your employer will keep track of everything.
FILE A CLAIM WITH GEORGIA’S STATE BOARD OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
When possible, you need to file a WC-14 form with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation and with your employer. This is in addition to notifying your employer as soon as the accident occurs or the illness is discovered. Your employer should apprise you of the status of your claim. You can also enquire of the board about the status, but a workers’ compensation claim may take time to process. If your claim is denied, there is an appeals process you can follow to have the board reconsider.
To ensure timely filing and prevent claim denials, you should retain the services of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. A workers compensation attorney, familiar with Georgia’s workers compensation law, will help you ensure all your paperwork is in order and assist you with any appeals should your claim be denied.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROCESS
Workers’ compensation is intended to help defray medical costs and lost wages for employees who are injured on the job. It can also help provide money for the family of an employee who is killed on the job. All companies over a certain size are required to provide workers’ compensation for their employees. Sometimes, though, securing workers’ compensation can be a complex and frustrating process.
DETERMINING IF YOU QUALIFY FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, your injury or illness must meet certain criteria. An injury suffered as a direct result of performing your job duties will in most cases be eligible for workers’ comp. Workers’ comp also can cover the medical expenses of long-term illness that is a direct result of working conditions. A common example is repetitive stress injury that results from intensive keyboarding required by your everyday work. In order to file for a workers’ comp claim, you will have to follow exact instructions and fill out specific forms provided by your employer or your employer’s insurance company.
In many cases, the workers’ compensation process continues smoothly from there. After you file your claim, your case is evaluated, your compensation is determined, and you receive reimbursement for medical expenses and/or lost wages.
Sometimes, though, the process is not so simple. Employers have the right to deny workers’ compensation cases on the grounds that the injuries or illness were not a direct consequence of the job being performed. A workers’ compensation claim might then have to go to court in order to prove eligibility. This can be particularly difficult in the case of an illness due to working conditions, such as exposure to dangerous chemicals on the job.
DETERMINING THE SIZE OF THE SETTLEMENT
In the majority of cases, the size of a workers’ compensation settlement is based upon the cost of necessary medical treatment. In the case of lost wages, it is usually determined based upon a percentage of your salary. This is also the case when workers’ compensation is paid out to the family of an employee who has been killed on the job, or in the case of long-term disability.
These figures, too, can be complex and difficult to determine, especially if the employer protests the validity of the claim or the settlement amount. When the validity of a claim or the amount of the settlement is disputed, a workers’ compensation lawyer from Robbins & Associates can be a great help in ensuring you receive appropriate compensation.
COMMON WORKPLACE INJURIES
If you are injured on the job or become sick due to your work, you may not know what benefits are able to you to help pay the bills and provide for you and your family while you are unable to work. The Georgia workers’ compensation system is a government program put in place to ensure that workers injured on the job or made ill due to their work are provided weekly benefit payments to cover loss of earning, medical bills, physical rehabilitation, job training skills if necessary, etc.
Filing for workers’ compensation is a very difficult, confusing process. If one deadline is missed or if one form is filled out incorrectly, you will be denied workers’ compensation benefits. In fact, most people who apply for workers’ compensation benefits are turned down their first time. Many are turned down over and over again, leaving them frightened and not knowing where to turn. We can help.
Workers’ compensation lawyer Laurie Robbins knows the Georgia workers’ compensation system inside and out. We know how to file your claim in a way that you will most likely begin receiving benefits in a timely manner. We have years of experience preparing the difficult paperwork for workers’ compensation, so we have helped countless residents of Georgia get the money to which they are entitled following a workplace accident. We have seen many workplace injuries; some of them are very serious and may affect you for the rest of your life.
Some of the most common workplace injuries are:
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Hand injuries
- Back injuries
- Electrocution injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Hearing and vision loss
- Mesothelioma (due to exposure to asbestos)
If you have been injured on the job, it’s absolutely crucial that you contact an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer at once. The sooner we get started on your claim, the sooner you will receive benefits.
ON THE JOB CAR ACCIDENTS IN GEORGIA
Car accidents can, unfortunately, occur at any time, including while you are performing job-related duties. A car accident that occurs on the job can introduce a variety of complex issues to the process of collecting damages.
WHAT ARE ON THE JOB CAR ACCIDENTS
A car accident can be considered to have occurred on the job if it happened under any of the following circumstances:
- You were on a business trip
- You were driving a company car on company business
- You were driving your own car on company business
- You were running errands directly related to your job
If you are driving a company car on business unrelated to your job, the accident would not be considered an on the job accident. Also, driving to and from work is not considered company time, so accidents that occur during your commute would also not be considered on the job accidents.
COMPENSATION FOR ON THE JOB CAR ACCIDENTS
If you are involved in a car accident while you are on the job, you should be able to receive a settlement through workers’ compensation, which is specifically designed to help employees who are injured on the job. In some cases, though, a company might deny workers’ compensation, or the amount offered by workers’ comp might not cover your expenses. In these cases, a third party claim might help fill in the gap.
A third party claim can be filed if another person was responsible for your accident. You can seek to gain compensation from this other person or from their insurance company in order to defray expenses that are not covered by workers’ compensation.
The combination of workers’ comp and the possibility of third party claims often makes on the job car accidents complex and difficult. The assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you receive a settlement that will meet your needs.
GEORGIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AND PERMANENT DISABILITY
An accident on the job can lead to serious injury, death or long-term disability, leaving you and your family in difficult financial straits. Fortunately, workers’ compensation exists specifically to address these issues. Any employer in the state of Georgia with more than three regular employees is required to have workers’ compensation insurance to help pay for the costs of medical treatment and lost wages for employees injured on the job.
PERMANENT DISABILITY AND LOST WAGES
If an on-the-job injury leads to permanent disability, you might be left without the resources to support your family. Workers’ compensation will supply ongoing support, usually based on a percentage of your salary, to help your family make ends meet.
In most cases, filing a claim for workers’ comp is all that is necessary to receive compensation for you and your family. The exact procedure depends upon the requirements of your employer’s insurance policy. You can receive assistance in filing a claim from your employer’s human resources department, or, if necessary, from a workers’ compensation and permanent disability attorney at Robbins & Associates in Atlanta, Georgia.
In some cases, an employer might dispute a workers’ compensation claim on the grounds that the long-term disability occurred due to negligence on the part of the worker, or that the accident did not occur during the performance of work. If disability occurs due to illness as a result of exposure to toxic or dangerous substances on the job, the employer might also contest the claim on the grounds that the illness came about due to a different cause.
If your Georgia workers’ compensation claim is disputed, you will need the help of an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation in Atlanta. The attorney at Robbins & Associates, PC, can help you make your case in court to ensure your family is taken care of in spite of your long-term disability.
GEORGIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION QUESTIONS
Sandy Springs attorney Laurie Robbins answers your questions about workers compensation claims. Read the answers below:
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a program instituted by the State of Georgia (and every other state in the U.S.), that covers treatment, benefits and compensation for employees who are injured, become ill, or die while performing their jobs. It is not necessary to prove liability or fault to file for workers’ compensation and, in fact, in Georgia, an employee may not sue an employer for negligence and still be eligible to file for workers’ compensation.
What types of injuries are covered by Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?
Almost any injury incurred while at work may be eligible for coverage under Georgia workers’ compensation law. Long-term conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, or injuries resulting from prolonged exposure to chemicals or pollutants may also be covered.
Do I have to be injured in an accident at work to be covered?
No. There are a number of illnesses that may result from prolonged exposure to irritants, pollutants or chemicals (e.g. headaches, allergies) or from repeated stress due to repetitive motion (carpal tunnel) or excessive stress (back or neck strain). It may be more difficult for you to show that these types of injuries are directly related to your work. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney, like those at Robbins & Associates, PC, can help you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.
Why do I need an attorney for a Workers’ Compensation case under Georgia Law?
It’s not necessary for you to have an attorney, but it can be extremely helpful in preparing your workers’ compensation claim and proving that your injury is job-related. This is especially important when your injury was not caused by an accident, but by long-term exposure to toxicity, pollution or repeated stressors.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM IS DENIED
If you were injured on the job, you have medical bills and lost wages, which may be ongoing because you are still unable to work. You were hoping to get your workers’ compensation checks soon, but instead you got a denial notice. What now?
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you need a lawyer to ensure that you get it right next time.
WHY WAS YOUR CLAIM DENIED?
In Georgia, you have the right to know why your workers’ compensation claim was denied. A rationale for the denial should accompany your denial letter, and this denial letter is the essential starting place for an appeal. Common reasons why claims are denied include:
- Claim not filed in a timely fashion
- No medical treatment or documentation of treatment
- Insufficient documentation of your injury with your employer or authorized doctors
- Doctor improperly diagnosed injury
- Employer claims injury did not happen at work
- Employer claims injury was pre-existing
In most cases, these reasons for denial can be overcome.
GET A LAWYER’S HELP
You may have thought you could file a successful workers’ compensation claim on your own, but if you have been denied it is time to consult with a lawyer. Your employer may have encouraged you not to get a lawyer and may have been helpful, but in the end insurance companies are insurance companies and their profits depend on denying claims, sometimes for very trivial reasons.
A workers’ compensation lawyer knows how to make sure everything is in order for your workers’ compensation claim to be accepted. We can remove all impediments and give an insurance company no excuse to deny your valid claim.
HOW TO CHOOSE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER
Filing for workers’ compensation benefits can be a complicated and confusing process. In order to ensure that you receive the maximum allowable benefits in the timeliest manner, you will need to work with an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer. Otherwise, you run the risk of your claim being unfairly denied.
Here are a few simple guidelines that can help you understand how to choose a workers’ compensation lawyer in Georgia:
PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS ARE BEST
A great place to start is by getting personal recommendations about a lawyer. If you have a family lawyer or one you’ve worked with in the past that you trust, you may ask them for recommendations. If you know anyone who has filed a workers’ compensation case in the past, talk to them about their experience and their lawyer. Personal recommendations can give you a great starting place.
If you are a member of a union or trade organization, talk to members of the organization about a workers’ compensation lawyer they recommend. Make sure you know the type of recommendation you are receiving. In other words, is the lawyer is personally known to the union representative or is there a promotional relationship between the union and the lawyer? Recommendations based on personal experience should be given more weight than recommendations based on a promotional relationship.
RESEARCH ON YOUR OWN
Even a relatively small law firm is likely to have a website. Visit the site, read about the firm and the lawyer, and review all the information they have on workers’ compensation. Look for lawyer that seem to understand the law in Georgia. A lawyer with strong community ties may be more likely to take your case seriously because they have a reputation to protect. Use your research to expand or reduce your list of recommendations.
Even if you received a strong personal recommendation, you should talk to more than one lawyer before making your decision. A workers’ compensation lawyer should offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose in talking to more than one. During the consultation, make sure the lawyer seems genuinely concerned with your case and can answer all your questions. If for some reason you do not feel comfortable with the lawyer after your consultation, keep searching.
WHY WORK WITH ROBBINS & ASSOCIATES, PC
Robbins & Associates, PC, is a well-established Atlanta, Georgia law firm with extensive experience helping workers like you get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. We can help you work with your employer, your employer’s insurance company, and their doctors to get the documentation you need to get your claim approved. If you cannot work with the doctors recommended by your employer, we can help you find alternate doctors that will understand and diagnose your injury. We can also help you dispute statements that your injury is not work related or is pre-existing.
Our attorney has more than 30 years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims. We will deal with your employer’s insurance company for you so that you can start receiving your medical treatments as soon as possible.