If you or a loved one sustains a work-related injury, you need the advice of an attorney to make sense of your available options. Generally, you have two potential ways to recover compensation for your injury. First, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation. Second, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation. There are essential differences, limitations, and restrictions between the two options. This article will discuss both options available to you.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
You may think of workers’ compensation as an insurance program to protect employees injured while at work. Work-related injuries are common throughout the country, and Georgia is no exception. In 2020, the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation processed 31,500 claims. Paid benefits for the year exceeded 706 million dollars. The Georgia Workers’ Compensation mandatory insurance provisions exist to protect you while at work.
As an employee, coverage begins the moment you report to work on the first day. Under Georgia law, every company with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. You can verify your employer’s insurance coverage online. If your employer does not appear to maintain insurance, you can verify with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation and report your employer to the board.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers you for all injuries sustained at work. This coverage includes compensating the injured employee with the costs of medical, dental, and rehabilitation expenses. In addition, you are entitled to recover two-thirds of your lost wages, up to $675.00 a week. In the event of catastrophic injury resulting in death, workers’ compensation provides benefits to your dependents.
Claims made under the workers’ compensation program do not require any finding of fault. It does not matter whether your injury resulted from the fault of a coworker, employer, or your actions. The insurance applies if you were injured at work, regardless of how that injury occurred.
You should report your injuries to your supervisor as soon as is practical. If you wait more than 30 days to report your injury, you may lose the workers’ compensation program benefits. After you report your injury, your employer is required to have information posted directing you to medical professionals. The workers’ compensation insurance program will cover the costs of your doctor’s visit.
If you are denied benefits or receive benefits that you believe are inadequate, you can file a claim with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. The board will set a hearing on your claim. You are allowed to be represented by an attorney at the hearing. Your employer will likely have their attorney to represent their interests. You are well-advised to attend the hearing with an experienced Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney.
What Is A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Unlike a workers’ compensation insurance claim, a personal injury case is a lawsuit filed in court. In most cases involving injuries sustained at work, you are required to pursue a workers’ compensation claim and prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit. There is, however, one significant exception worth noting. If you are injured at work by the actions of a person that is neither a coworker nor your employer, then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
There are two critical differences between a personal injury case and a workers’ compensation case. First, you will have to prove who was at fault for your injury. Second, in a personal injury case, you can ask the court to include additional compensation. Specifically, you can ask for compensation for your pain and suffering and punitive damages. These other grounds for compensation are significant and are unavailable in a workers’ compensation claim.
Monetary awards for your pain and suffering compensate you for the losses you experience that do not have a direct and obvious dollar amount. As the name suggests, they provide compensation for chronic pain resulting from the injury. This includes both physical and emotional pain. It will cover broken bones and any resulting depression, mental trauma, or anxiety that arises because of your injury.
Punitive damages, sometimes called exemplary damages, are not awarded to compensate you for any particular injury but rather to punish the responsible party for engaging in egregious conduct. Punitive damages are not available in all cases.
Contacting A Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Makes Sense
If you or a loved one suffered an injury at work, reach out to an experienced Georgia lawyer for a free consultation. A work-related injury can place a tremendous amount of stress on you. You are injured. You’re dealing with unexpected medical bills and lost wages. You are likely learning about the workers’ compensation insurance program for the first time. Compounding matters, All these stressors are occurring at the same time. It is essential to take a minute, a breath, and understand your rights and options.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you were injured at work, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But it is important to remember that these claims can be complex. In Georgia and across the country, workers’ compensation claims get denied all the time. You do not want your claim to get denied. For this reason, you should discuss your situation with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney.
Dozier Law’s Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help you, just as we have done for many injured workers in the state. We’ll help you understand your options and how to go about the claims process. Reach out to Dozier Law at (888) 239-2129 or contact us online for a free consultation with our workers’ compensation attorneys.