If you sustain an injury on the job, you should be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. We present a brief outline of the benefits and the claims process to give you a general idea of what to expect.
While some workers’ comp cases are simple and straightforward, others may involve complicated legal and medical issues. An attorney who handles work injury cases can address your specific situation.
Basic requirements to file for workers’ comp
To file a workers’ compensation claim, the injury or illness must be connected to your employment. This means the injuries happened on work premises or in the course of performing your work duties off-site. For example, a delivery driver who is injured in a traffic accident while making a delivery may still be eligible.
You may qualify for benefits even if the accident happened because of your own oversight. However, workers who cause their own injury through willful misconduct such as intoxication or deliberate misuse of equipment may see their claims denied.
Benefits offered under workers’ compensation
The main benefits under Georgia workers’ compensation include:
- Coverage of medical treatment stemming from the injury
- Wage benefits if you are off the job for 7 days or more
- Disability benefits if you have a permanent injury or cannot return to work
- Death benefits for family members of a worker who died
Workers’ comp vs. personal injury
Workers’ comp does not compensate for other losses, such as pain and suffering, that are recoverable under a personal injury lawsuit. While workers’ compensation may offer restricted benefits compared to the potential recovery from a personal injury case, it can be far easier to obtain them, as you do not have to prove the employer acted negligently or even caused your accident.
You cannot sue your employer or co-workers for personal injury. You may, however, pursue a lawsuit against an involved third party. For instance, the delivery driver in the example earlier can file a workers’ comp claim and also sue the negligent driver who caused the accident.
What you need to do
There are some deadlines for filing the required documents in a workers’ comp case. You will need to notify your supervisor as soon as possible; your employer may provide you with a form for this purpose. Generally, you must report the accident or seek medical treatment within 30 days or risk forfeiting your rights.
You should also get medical attention promptly. Throughout your case, it is important for you to follow your doctor’s instructions and keep all of your appointments. Most attorneys who handle work injury cases will provide a free consultation. Even if you do not hire a lawyer at the time of your injury, you may need one later if your claim is denied or your benefits are terminated.