Did you or a loved one suffer a work-related injury?
Get free legal advice from a top-rated Albany workers’ comp attorney near you.
2410 Westgate Dr, Suite 101
Albany, GA 31707
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Georgia workers’ comp lawyers helping injured workers near Albany for over 50 years
Have you suffered from an injury in a workplace accident or an illness due to your occupation? You’re not alone. If the last 50 years of representing injured Georgians has taught us anything, it’s that you can always count on life to throw curve balls when you least expect it. In Georgia alone, there were a reported 78,200 cases of nonfatal workplace injuries in 2017 (2,811,500 cases nationally), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over 21,000 of those cases resulted in days away from work, job restrictions, and sometimes even job transfers in order to restore employees to total health and fitness.
Despite the statistics, no one ever thinks it’s going to happen to them. So when it does, the pain and frustration that comes with it are understandable. When you’re injured and can’t work, it may be difficult to pay your bills and provide for your family.
Fortunately, Georgia has a system in place to help injured workers receive compensation from their employer if they’re out of work due to an injury or illness that occurred while they were on the clock. This system is called workers’ compensation.At the law offices of Westmoreland, Patterson, Mosely, and Hinson, our workers’ compensation lawyers have over 200 years of combined experience helping injured workers receive the benefits they deserve for medical bills, lost wages, disability and other damages. Let us help you recover.
What is workers’ compensation?
Most employers in the state of Georgia with three or more full time, part time or seasonal employees are required, by law (O.C.G.A. 34-9-81.1), to offer workers’ compensation to their employees. This means when a worker is injured while performing a task in the work environment, even if an injury occurs on the first day on the job, they are entitled to a certain amount of compensation in order to help alleviate some of the immediate medical expenses, time off work, and physical therapy sessions that often follow the injury.
Most dangerous jobs in Albany, GA
The more dangerous the job, the more employees come to appreciate workers’ compensation. Here are a few common professions in Georgia that result in higher rates of work-related injury, illness and fatality:
- Construction is often the first job that comes to mind when people discuss the most dangerous industries to work in. Accidents such as slip and falls, falling objects, poorly constructed scaffolding, and lack of proper protection and safety equipment often proves hazardous and sometimes fatal for construction workers in and around Albany.
- Agriculture is another dangerous profession that is common in the Albany area. Some of the most common dangers include slip and falls, repetitive stress injuries, and heavy lifting — in addition to the possibility of unexpected behaviors on the part of the animals. Cattle ranching, poultry production, hog farming, and other agricultural jobs come with inherent hazards no matter where they’re located.
- First responders, such as policemen, firefighters and EMTs, are also at the top of the list of most dangerous professions for obvious reasons. Putting out fires, driving quickly to emergency scenes and being shot are all part of the job description for first responders. The important, but dangerous service of these brave men and women cannot be overstated.
- Truck driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. An estimated 20-50 million people are injured or disabled in automobile accidents each year. Of those numbers, 475,000 were fatal truck accidents.
- Iron and steel workers work in close proximity to high temperatures, heavy metals, and hazardous machinery. No matter how much training and safety equipment employees have, there’s always the possibility that a machine will break down or someone will make a mistake, resulting in a serious injury.
- Roofers are susceptible to the elements, work with dangerous equipment, and also run the risk of falling. For this reason, roofing is considered one of the most dangerous professions in Georgia, including here in Albany.
- Nurses and healthcare workers have difficult jobs that require them to work long shifts while taking care of those who are injured or ill. But sometimes we forget that they’re human too, and therefore just as prone to accidents and injuries as anyone else.
Common workplace injuries
- Auto accidents were responsible for approximately 49% of Georgia’s workplace fatalities in 2017. Private transportation and warehouse jobs accumulated the most of these accidents, with truck accidents not far behind.
- Slips, trips and falls happen every day, which makes them one of the most common workplace injuries (after auto accidents). These can occur simply from tripping over an extension cord in the office or slipping on a slick floor in the warehouse. Construction falls tend to be the most serious, often resulting in death.
- Overexertion, such as muscle strains, accounted for over 30 percent of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2016. These injuries are most common in warehouses where workers are constantly lifting and hauling heavy product. Seamstresses and office workers can strain themselves as well, though, while hunching over a sewing machine or a keyboard.
- Hearing loss is a major problem in the American workforce, particularly in the manufacturing and industrial sectors. More than 20,000 workers experience hearing loss every year, and an estimated 30 million are exposed to noise levels that cause loss of hearing, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
- Chemical exposure is another common danger in certain industries. Approximately 4.3 percent of all occupations suffer from exposure to toxic chemicals and substances. This can lead to chronic illness, disability, and other long-term negative health effects.
- Workplace violence is only slightly less common than exposure to toxic substances, and it can happen in any work environment.
Benefits for injured workers in Georgia
If you’re hurt on the job in Albany, you may qualify for the following benefits under Georgia workers’ compensation law:
- Medical expenses to cover the costs of any medicine, treatment, surgeries and physical therapy related to your injury.
- Loss of wages to reimburse you for any paid time lost due to a long-term injury or permanent damage.
- Vocational retraining to compensate you should you need to be moved to a different job position based on work restrictions.
- Mileage reimbursement to and from the doctor’s office and physical therapy sessions are also typically included under workers’ compensation, which is a small—albeit much needed—benefit.
Note that workers’ compensation does NOT reimburse injured workers in Georgia for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or other non-economic injuries. Compensation for these damages are only available through the personal injury legal system, and injured workers cannot sue their employer if they qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, in most cases.
Georgia statute of limitations for work injury claims
The Georgia statute of limitations dictates how long one has to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Generally, the deadline to file a claim for workers’ compensation in Georgia expires after 1 year from the date that the employer was notified of the injury, whether it resulted in permanent disability or death.
What to do if you’re hurt on the job in Albany, GA
- Notify your immediate supervisor. As soon as you’ve assessed the damage and made sure you’re not in immediate danger or severe pain, find your immediate supervisor (manager) and let them know what happened as soon as possible. If you wait, it could affect the kind of compensation you receive.
- Report all injuries. Even if an injury seems minor, such as a bruise on your leg or a shallow cut across your forehead, it’s important to account for every single injury in a workplace accident. If you’ve been hurt at the same job or in a previous workplace, make sure to report those too.
- Provide proper documentation. When you’ve been injured on the job, you’ll more than likely need to fill out some paperwork. While it may be a hassle, it’s necessary in order to have a proper account of what happened and how you’re being treated in order to receive the full benefits that you deserve.
- Follow up with your boss. You may have filled out all the paperwork, but make sure your immediate supervisor follows through by submitting your claim to their insurer. Keep copies of everything for your own personal files, just in case your boss misplaces a document or they falsely claim you never submitted the paperwork.
- Follow the treatment plan. Yes, it can be tedious. Yes, you’ll probably feel like you’ve recovered in half the time the doctor tells you. Nevertheless, there’s no good reason to ignore the treatment plan. Even though you might feel ready to go back to work sooner rather than later, following the doctor’s orders is the best way to make a total recovery.
Contact an experienced Albany, GA workers’ compensation lawyer
At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson, we have represented injured workers for over 50 years with success all across the state. We offer free consultations at all of our locations in Macon, Albany, and Warner Robins. If you or a loved one have suffered from a workplace injury, you have the right to seek legal counsel and get the most compensation you deserve. Contact our offices to schedule your free consultation today.