Hurt at work? Confused about how to file a workers’ comp claim?
Get answers to your work injury questions from a knowledgeable attorney in Houston County, GA.
310 Margie Dr
Warner Robins, GA 31099
8:30am – 5:30pm (M-F)
Closed Saturday & Sunday
Attorneys available on weekends by appointment
Our Georgia lawyers help seriously injured workers around Warner Robins and Houston County get the benefits they deserve after workplace injuries and illnesses.
If you’ve been hurt on the job, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in 2018 in the private industry alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of those reported cases, 21,500 occurred in the state of Georgia and resulted in days or weeks away from the job, work restrictions, and sometimes even job transfers in order to comply with the injured employee’s physical limits.
Despite these stats, people rarely think it’s ever going to happen to them. But when it does, the pain, stress and frustration that comes with a workplace injury or illness can be difficult to overcome. When you’re injured and can’t work, paying for a doctor’s visit, medications and therapy sessions can seem impossible.
Fortunately, workers’ compensation exists to help injured workers in Warner Robins and throughout Georgia get the financial support they need to make a full recovery.
While this is certainly good news, the downside is that benefits aren’t always so easily awarded. Your employer’s insurance company might decide to dispute or deny your claim for any number of reasons, and they have plenty of resources and lawyers to put up a fight. In such cases, it takes a special kind of work injury attorney on your side to be able to stand up to insurance and employer bullies.
Warner Robins workers’ compensation FAQs
Can I get fired for filing a workers’ comp claim?
Just because you’ve filed for workers’ compensation doesn’t mean your employer has the right to fire you. In fact, firing someone simply because they filed a work injury claim is against the law in Georgia. However, it can be difficult to prove when this happens since Georgia is an at-will employment state and your employer may use the excuse of firing you for other reasons, such as poor work performance.
Can I sue my employer for a workplace injury?
Generally, workers cannot sue their employers because workers’ compensation benefits are provided, which protects employers against personal injury claims. On the flip side, workers’ comp benefits are “no-fault,” meaning injured workers don’t have to prove fault in order to receive compensation.
Are psychological or emotional injuries covered by workers’ compensation?
This varies from state to state. In Georgia, workers only qualify for PTSD or other psychological injuries if there is a clear link between psychological trauma and a physical injury. “Mental-only” injuries are not yet covered by workers’ compensation in Georgia.
How long can I receive workers’ comp benefits?
There is no guarantee as to how many weeks of workers’ compensation benefits you will receive. The maximum number of weeks for temporary total disability (TTD) and permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits is 400 weeks from the date of injury.
Why was my workers’ comp claim denied?
There are many possible reasons why your workers’ comp claim may have been denied. Perhaps your injury was unwitnessed or you didn’t report your injury immediately. Or maybe there is a discrepancy between your accident report and initial medical records, or your initial medical records indicate the presence of illegal drugs in your system. If you filed a claim after you were fired or laid off, or refused to give the insurance company a recorded statement or sign medical authorizations, these are other potential reasons why your claim may be denied. Or maybe there is no reason at all and the insurance company is just seeing if you’ll fight it.
Realize that just because your claim was denied doesn’t mean you’re out of options. In fact, many workers’ comp claims are denied at first. If your claim was denied, it’s time to contact our experienced work injury lawyers to get help and appeal a denial.
How long do I have to file a workers’ comp claim?
In Georgia, injured workers have 1 year to file a workers’ compensation claim, according to the Georgia statute of limitations. The clock starts ticking on the date that the employer was notified of the injury.
What to do after a workplace accident in Warner Robins, GA
- Immediately seek medical attention. First and foremost, see a doctor or go to the emergency room if you were seriously injured. Your health is your number one priority.
- Notify your 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 and let them know what happened as soon as possible. If you wait too long, it could affect the kind of compensation you receive. Even if it’s as minor as a bruise on your leg or a shallow cut across the forehead, it’s important to account for every injury in a workplace accident.
- Consult a workers’ comp attorney. After you’ve obtained medical treatment and notified your employer, it’s time to contact an experienced lawyer near you who specializes in these types of cases. Your attorney can help you with the remaining steps and ensure you receive the maximum payout possible.
- Fill out the proper paperwork. When you’ve been injured on the job, the last thing you want to do is fill out paperwork. But 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. Your lawyer can help you complete the right paperwork and meet important deadlines.
- Follow up with your supervisor. You may have submitted all the paperwork, but make sure your immediate supervisor holds up their end of the process too. Keep copies of everything just in case your boss or their insurance company misplaces a document.
- Stick with the treatment plan. Yes, it can be tedious. Yes, you’ll probably feel like you’ve recovered in half the time that the doctor predicted, but that doesn’t mean you should veer away from the treatment plan. Even though you might feel okay, following the doctor’s orders completely is the best way to make a total recovery. Don’t give the insurance company an excuse to deny your claim.
What is workers’ compensation?
When an employee is injured on the clock or while performing work-related activities, they are entitled to certain no-fault compensation. This includes financial reimbursement for medical expenses, taking off work for a few weeks (even months), and going to physical therapy sessions in order to heal from their injuries.
Georgia defines workers’ compensation as follows:
Workers’ Compensation may provide you with medical benefits, rehabilitation support, and supplemental income if you suffer an injury or fall ill as a result of a compensable, work-related accident. These benefits are provided to help you return to work. In the case of your death, your dependents may also be eligible to claim benefits.
Examples of common types of workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Medical expenses. These include physical therapy sessions, medications, medical devices, and tests required to treat the workplace injury.
- Loss of wages. The treating doctor may recommend taking time off work in order to completely heal from a workplace injury, which means you may be eligible to receive temporary partial disability (TPD) or temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. If you will never be able to return to work, then you might receive permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits or permanent total disability (PTD) benefits, which are calculated based on the seriousness of the injury or illness.
- Vocational training. As part of the recovery process, the injured worker may be required to reduce the tasks they normally perform at work and limit their mobility. When this happens, employers will often transfer employees to a temporary job and offer training in their new position so that they can still have a source of income and heal at the same time.
- Travel expenses. If the treating physician recommends a visit or treatment plan that requires you to travel, you should be reimbursed for a certain number of miles, accommodations, food, and other travel expenses, whether it’s in the same city or a different state.
- Death benefits. In the tragic event that a person dies as a result of a fatal workplace injury or illness, their surviving spouse or children can receive compensation for funeral and burial costs.
Common causes of workplace injuries
- Slip and falls. Trip and fall injuries are regular occurrences both inside and outside the workplace, which makes them one of the most common injuries (after auto accidents). While on the job, these accidents can occur from tripping over an extension cord in the office or slipping on a slick floor in the warehouse.
- Auto accidents. Car and truck crashes were responsible for 49 percent of Georgia’s workplace fatalities in 2017. Private transportation and warehouse jobs regularly have the highest number of accidents.
- Overexertion. Overexertion 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 products. However, seamstresses and office workers can also strain themselves while hunching over a sewing machine or a keyboard.
- Loud noises. Thousands of workers experience work-related hearing loss every year, and millions more are exposed to excessive noise levels that cause hearing loss.
- Exposure to toxic substances. Many workers suffer from exposure to toxic chemicals and substances, which leads to multiple illnesses, disabilities and long-term negative effects.
- Workplace violence. An angry coworker, customer or boss can create a dangerous work environment, resulting in serious injuries.
Contact a skilled work injury lawyer in Houston County, Georgia
If you or a loved one have suffered from a workplace injury or illness, then know that you have a right to seek legal counsel and get the most compensation you deserve. Don’t rely on your employer to look out for your best interests and file all the necessary paperwork. And don’t talk to insurers until you’ve first talked with one of our lawyers.
If you decide to seek legal advice about applying for workers’ compensation benefits, we are here to help. The dedicated attorneys at Westmoreland Law have over 50 years of experience on our side to help you win your case. With offices located in Warner Robins, Macon and Albany, we serve clients across the state of Georgia.