If you get injured at work in Georgia, you’ll need to navigate the complex workers’ compensation system. One requirement is the 7-day waiting period before you can collect wage replacement benefits. This rule often confuses injured workers. Have you ever wondered, “What Does a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Do?“ A knowledgeable workers comp attorney in Macon, GA can help demystify the waiting period and ensure you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to.
What is the Waiting Period?
Georgia’s workers’ comp has a 7-day waiting period before injured employees can receive wage loss benefits for missed work. This means you won’t get paid for the first 7 days you are out of work due to a workplace injury.
The waiting period only applies to wage benefits, not medical care. Your medical treatment and bills related to the work injury should be covered from the date of accident without any delay.
The Purpose of the Rule
This waiting period aims to prevent claims for minor injuries involving little lost time. It ensures workers’ comp wage benefits are paid out for truly meaningful periods of work absence. If you miss just a couple days or less than a week, the waiting period eliminates wage replacement.
When Do the 7 Days Start?
The clock starts ticking on the first full weekday you miss after the injury occurs. For example, if you get hurt on Monday and are out Tuesday through Friday, your first waiting period day would be Wednesday. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays do not count toward the 7 days.
Do You Get Paid for the Waiting Period?
Not initially. You must go 7 days with no income compensation from workers’ comp when you first have an approved claim. But if you remain out long enough, you can eventually recoup the lost wages for the waiting period.
After you qualify and begin collecting ongoing wage benefits, you can receive retroactive payment to cover the first 7 days. However, this retro payment only happens if your work absence exceeds 21 days total. If you return sooner than 3 weeks, you will not receive wage benefits for the waiting period.
“How are Workers Comp Settlements Calculated in Georgia?“ That’s a separate but equally crucial consideration, which can impact the overall compensation you receive.
Ongoing Eligibility for Benefits
Once you meet the initial waiting period when first claiming Georgia workers’ comp, you won’t need to repeat it for other periods of work loss related to the same injury. The 7-day rule applies just once per workplace accident.
However, if you have a separate, new workplace injury later on, you would need to go through another waiting period before collecting wage benefits for the new claim.
Seeking Legal Guidance
Georgia’s 7-day waiting period can be confusing, especially when you’re dealing with a work injury. An experienced workers compensation lawyer in Macon, GA can explain your rights and ensure you receive all the workers’ comp benefits allowed. Don’t leave money on the table – consult a lawyer to collect full compensation for your lost income, including retro pay for the waiting period.
The waiting period imposes a brief delay before your wage benefits start. But a skilled attorney can help overcome this barrier and assist you in recovering income from the first week of lost work due to your injury. Don’t let the 7-day rule prevent you from getting the financial support you need.