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Updated May 2021

Georgia Workers Compensation Law – How to Make Use of Workman’s Comp GA

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If you work in Georgia for a company with more than 3 employees (including part-time and seasonal workers), you are covered by the Georgia workers compensation laws.

So, if it’s the law, why do you need a workers compensation lawyer?

We are approached by people who have been injured in the workplace but they are not sure how to make a claim. Other times they wonder if their injury is bad enough or they think that their company is ‘handling it’ because they’re getting support for lost wages. The reason to get a workers comp lawyer is because you’ll also get compensation for more than your lost wages and medical bills.

A good attorney will be able to get you FAR more than you would without one.

They understand the coverage and how much your claim is actually worth when the insurance company is doing everything possible to not pay you a big settlement.

So, if your injury affects your ability to do your job, chances are you’re covered by workers compensation.

James Murphy is our Atlanta workers compensation lawyer. He’s been practicing in Georgia for decades and is highly qualified so he’ll work hard to get you a good outcome from your claim.

Look at workers’ compensation coverage like you would any other insurance policy. You don’t need to feel shy about making a claim, just like you would claim after a car accident. The payments you receive after a workplace injury will:

  1. Cover the full costs of your medical treatment with an authorized doctor.
  2. Help you cover your bills by paying 2/3rds of your usual weekly wage (up to a maximum limit) for up to 400 weeks if you can’t return to work.
  3. If your injury means you have to switch to a lower-paid job, workers comp lawyer Atlanta will appeal to workman’s comp to top up your wages for 350 weeks.
  4. Plus, you can qualify for compensation for ‘damages’ for things like loss of mobility, pain and suffering and inability to do the things you once could.

You are covered from your VERY first day at work. Georgia law says that every employee who works within the state is eligible, even if the employer’s main office is located somewhere else. You can find out if your company is registered correctly by visiting the verification page on Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation website.

Georgia Workers Compensation FAQs

There are two important time limits to keep in mind when it comes to being injured on the job. 

The first is the time limit for reporting an accident to your employer, which is 30 days. It is important to clarify in your report that the accident and any injuries occurred while working. Having the report in writing can also be useful as evidence. Failing to report the accident within 30 days could lead to losing your benefits, so it’s important to report any accidents you have while on the job as soon as possible.

The second time limit is the Statute of Limitations on Workers’ Compensation itself, which is one year from the time of your injury. This time limit is for filing your claim and not for resolving your case.

The exact amount of benefits from Workers’ Compensation is measured by calculating an average weekly wage from the 16 weeks leading up to the accident. The benefits are also changed by how severe your injuries are, as noted below.

  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): Two thirds (⅔) of the difference between your previous weekly wage and your current average weekly wage, to a limit determined by the state by Georgia Code § 34-9-262
  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD): Two thirds (⅔) of the previous weekly wage, to a limit determined by the state by Georgia Code § 34-9-261
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD):  Two thirds (⅔) of the previous weekly wage, to a limit determined by the state by Georgia Code § 34-9-263

Benefits are calculated starting after the 8th day that you were unable to work unless your injuries were severe enough to last for more than 21 days, where they begin from day 1.

Once you have an approved Workers’ Compensation claim, you shouldn’t see any medical bills related to your injury, as long as you’re seeing one of your approved Workers’ Compensation doctors. Your employer is obligated to provide a list of at least six approved doctors according to Workers’ Compensation laws.

 While you will have to choose between those doctors and can’t simply use your ordinary doctor for treatment to be covered under Workers’ Compensation, Worker’s Compensation will be responsible for making sure those medical bills are paid. If you mistakenly receive medical bills from a Workers’ Compensation doctor, take them to your Workers’ Compensation lawyer, who can help you get them properly handled.

Your medical expenses related to your injury are covered completely by Workers’ Compensation for up to 400 weeks for Temporary Total Disability (TTD).  

Temporary Partial Disability covers Medical expenses for up to 350 weeks, or until your doctor has decided that you’ve recovered as much as you can, which is known as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).

While Workers’ Compensation will cover your medical bills until you’ve reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), wage replacement benefits from Workers’ Compensation follow slightly different rules. They begin eight days after your claim at the basic level unless your recovery takes more than 21 days, at which point they begin immediately.

These benefits will also typically end when your doctor signs off for you to return to work at full capacity. In the case of being returned to work at partial capacity, Workers’ Compensation will still make up the difference between your current reduced wages and your previous wage. More specifically:

  • Temporary Injuries: For up to 350 weeks, or until your doctor approves you to return to work at full capacity.
  • Permanent Injuries: For up to 400 weeks, depending on the severity of your injuries. For example, a lost arm will provide benefits for longer than a partially damaged hand.

A skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer will be able to help you properly determine the full extent of your damages and fight to make sure your rights are protected while you focus on your recovery.

All companies in Georgia with three or more employees must have Workers’ Compensation insurance for their employees. As long as you meet the following basic requirements, you should have coverage for Workers’ Compensation.

  • Company with three (3) or more employees
  • Injured while performing a task that arose from your employment
  • Injury reported to your employer within thirty (30) days of the accident
  • Workers’ Compensation claim filed within a year of the accident

If the above points are true and your employer claims that Workers’ Compensation does not cover you, reach out to a lawyer who specializes in Workers’ Compensation cases, who may be able to help you investigate your options.

Being injured can be stressful enough without having to worry about being watched. The truth is that it is legal for insurance companies to watch you after you’ve placed a Workers’ Compensation claim. They might try to use this to prove that your injuries were not as severe as they are, so there are a few important things to keep in mind.

  • Don’t perform strenuous activities outside, even briefly
  • Insurance companies can check publicly available social media, too, so be careful what you post.
  • Insurance companies may make recordings of you doing something once as proof that you can do it, even if your injuries would prevent you from performing that activity for an extended period.

As you cannot control other people’s behavior, including your insurance company, it is important to put as much of your focus during your recovery period on recovering after your injury. Even if you think you can just do something for a little while, those activities could unknowingly worsen your injuries and could also be used against you by your insurance company.

As a short answer, no, your Workers Compensation benefits are not taxed. You will not have to pay taxes on Workers’ Compensation whether you receive your Workers’ Compensation benefits as a single bundled settlement or in the form of weekly benefits.

When calculating your benefits for Workers’ Compensation, your previous wages are adjusted to 66% to reach a two-thirds result (⅔). This calculation determines how much of your wages would have been reduced by tax ordinarily.

Your benefits are still taken into account when dealing with child support or bankruptcy. If you are unsure how your Workers’ Compensation will interact with either child support or bankruptcy, reach out for a consultation with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer, who can help you understand your situation’s specific details.

The State Board of Worker’s Compensation will provide a Form WC-14 for you to file a claim. You can reach them in the following ways:

  • Through their website at https://sbwc.georgia.gov/
  • By calling  (404) 656-3818 if you live in the Metro Atlanta area
  • By calling 1-800-533-0682 if you live outside the Metro Atlanta area
  • Or by writing to them at: State Board of Workers’ Compensation, 270 Peachtree Street, NW Atlanta, GA 30303-1299

After you have filed your claim, it will either be approved, and your benefits will begin, or you will have a hearing where a judge will hear your claim and determine what benefits you are entitled to.

Part-time workers are covered by Workers’ Compensation as long as they are regular employees. If you are working part-time regularly, you are still a regular employee. For example, if you only worked for a few days each week, such as on weekends, or for a limited number of hours per day, but you did so consistently, you would be a regular part-time employee.

 Workers’ Compensation also does not set time-frames on employment. Workers’ Compensation also covers seasonal or temporary employees. If you are a temporary employee, it is important to know who your real employer is. For example, if you received work through a temp agency, that agency would be your actual employer and would be responsible if you were injured while on the job.

Mediation is an arrangement between you, a representative from your insurance, and an independent third party (the mediator). It is a good idea to have your lawyer present.

Mediations are about meeting each party’s needs. Mediation is not about determining who is at fault. You don’t have to reach a conclusion during mediations, though people often do. Everyone involved in mediation should participate in good faith. Mediations are not recorded, and the only details released are a form explaining who participated, if you reached an agreement during mediation, and the details of that agreement.

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The first thing you must do is to report your workplace injury to your employer. If you do not report the accident within 30 days then Georgia laws state that you will not be eligible for workers compensation.

Your employer’s workman’s compensation covers the cost of all your medical treatment but you must only go to an authorized doctor.

Your employer must offer you a panel of at least 6 doctors to choose from under Georgia workers compensation laws. Alternatively, your employer can provide you with details of a Workers’ Compensation Managed Care Organization (WC/MCO) certified by the Board which your employer has contracted with to provide medical services.

It is impossible to give a simple answer to this question but you might like to know some of the things that the insurance company will look at:

  1. What are your total temporary disability benefits?
  2. Has a doctor given you an impairment rating?
  3. Have you had a functional capacity evaluation?
  4. Is your case potentially catastrophic?

It’s important to remember that every workers’ case is unique. So, beware of an attorney that puts an actual price on your case before they know all the facts. An experienced attorney knows that a case’s worth is almost impossible to tell until all factors are known.

Georgia is considered an “at-will” state: an employer can fire you for any reason. However, in terms of your claim status, this could actually be a benefit. Let’s explain…

One tactic the insurance company uses is to return you to work as soon as possible, despite your injury. If you return to work under “light duty” status, your employer may create a job for you that fits under the light-duty description.

You generally have a specific number of days to try out the light-duty work. If you can’t perform the light-duty job and come out of work during the specified number of days, your insurance adjuster may be required to reinstate your weekly check benefits – even if you get terminated.

However, if the physician returns you to work under “full duty” with no restrictions, and you get terminated, workers’ compensation may not be liable for sending you a weekly check.

Hiring an attorney may seem like a big step, especially if you’ve never needed one before. How do you know when you need one? Well, if your injury is minor, you may not need an attorney at all. However, if your injury isn’t something you’ll just bounce back from, then you should consider getting free legal advice from an experienced attorney.

Yes, it’s possible that if you file a compensation claim, your employer might put you under surveillance. To learn more about your rights, get our FREE book “The Ultimate Guide to Georgia Workers’ Compensation” sent to your email right away!

If you’re suddenly not able to work, there is a lot of stress on how to pay bills and take care of your family.  That’s what workers’ compensation was designed to help with. It’s important to know what types of monetary and medical benefits you may qualify for due to your injury.

If you are unsure about the questions above or think you may need help to make a claim after an injury at work, Murphy Law Firm provides a free consultation.


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