Injured on the Job? Follow These Steps for Compensation
If you work in the construction or manufacturing industries, or any field involving repetitive lifting or heavy machinery, you could be at risk for suffering a work-related accident and injury.
Employees who sustain injuries on the job in Georgia should be eligible to receive medical coverage and other benefits through the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Workers injured on the job are entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost pay and disability benefits, regardless of fault in the accident, as part of Georgia’s workers’ compensation insurance program.
Workplace injuries in the United States claimed the lives of 4,585 people in 2013, and more than three million non-fatal injuries and illnesses were reported as well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some 917,100 of those non-fatal injuries involved days away from work for the employee, and the median number of days out was eight.
Sprains, strains and tears were involved in 327,060 cases, and 170,450 involved back injuries. Another 229,190 dealt with falls, slips and trips, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
These types of workplace accidents frequently leave workers with injuries that affect your ability to return to work for an extended period of time, from a few weeks to many months. During that time, you’ll need income to replace your usual wages.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can help you make ends meet while you are recovering from an accident and unable to work.
Third Party Claims
If your accident was caused by a subcontractor that created hazardous conditions on a construction work site or at the plant where you work, you could be eligible to file a third-party claim. As part of the workers’ compensation insurance program, legal action typically cannot be taken against an injured worker’s own employer. However, an injured worker can bring a claim against another company that working on the same worksite and cause an injury.
Here is an example of a third party claim:
- You are a construction worker who is injured at a jobsite by a piece of heavy equipment operated by another subcontractor on the site. You may be entitled to bring a third party claim against the subcontractor for negligence, in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits through your own company.
Hiring a law firm that handles work-site injuries and will review all your legal options is an important part of making sure you are fully compensated.
Steps to Take After Accidents
Georgia’s rules dealing with work-site injuries are complex and difficult to understand for workers who aren’t accustomed to dealing with the ins and outs of workers’ comp law on a daily basis.
In order to receive workers’ compensation, you should follow these steps.
- File a report: Immediately report a work-related accident by notifying the employer or an agent or supervisor with the company, and follow up in writing. The employee could lose the right to compensation by failing to file an accident report within 30 days, according to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Employers are to supply forms for reporting accidents, in addition to information about workers’ compensation free of charge. Make sure you ask for the proper form or have a family member or representative request the form.
- Seek medical treatment: Go see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident to receive treatment and to document the injury. Medical records are a necessity in obtaining workers’ compensation payments. See a physician even if you think you’re uninjured because physical problems could crop up later from a fall or sprain or blow to the head.
- Detail your accident and injury: Provide your physician with every aspect of your work-related accident, including whether a pre-existing condition was a factor. You could be eligible for workers’ compensation even if you had a condition that affected the incident.
- Call a lawyer experienced with workers’ compensation rules: Making sure your claim is handled properly requires an attorney who is up to date on Georgia’s workers’ compensation claims and will be able to guide you through the legal process, meeting all deadlines and filing all the necessary paperwork to ensure you receive the payment you deserve under state law. As part of our analysis of the accident, we will determine whether anyone else in potentially liable for the accident.
- Follow doctor’s orders: You may be required to see a company-selected physician, who orders medications, tests or treatments, and a reduced work schedule. Following the doctor’s orders is extremely important as part of the claims process. If you disagree with the physician’s orders, you could ask for a second opinion. Once the treatment plan is set, you should abide by it, including taking any medication prescribed and keeping all appointments.
Benefits Available for Injuries
Injured workers are eligible to receive fully paid medical care. In addition, depending on your injury, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits provided by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Workers who will have a lasting disability may qualify for permanent partial or full disability benefits.
The state has a specific benefits schedule for the loss of use of certain parts of the body, including arms, legs, feet and eyes, in addition to disfigurement and disability of the entire body.
Death benefits are also covered by the state board, including benefits to cover the cost of burials and for dependents to receive payments.
If you are involved in a work-related accident, don’t let your injury get you down. Taking a few steps such as making sure your employer knows about your injury by word of mouth and by filling out the proper form could be the key to making sure you receive the payments you deserve to keep your family fed and your bills paid while you recover.
Contacting an Atlanta law firm that handles work related injuries is another crucial part of the puzzle. You need someone who will look out for your best interests and help you obtain the full compensation you deserve and need to care for yourself and your family.