Notify your employer that you have been injured
Under Georgia law, you are required to give notice to your employer that you have been injured within 30 days of your injury. The longer that you wait to report an injury may cause your employer to doubt if the injury occurred at work. When you do report your injury, you should give notice to your supervisor. You should also request that an accident report is completed so there is written confirmation that you gave notice.
Get medical treatment from a doctor on your employer’s panel of physicians
Your employer is responsible for providing medical treatment for your injury when you are injured at work. However, your employer is responsible for paying for medical treatment with certain doctors. Employers are required by law to have a list of Workers’ Compensation doctors. Your employer probably has a panel of physicians posted in your breakroom or where you clock in for your shift. You can choose a doctor off that list and notify your employer that you want to seek medical treatment from that doctor.
Ask the doctor address your ability to work
The doctor that you choose to treat your work injury should address your work status at each appointment. The doctor should provide you with a note that you can take to your employer that indicates that you are totally disabled from work, able to work with restrictions, or able to work without any restrictions. It is important to make sure that the doctor provides you with the proper restrictions because you do not want to suffer additional injury upon returning to work if your employer makes a position available to you.
If you unable to work it could take 21 days to receive disability benefits
If you are disabled from work as a result of your injury, the Workers’ Compensation law in Georgia provides your employer and their Workers’ Compensation insurance company with 21 days from the date of your disability to either pay you benefits or deny your claim. So, you need to be prepared for a short time without income even if your employer accepts your claim. Also, if you are out of work for less than 7 days, you do not receive any disability benefits for that time out of work because Georgia has a 7 day “waiting period” for disability benefits.
Review your paperwork to make sure you are receiving the right benefits
The amount that you are entitled to receive weekly while you are out of work depends on the amount you made before your injury. Generally, you receive two-thirds of your average wage before taxes for the thirteen weeks before you were injured. There is a maximum weekly benefit of $675 per week in Georgia.
When you begin receiving benefits, the Workers’ Compensation insurance company should file a form stating the amount of benefits that you are being paid weekly. They should also file a form called a wage statement that will list the amount you made each week for the thirteen weeks before your injury. This will show how they calculated your average weekly wage. Review this information and compare it to your paystubs to make sure you are paid the correct amount of disability benefits. Make sure they include any bonuses, tips, per diem, or other amount that you were paid by your employer.
Talk to an attorney
If employers and their insurance companies always did what the law requires them to do, the need for legal representation would be rare. Unfortunately, employers and insurance companies seldom do what they are required to do under Georgia law. Therefore, it is usually a wise decision to speak with an attorney who specializes in Georgia Workers’ Compensation cases.
If you have been injured on the job and have questions, call me for a free consultation.