No one likes to think about the prospect of becoming sick or injured as a result of their job, but it’s a hard truth that impacted nearly 3.5 million workers in 2021, according to the AFL-CIO. That’s why Workers’ Compensation exists. So, what is Workers’ Compensation? It’s a government-mandated insurance program that protects workers by requiring employers to provide wage replacement and medical benefits in the event of illness or injury on the job. To maximize the advantages of Workers' Compensation Insurance, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the process and effectively navigate it to ensure you receive the rightful benefits you are entitled to. At The Edmonson Law Firm in Buford, GA, Workers’ Compensation Insurance is listed among our specialties, so we’ve endeavored to break it down into five easy-to-navigate tips.
Understand Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities For Workers' Compensation Claims
Every Georgia business that employs three or more employees – whether full or part-time – is required to provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance. But, just as your employer has its own responsibilities, you do, too, to collect the benefits you are due. We will go into greater detail on some of those responsibilities in the tips to follow, but for one of the best ways to better understand your Workers’ Compensation rights and responsibilities, be sure to bookmark the State Board of Workers’ Compensation website. Not only does it outline Georgia Workers’ Compensation laws and provide you with access to the different divisions, offices, and resources, but it also provides a detailed and informative Frequently Asked Questions page that’s well worth the read.
Keep Detailed Records of All Medical Treatment and Expenses
From the moment you are injured or learn that your illness may be work-related, it’s imperative that you keep detailed records. Start a file folder that includes copies of every bill, treatment, and diagnosis you receive due to your illness or injury. In addition, be sure to include a calendar of time spent in the hospital, at doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and commuting to those appointments. This often represents the time you would have otherwise spent working and may be compensable.
Communicate Effectively with Your Employer and the Workers’ Compensation Board
If you become injured on the job or ill as a result of your job, you should report this to your employer immediately. While you can issue this report verbally, it’s wise to back it up with a written statement to start and maintain a paper trail. If you don’t report your illness or injury within 30 days of its occurrence, you run the risk of losing your benefits altogether. To further protect your rights, you should file a Form WC-14 with the State Board of Worker’s Compensation within one year of your accident or illness – although we recommend doing this right away. You can obtain a Form WC-14 at the SBWC website (http://www.sbwc.georgia.gov/) or by calling (404) 656-3818. Again, keep detailed records of all your communications with your employer and the State Board, including with whom you spoke and when.
Be Patient and Persistent in Pursuing Your Workers' Compensation Claim
While detailed records of medical treatments, medical expenses, and communications with your employer and Workers’ Compensation Board are highly recommended, the most essential tools in your arsenal during the pursuit of the benefits you are due are patience and persistence. It can be a long, drawn-out process and may involve an initial denial of your claim. However, if denied, all hope is not lost. You can request a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation to review your claim and the facts surrounding your illness or injury. This is when that file will come in handy for clearly outlining the steps you have taken since your unfortunate illness or injury on the job.
Partner with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Buford, GA
Many Workers’ Compensation claims go smoothly, with benefits paid out fairly to cover lost wages, medical bills, and more. Unfortunately, some cases can be complex and daunting – requiring the aid of an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney to help you negotiate with your employer, navigate the issuance of your claim, and, if needed, represent you during your hearing following an initial denial of your claim. If you are seeking a skilled attorney in Georgia that serves clients in Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Dawson, Elbert, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Oconee, Rabun, Townes, Union, Walton, and White Counties, call on The Edmonson Law Firm. Not only do we offer a wealth of experience and positive outcomes in Workers’ Compensation cases, but we also provide a FREE CASE ANALYSIS. Our Workers’ Comp Georgia legal team can examine the validity of your claim and give you an honest assessment of your case. To learn more about The Edmonson Law Firm and our capabilities, please visit