Understanding Workers' Compensation Benefits
When involved in a workplace accident or suffering from an occupational illness due to your work environment, it's natural to have concerns and questions. Here at ELF Legal, we have been addressing these concerns for workers' compensation clients for nearly a decade.
A common and pressing question we often encounter is, “How will I provide for my family as I recover?” Understanding how workers' compensation benefits work and their duration is crucial, and we're here to guide you through this process.
Workers' compensation benefits in Georgia are designed to provide injured workers with medical coverage, income benefits, and rehabilitation support. The type and duration of benefits can vary based on the injury's severity, ranging from temporary total disability to permanent partial disability. Understanding these categories and their implications is crucial for any worker facing the aftermath of a workplace incident.
Filing Your Workers' Compensation Claim
After experiencing a workplace accident or the sudden onset of a workplace-related illness, dealing with paperwork might be the last thing on your mind. However, it's crucial to file your claim promptly.
In Georgia, you have up to 30 days to file, but immediate action is recommended to ensure your claim is approved and benefit payments commence without delay. Delaying beyond 30 days could result in the loss of your benefits.
Once your claim is approved, all authorized medical expenses, including doctor and hospital bills, physical therapy, prescriptions, and necessary travel expenses, will be covered. You may also be entitled to medical and vocational rehabilitation. If your illness or injuries prevent you from working for more than 7 days, you may be eligible for weekly benefits.
How Long Can I Be on Workers Comp in GA?
Injured workers in Georgia are entitled to receive weekly wage loss benefits and medical benefits through workers' compensation for up to 400 weeks. The amount is approximately two-thirds of your average weekly wage, capped at $675.00 per week as per Georgia State law.
If your injury prevents you from working for more than a week, you're eligible for these payments, with the first check typically arriving about 21 days after your first missed day of work. For injuries deemed catastrophic, resulting in permanent disability, you may receive lifetime benefits.
If your authorized treating physician clears you to return to work without limitations, your weekly benefits will be suspended. However, if you're released with restrictions and can't return to your job at full capacity, your benefits may continue, albeit likely at a reduced rate.
Retirement, Workers’ Comp, and SSDI Benefits
Even after retirement, you'll continue to receive benefits covering medical expenses related to your injury. However, it's important to note that receiving both workers' comp wage loss benefits and Social Security retirement benefits may lead to adjustments.
The combined total of your SSDI benefits, family member benefits, and workers' comp benefits should not exceed 80% of your average current earnings. If it does, the excess amount will be deducted from your Social Security benefits.
Can I Be Fired While on Workers' Compensation?
Yes, you can be fired while receiving workers’ compensation benefits! While there's no Georgia law preventing an employer from firing an injured worker, doing so can be risky for employers.
If an employee is let go while unable to work, they may end up receiving workers' comp benefits for an extended period, especially if they struggle to find suitable employment elsewhere. Employers often wait until an employee is cleared for regular duty before termination to avoid further workers' comp liabilities.
Dealing with what comes after a workplace accident can feel daunting.
Legal guidance during this time is not just a luxury; it's a necessity. An experienced Buford accident attorney, like John Edmonson, can provide the support and expertise needed to navigate Georgia’s complex workers' compensation system, ensuring that your rights are protected and your benefits maximized.
Navigating the realm of workers' compensation benefits requires expertise, dedication, and a personal touch. Our firm embodies these qualities, ensuring that each client receives the attention and representation they deserve.
We’re not just a local law firm; we’re your partners in navigating your workers' compensation benefits in Georgia.