4 Important Facts About Workers' Compensation in Georgia
Accidents in the workplace often result in employees being unable to work for extended periods of time. Fortunately, workers’ compensation, often referred to as “workman’s comp,” can provide the money necessary for an injured employee to recuperate.
However, just like any other form of personal injury, workers’ compensation laws are intricate and, in certain areas, confusing. Because a workplace injury can happen in many different ways, Georgia labor laws are constantly changing and evolving. This article will introduce some of the most essential aspects to know about workers’ compensation.
1. Catastrophic and Non-Catastrophic Accidents
While no two accidents are the same, most work-related injuries fall under two different categories: catastrophic and non-catastrophic accidents. In the eyes of the law, injuries may be viewed differently depending on which of these two categories the accident falls under.
According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Employee Handbook, catastrophic accidents may involve loss of limbs, major head injuries, permanent disfigurement, and any injury that would sufficiently prevent an employee from returning to work. Other injuries that result in an inability to labor but don’t fall under the previous category are considered “non-catastrophic” and are subject to different rules regarding compensation.
2. How You’re Covered By Workers' Compensation
According to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, any business with at least three employees is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance starts on the first day of employment.
In catastrophic cases, provided the victim is unable to return to work, the injured party can receive compensation ranging from two-thirds of his or her wage to the maximum provided for a workplace-related injury. Workers’ compensation benefits last as long as the employee is unable to return to work.
Any other type of accident usually falls under the non-catastrophic category and may restrict the amount of compensation to two-thirds of an average week’s pay. Non-catastrophic injuries allow employees to collect benefits for up to 400 weeks if they are unable to return to work sooner.
In both categories, employers will be required to provide injured employees with a minimum of six approved doctors to choose from. In accordance with Georgia law, employees must use one of these doctors when seeking treatment for their injury.
The only exception to this is in the case of extreme emergencies. After the emergency has been addressed, however, the employee must pick one of the provided doctors from the workers’ compensation program.
3. Your Responsibilities in Receiving Compensation
Employees are expected, above all, to report any injuries that take place on the worksite immediately. If an incident is reported after 30 days, the employee runs the risk of losing eligibility for compensation. Additionally, treatment and rehabilitation programs that are ordered by a doctor must be followed.
Another important employee responsibility is the willingness to submit to a possible drug test to demonstrate the accident was not associated with alcohol or drugs. By refusing to take a drug test, workers’ compensation benefits may be withheld—unless reasonable evidence that drugs or alcohol weren’t involved can be shown.
4. Returning to Work
It is important for an employee to notify insurance companies, as well as employers, of any return to work—even if the job is a new one. Employees must make it very clear to all involved parties when they choose to resume working.
Don’t let a workplace injury ruin your life; Monge & Associates has provided help to workers throughout the Atlanta area and can do the same for you. Whether you work directly with Scott Monge himself or any of the other capable lawyers here at the firm, you’ll be provided with all the intricate details of workers’ compensation laws. If you need someone to represent you in a lawsuit, we’ll be there.
Call us today at (800) 860-8021 or fill out an online form to learn how we can help.