If you have been injured on the job in Atlanta, Georgia, you should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. There are some exceptions. If your employer has less than three employees or if you are employed in certain industries that are exempt from the legal workers’ compensation insurance requirements (like agriculture or railroad), then you may not be covered.
Further, if you are classified as an independent contractor, then you won’t be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If none of these circumstances apply to you, then you should be entitled to medical benefits and wage benefits if you are injured on the job severely enough to require medical treatment and time off work. When injured workers ask about cash benefits, the wage benefits or disability benefits are what they are referring to. Today, we’ll look at what kinds of cash benefits you can receive in an Atlanta, Georgia, workers’ compensation claim, depending on your work related injury.
Different Forms of Disability Benefits in Atlanta, Georgia, Workers’ Compensation Claims
In Atlanta, Georgia, there are three basic forms of cash disability benefits that an injured worker could recover under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. These include total temporary disability or TTD benefits, total partial disability or TPD benefits, and permanent partial disability or PPD benefits. These benefits are all calculated based on your average weekly wage or AWW. You won’t receive the full amount of your lost wages, but you will be able to receive 2/3 of your AWW. Your AWW is determined based on the past thirteen weeks of wages before the injury occurred. The weekly pay from those thirteen weeks will be added up and divided by thirteen to get the average. The calculation will also take into account any salary, any hourly wages, any tips that you received, any bonuses, and any allowances that you had for meals, lodging, travel, etc.
Of course, there are some special circumstances when it comes to calculating your AWW. If you were injured on your first day of work, then you are still covered by workers’ compensation benefits, but you can’t have your benefits calculated based on your own AWW. Rather, they will have to look at how much money other employees who are similar to you would make in a thirteen week time frame. There are also cases where you may have worked less over the past thirteen weeks than you usually do, and you may feel that your cash benefits are lower than they ought to be. In other cases, the employee happened to work more than usual over the past thirteen weeks, and their payments are higher.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits in an Atlanta, Georgia, Workers’ Compensation Claim
Whenever a work related injury causes you to be completely unable to work until you recover, you can receive temporary total disability benefits. These are wage benefits that you can receive at 2/3 your AWW for up to 400 weeks. Your earning capacity has been reduced by 100% in such cases. If the injury is catastrophic, these benefits are not limited to 400 weeks.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits in an Atlanta, Georgia, Workers’ Compensation Claim
Whenever a work related injury causes you to be unable to return to your former position, but still able to work with restrictions, you are eligible for temporary partial disability benefits. These wage benefits provide 2/3 the difference between your former wages and your current wages. Your earning capacity is partially reduced, and you can receive these benefits for up to 350 weeks.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits in an Atlanta, Georgia, Workers’ Compensation Claim
Permanent partial disability benefits are provided based on your physical disability level, rather than your earning capacity. Your treating physician will determine your percentage of impairment to the given body part, and your compensation rate is determined based on this. If you are given permanent partial disability benefits, then you will start receiving them when you stop receiving the temporary total disability benefits or temporary partial disability benefits.
When Will You Start Receiving Your Cash Benefits from a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In cases where you are out of work for seven days or less, you will not receive any cash or wage benefits. If you are out of work for eight days or more, then you will be able to start receiving cash benefits, but you will not be able to get the first seven days covered unless you’re out of work for 21 days. All of the days have to be consecutive, so it’s important to only return to work if your physical restrictions are provided for or when the doctor releases you to return at normal capacity. Once you are found to be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits or temporary total disability benefits, you will start receiving the wage benefit payments.
What Happens If You Are Owed Cash Benefits and Do Not Receive Them?
Any time it is established that you are owed cash benefits that you have not been receiving, or whenever a payment isn’t made on time, the employer will face a 15% penalty fee. If your claim is unfairly denied or your benefits unfairly withheld, you may need an attorney to ensure that you are paid all of the compensation that is owed to you for any wage benefits that you did not receive.
Many workers’ compensation claims are unfairly denied and must be resolved through mediation, hearings, and appeals. If you encounter any resistance from your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company, then you need to learn more about your legal rights and what to expect from the process. Never assume that one denial is the end of the road without consulting with an experienced Atlanta, Georgia, workplace injury lawyer. Call Ted A. Greve & Associates to learn more.
This article is made available for educational purposes only, to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. This should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.