Any legally employed individual in America has the right to workmen’s compensation which acts as an insurance policy, protecting employees in the case of injury or fatality in the workplace. The law requires that any company employing more than three workers cover their staff with workers’ compensation insurance. As a result, an employee is entitled to medical benefits alongside income reimbursements and rehabilitation aids. Unfortunately, there are instances when it is perfectly acceptable and legal for your Georgia employer to terminate your workers’ comp benefits, although the legal requirements do vary from state to state and are subject to a number of different influences.
When am I entitled to workers’ comp benefits in Augusta, GA?
In most states, it is illegal for employers to dismiss workers as a result of a workman’s compensation claim being filed. However, most do not make provision for extended periods of coverage, meaning employers can terminate benefits if the employee is on a prolonged leave of absence. There are two programs run on a federal scale, namely the mandate for the protraction of health coverage by COBRA and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), that enable workers to keep their benefits if they take personal responsibility for the payments.
How does the FMLA help me?
The Family Medical Leave Act entitles a worker to the temporary protection of their health coverage if they are expecting to recover and be fit to work within the specified timeframe. For employees who have been working for the same company for a minimum of one year, they will receive protected injury leave for 12 weeks a year. Should the recovery period extend beyond this period, the employer is within their rights to cancel workers’ comp benefits.
What is COBRA?
Once the period of FMLA covered leave expires, it is possible for employees to see a further continuance of their benefits using COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and applies to all companies within the private sector that employ 20 or more full-time workers. Unfortunately, this means those working for smaller companies are not eligible. Furthermore, under COBRA, employees are required to pay the membership fees in full. Reassuringly, however, employers are then required to provide health benefits for up to 18 months.
What is the law in Augusta, GA regarding workers’ comp benefits?
In the State of Georgia, all workers are entitled to as much as two-thirds of their normal weekly income if they are not working because of an injury in the workplace. They are also eligible for treatment that will aid in their rehabilitation, as well as assistance with travel costs and medications. Should the insurance company encourage the worker to return to their duties prematurely or is threatening to terminate their Georgia workers’ comp benefits, employees can seek the assistance of a workers’ comp attorney to pursue a claim for continued support.
Can my Georgia employer fire me in response to a workers’ comp benefits claim?
The law does protect employees from being dismissed as a result of a claim, but even workers who are absent from the workplace because of a work-related injury can be dismissed for other reasons, such as poor performance of insubordination. Furthermore, while you are not in the workplace, you are not fulfilling the conditions of your health insurance, meaning the employer could be within their rights to terminate your benefits.
If you are threatened with dismissal while on injury-related leave, you should consult a workers’ comp attorney in Augusta, Georgia. A reliable lawyer can help you understand if your discharge from work can be considered as a retaliatory measure relating to your injury claim.
What can I do to prevent termination of my health benefits?
Once you have extended the contracted period of disability coverage, the legal angle becomes more complex, as it does should you be permanently affected by the injury. For example, if you can return to work but not able to maintain the same position as a result of a workplace injury, you will only be entitled to benefits for a period of 350 weeks.
If you have a written contract with your employer, you should study it carefully to ascertain the extent of your health benefits and employee rights. Regardless of the circumstances, however, the best way to secure your workers’ comp benefits, Augusta, GA, is to consult with a qualified advisor.
Consult with a Georgia Attorney to Discuss Your Workers’ Comp Benefits
Securing the assistance of a workers’ comp attorney in Augusta, Georgia is particularly useful at this stage and Ted Greve, as a qualified doctor, can offer constructive advice from both the legal and medical angles.