People get hurt on the job every day. Depending on what kind of work you do, there’s a chance you could be one of those people. If that happens, your employer should take care of you and provide employer workers compensation. If you have medical bills, they should be paid. If you miss time from work, you deserve to receive replacement wages. If for some reason, your employer doesn’t do the right thing, you should call one of our employment lawyers in Atlanta.
Employers in Georgia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is the case no matter what state you live in. If your company doesn’t have insurance, they could be fined and face serious consequences from the State of Georgia. If they have insurance and refuse to honor your workers’ comp claim, your lawyer will fight to get you the benefits you deserve.
Here, we’ll briefly discuss what the law says about employers taking responsibility for their employees’ workplace injuries. We’ll also tell you what your options are should your workers’ compensation claim be denied.
Georgia Law Requires Employer Workers Compensation Insurance
Every state in the country has its own laws regarding workers’ compensation. Almost all employers are required to carry a certain amount of insurance coverage to cover any workplace accidents. If employer workers’ compensation isn’t available for you, you may need to call an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta.
According to Georgia law, almost all companies are required to cover their workers’ injuries. The law dictates the following:
- All companies employing 3 or more employees must carry employer workers’ compensation insurance.
- Coverage does not extend to consultants and independent contractors.
- They must offer medical coverage as well as replacement wages.
- If they fail to do this, they can be fined up to $5,000.
- There is an exception for federal workers, postal workers, railroad employees, agricultural workers, and domestic servants.
As long as you don’t fall under the exception stated above, your employer must cover your workplace injuries. If they don’t, your personal injury attorney in Atlanta can file a complaint with the state workers’ compensation board. They can also file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
Why Can’t You Just Sue Your Employer?
The unique thing about workplace accidents is that you can’t just file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. The law requires you to go through workers’ compensation. This can be frustrating because, under workers comp, you are only entitled to medical care and replacement wages.
If you’re involved in any other sort of accident, you can file a suit against the responsible party. As long as your attorney can prove negligence, you’ll have a good chance of recovering damages. These damages may include the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (in extreme cases)
Under workers comp, you’re only entitled to the first two types of damages listed above. You probably wonder why this is the case. Why can’t you go after your employer for pain and suffering?
The legislature decided long ago that it wouldn’t be fair to make employers pay to defend every case where an employee got hurt on the job. It costs thousands of dollars to defend against any civil lawsuit. The same is true when you sue for employer workers’ compensation.
Given the number of people who are hurt on the job every year, most companies would go bankrupt if they had to defend these matters in civil court. The American economy would be destroyed if this happened.
Your Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta Will Review Your Case
When you visit with one of our personal injury attorneys in Atlanta for the first time, they’ll have several questions for you. This has nothing to do with whether they believe your story or not. They just need to know what they’re up against before they decide whether they want to represent you and help you get employer workers compensation insurance.
Some of the things your employment lawyer in Atlanta will need to know include:
- How long have you worked for your employer?
- Did you report your accident right away?
- Why was your workers’ comp claim denied?
- What kind of employee are you? Are you a consultant or an independent contractor
Depending on your answers to these questions, your attorney may decide you have a valid claim. If this is the case, they may be willing to represent you against your employer.
What Happens if Your Atlanta Workers Comp Claim is Approved?
If your employer workers’ compensation claim is approved, you’ll receive certain benefits. There are two main types you should worry about here. First, your employer workers’ compensation insurance will cover any medical bills related to your workplace accident. This includes the following:
- Doctor’s bills
- Ambulance services
- Travel expenses
- Physical therapy
- Durable medical equipment
The second type of benefits you’ll be entitled to is replacement wages. The way it works in Georgia is you’re entitled to 2/3 of your average weekly wages. This amount is paid to you once per week until you return to work.
Imagine that you earn $500 per week normally. When you go out on employer workers’ compensation, you’ll get 2/3 of this, or $333. This will continue until your doctor determines you’re ready to go back to work. If you end up with a permanent disability, your doctor will instead determine when you’ve reached something called “maximum medical improvement.” This is just a fancy way of saying that there’s nothing they can do to further improve your recovery.
Contact Our Experienced Employment Lawyers in Atlanta Today
If you or your loved one are hurt at work, you should be entitled to employer workers compensation benefits. If these are denied, then you need to call our office and talk to one of our personal injury attorneys in Atlanta. They can review your case and give you an idea of what to do next. They can also give you an idea of how your case will proceed.