Georgia Workers’ Compensation FAQ

The following represents the state of the law as of July 1, 2007. Please note that workers’ compensation laws can be complex and these laws and policies are subject to amendment. If you need help with a workers compensation issue, please consult an attorney.

If you or anyone you know has been injured on the job, contact us online, or call our experienced Georgia workers compensation lawyers at 404-474-3460, to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your claim.

Q?

  What is Workers’ Compensation?

A.

A benefits program created by state law that provides medical, income, death, and possibly rehabilitation and other benefits to employees and dependents due to injury, illness, and death resulting from a compensable work-related accident covered by the law.

Q?

  What Should I Do If I Am Injured At Work?

A.

You should immediately report your injury to your employer; try to obtain and complete any paperwork required by your company, forward it to the appropriate organization for processing, and keep a copy of it; and be as specific as possible when reporting your injury. If anyone witnessed your accident, inform your employer of such a witness and make a note of it for yourself. Prompt notification should enable your company to begin your benefits in a timely manner.

Q?

  When Am I Covered?

A.

Workers’ compensation coverage usually begins on the first day of employment.

Q?

  What is Considered An On-The-Job Injury, Illness, or Death Claim?

A.

Any injury, illness, or death arising out of and in the course and scope of employment is by definition a compensable work-related claim. This means if an employee is injured while performing assigned job duties during assigned work hours, the employee is covered under the workers’ compensation program. Injuries sustained while engaged in unassigned duties or during lunch and rest breaks are generally not covered. Additionally, injuries that occur during an employee’s normal commute to and from work are usually not covered.

Q?

  Can I Sue Anyone For a Work-Related Injury?

A.

If your injury was caused by the negligence of a third party other than another person who also works for your employer, you may have a right to sue that party. If you do sue a third party for monetary damages, your employer may have a right to recover some or all of the costs expended for your workers’ compensation claim. This is known as a subrogation lien. The lien would only be recoverable after you had been fully compensated by the third party for your losses resulting from your on-the-job injury.

Q?

  Can I Receive Money Damages From My Employer In Addition To Workers’ Compensation Benefits If I Am Injured On-The-Job?

A.

No. Workers’ compensation is the “exclusive remedy” a worker has against his/her employer for damages resulting from an on-the-job injury. Workers’ compensation benefits do NOT include pain and suffering.

Q?

  How Much Will An Attorney Charge To Handle A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A.

Some workers’ compensation claims may be handled without having to hire an attorney. However, if you feel that an attorney is needed to protect your rights, the Workers’ Compensation Laws limit the attorney’s fees to a maximum of 25% of income benefits received, not to exceed 400 weeks of benefits unless your case is deemed catastrophic. In addition, you would also be responsible for paying any expenses associated with the pursuit of your claim.

Q?

  Compensation is retroactive if disability continues for what period of time from the date of injury?

A.

21 Consecutive Days

Q?

  Waiting Period For Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Injury:

A.

7 Days

Q?

  Choice of Physician:

A.

Employee selects initial physician from a list or panel maintained by the employer. If no list/panel is posted by the employer, then the employee can choose any physician.

Q?

  Are On-The-Job Injuries Resulting From Employee Misconduct Covered?

A.

Generally, no. Workers’ compensation does not provide benefits for an injury by accident resulting from an employee’s willful misconduct (i.e. fighting, horseplay, willful act of a third party for personal reasons, or injuries related to alcohol or drug intoxication).

Q?

  Can I Be Compensated For Occupational Related Diseases?

A.

Yes. If your disease meets certain tests imposed by the law, you can be compensated. There must be a causal relationship between your employment and the disease. It cannot be a disease that is an ordinary disease of life to which others are exposed.

Q?

  Can I Be Compensated For A Repetitive Motion Injury?

A.

Yes. Repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome are compensable if they arise out of and in the course and scope of your employment.

Q?

  Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage Mandatory?

A.

Yes

Q?

  Are Waivers Permitted?

A.

Yes

Q?

  Numerical Exceptions:

A.

Three or more employees

Q?

  What Happens If I Re-Injure A Pre-Existing Condition Or Prior Injury?

A.

The Workers’ Compensation Act limits the extent to which an aggravation of a pre-existing condition or injury is compensable. An aggravation of a pre-existing condition is compensable while the aggravation is the cause of the disability. Once the aggravation resolves and you return to your pre-injury condition, your right to workers’ compensation benefits ends.