Workers Compensation FAQ
Q: How long do I have to report my workers’ compensation claim?
You must report your injury to your employer within 30 days. Fortunately, verbal notification is all that is required to satisfy this deadline. Of course, for evidentiary purposes, it is always advisable to notify your supervisor/employer in writing in Georgia.
Q: What benefits am I entitled to?
Under Georgia law, you are entitled to three types of benefits:
Wage Benefits: The maximum amount you may receive for wage benefits is $550.00 per week, and the amount you will receive is two-thirds of the weekly average pay over the past 13 weeks. You cannot actually receive a weekly wage benefit until you are put on “no work status” by a physician.
Medical Benefits: Effective July 1, 2013, all medical benefits will be paid in full by your employer and their insurance company for 400 weeks post-injury. You should not receive a bill directly from your doctor or hospital, and there will be no deductible for you to pay. While often overlooked, this is a very valuable benefit.
Disability Benefits: If you become partially or fully disabled as a result of your injury, you may receive a benefit at the end of your treatment to compensate for this. If you reach maximum medical improvement, you may be entitled to additional weekly benefits if your doctor rates you as partially disabled.
Q: When will I receive my benefits?
Under Georgia law, the insurance company or employer has 21 days to investigate your injury. Once your claim is accepted and you have been put on no work status by a physician, you will start to receive benefits.
Q: Can I choose my own doctor?
If your employer keeps a panel of doctors posted, you will have to choose from one of the doctors on that panel. You may change panel doctors one time. If your employer does not have a panel of doctors, you may generally choose your own physician. As soon as you retain counsel, make sure to get our firm the panel of doctors and hospitals available from your employer. Many times employers, especially smaller companies, do not follow the proper procedure and fail to keep a panel of doctors. In those cases, you may choose your own doctor.
Q: How long will I receive weekly benefits?
As with medical benefits, you are eligible to receive weekly benefits for 400 weeks if your injury is non-catastrophic. If your injury is deemed catastrophic, you could receive lifetime weekly benefits from your employer.
Q: What about my pain and suffering?
Injuries at work and injuries caused by the negligence of others outside of work are treated differently under Georgia law. At the present time, you cannot recover for your pain and suffering for a claim under Georgia Workers’ Compensation law. Don’t worry, at White & Choate, we will ensure you receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to under the law.
Q: Can I settle my claim?
Yes, you may settle your workers’ compensation claim for a lump-sum payout. This is often preferable for both you and the insurance company, and White & Choate will advise you of the best option for you and your family and ensure that you receive the best settlement possible for your unique circumstances.
Q: Can I get a jury trial?
No. Georgia law does not provide for jury trials for work-related injuries. All hearings are held before an administrative judge, and the hearings are usually related to receiving wage, medical, or permanent-partial disability benefits.
Q: How can I afford a lawyer?
We work on a contingency fee basis and receive 25% of any settlement and 25% of your weekly check if we have to take legal action to get the payments started. All our fees must be approved by the State Workers’ Compensation Board.