Voted Best Personal Injury Law Firm By Georgia Lawyers
Marietta Work Injury Lawyer
Matt Wetherington with Wetherington Law Firm,P.C. is the hardest working attorney I have ever worked with. He went above and beyond our expectations. Calls and emails are returned promptly and by Mr. Wetherington himself.
5 Stars is nowhere near enough to rate how awesome Matt and his colleagues were. They took my case even when I didn’t think there was anything we could do. I was in a bad situation at the time and Matt, Robert, and Sarah were there for me every step of the way.
I’m so grateful to Ben Levy and everything he did for me. He was truly dedicated to helping my case. Throughout the process, Ben was very thoughtful, responsive, organized, and made sure I was fully informed along the way.
Free Injury Lawyer Consultation
Work injuries can happen in many ways, like slipping on a wet floor, lifting heavy things, or even from a machine accident. When people get hurt at work, it can be really tough. They might have to pay a lot for doctor visits and might not be able to earn money if they can’t work.
In Georgia, the law (O.C.G.A. § 34-9-1) says that workers who get hurt on the job have the right to get help. This help can pay for their medical bills and some of the money they lose if they can’t work.
The law also says that workers don’t have to prove their employer did something wrong to get this help. But, getting this help can sometimes be tricky. Employers or their insurance might not always agree to pay. That’s why it’s really important to know what you can do and get the right help to make sure you’re treated fairly.
At Wetherington Law Firm, we think workers deserve to be taken care of if they get hurt at work. We know how to deal with tough cases and make sure you get the help and money you need to get better. If you or someone you know got hurt at work, give us a call. We’ll talk about your situation and how we can help, for free. Let us take care of the hard stuff, so you can focus on getting better.
Understanding Work Injury Claims in Marietta
In Marietta, understanding work injury claims means knowing your rights and what to do if you get hurt on the job. Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws are designed to help workers who get injured or sick because of their work. This help includes paying for medical care and providing money if you can’t work because of your injury. The law in Georgia (O.C.G.A. § 34-9-1) says that if you’re injured while working, you should get benefits, no matter whose fault the injury was.
When you get hurt at work, you don’t have to sue your employer to get help. Instead, workers’ compensation insurance that your employer has should cover your medical bills and part of the money you lose from not being able to work. But sometimes, getting these benefits can be tricky. Employers or their insurance companies might not agree with what you say about your injury or how much help you need.
That’s where knowing the process and your rights comes in. You have to report your injury to your employer right away, see a doctor approved by your employer’s insurance, and follow the right steps to file a claim.
If you run into problems or your claim is denied, it might be time to get help from our work injury lawyer who knows how to deal with these cases. We can make sure you’re treated fairly and help you get the benefits you deserve. Get in touch with our team today!
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
Workplace injuries can happen in any job, from offices to construction sites. Knowing the common causes can help prevent them. Here are some of the most frequent reasons workers get hurt:
- Slips, Trips, and Falls: These can happen anywhere, especially in places where floors are wet or cluttered, or where there are uneven surfaces.
- Overexertion: Lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling heavy objects improperly can lead to injuries, especially to the back.
- Struck by or Against Objects: Workers can be hit by moving objects, like machinery or falling tools, or they can walk into objects themselves.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries: Doing the same motions over and over, like typing or assembly line work, can strain muscles and tendons.
- Falls from Heights: On construction sites or in warehouses, falls from ladders, roofs, or scaffolding are a big risk.
- Vehicle Accidents: Workers who drive for their job, like truck drivers or delivery people, can be injured in car accidents.
- Machine Entanglement: In factories, workers’ clothing or limbs can get caught in machinery.
- Violence: Disputes between coworkers or dealing with violent customers or criminals can lead to serious injuries.
- Exposure to Harmful Substances: Jobs that involve chemicals or radiation can cause burns, poisoning, or illnesses if proper safety measures aren’t followed.
- Fires and Explosions: Faulty equipment or improper handling of flammable materials can lead to devastating injuries.
Your Rights Under Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law
Under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Law (O.C.G.A. § 34-9), if you’re injured on the job, you have certain rights designed to support your recovery and compensate you for your losses. Here’s a summary of these rights:
- Medical Treatment: You have the right to receive medical treatment for your work-related injury, with the costs covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This includes doctor visits, hospital stays, physical therapy, medications, and any necessary medical devices.
- Choice of Physician: Your employer should provide you with a list of at least six approved doctors or a managed care organization you can choose from for your treatment (O.C.G.A. § 34-9-201). You have the right to switch doctors once without your employer’s permission, as long as it’s to another doctor on the list.
- Income Benefits: If you’re unable to work due to your injury, you’re entitled to receive income benefits. These typically equal two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by law, starting on the eighth day of your disability. If you’re out for more than 21 days, you’ll be compensated from the first day of your disability.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): If you cannot work at all during your recovery, you may receive TTD benefits for up to 400 weeks or until you reach maximum medical improvement.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): If you can return to work but at a lower-paying job due to your injury, you may receive TPD benefits to help make up the difference in your wages for up to 350 weeks.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): If your injury results in permanent impairment, you may be eligible for PPD benefits based on the severity of your impairment as determined by your doctor.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: In some cases, if you cannot return to your previous job, you may have the right to vocational rehabilitation services to help you find new work that accommodates your injury.
- Death Benefits: If a work injury results in death, the worker’s dependents may be eligible for burial expenses and compensation benefits.
Steps to Take After a Work Injury
If you’ve been injured at work, taking the right steps immediately can help ensure your health and protect your rights under workers’ compensation laws. Here’s what you should do:
- Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the top priority. Even if the injury seems minor, see a doctor to assess and document your injuries. Inform the medical provider that your injury is work-related.
- Report the Injury: Notify your employer about the injury as soon as possible. Georgia law requires you to report your injury within 30 days, but the sooner, the better. Be specific about how the injury occurred and any body parts affected.
- Document Everything: Keep detailed notes about the incident, including the date, time, how it happened, and any witnesses. Also, document your medical visits, treatments, and how the injury impacts your daily life.
- Follow Medical Advice: Adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by your healthcare provider. Skipping appointments or not following through with treatments could affect your workers’ compensation claim.
- File a Workers’ Compensation Claim: Your employer should file a claim with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. However, it’s good to verify that this has been done and to obtain a copy of the claim for your records.
- Keep Records of Expenses and Lost Wages: Compile documentation of all medical expenses, travel expenses related to medical treatment, and any wages lost due to your injury.
- Consult with a Work Injury Lawyer: Workers’ compensation claims can be complex, and issues may arise, such as disputes over benefits. Consulting with a work injury lawyer can provide valuable guidance and representation to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the benefits you’re entitled to.
- Avoid Social Media: Be cautious about what you post on social media. Insurance companies may monitor your online activity to find reasons to deny or reduce your claim.
Navigating the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
Navigating the workers’ compensation claims process in Georgia involves several key steps to ensure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to for a work-related injury. Here’s a simplified guide:
- Report the Injury: Inform your employer about your injury as soon as possible, ideally within 30 days of the accident. Provide details about how the injury occurred and the extent of your injuries.
- Seek Medical Treatment: Get medical attention immediately. Your employer may have a panel of authorized physicians for you to choose from. Your choice of doctor and adherence to their treatment plan are crucial for your claim.
- Employer Files the Claim: Once notified, your employer should report your injury to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Ensure this step is completed, as the insurance company handles your claim.
- Receive Medical Treatment: Under workers’ compensation, you’re entitled to receive medical care for your injuries. Follow through with all recommended treatments and keep records of all medical visits, treatments, and expenses.
- Temporary or Permanent Disability Benefits: If you’re unable to work due to your injury, you may be eligible for temporary total disability benefits. If your injury leads to permanent impairment, you might qualify for permanent partial disability benefits.
- Stay in Communication: Keep in touch with your employer and their insurance carrier regarding your medical status and ability to work. Promptly report any changes in your condition or if you’re able to return to work.
- Dispute Resolution: If there’s a dispute about your benefits, Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation offers mediation services to help resolve issues. You also have the right to request a hearing before the Board.
- Return to Work: If you’re able to return to work, either in your previous position or in a modified role that accommodates your injury, your benefits may be adjusted accordingly.
- Consult with a Lawyer: The workers’ compensation process can be complex, especially if your claim is denied or if you’re not receiving the correct benefits. A Marietta work injury lawyer can guide you through the process, represent you in disputes, and help ensure you receive fair treatment and compensation.
- File within the Statute of Limitations: Remember, you generally have one year from the date of the injury to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia.
Benefits Available for Work Injury Victims
In Georgia, work injury victims covered under workers’ compensation are entitled to several types of benefits, designed to support them through their recovery and compensate for their losses. Here’s an overview of the benefits available:
- Medical Benefits: Covers all necessary medical treatment related to the work injury, including doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. There’s no deductible or copayment, and these benefits can continue as long as treatment is required for the injury.
- Income Benefits: If you’re unable to work due to your injury, you can receive income benefits. These are typically two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a state-determined maximum amount. There are several types of income benefits depending on the nature and duration of your disability:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): Provided when you’re completely unable to work for a temporary period.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): Offered if you can return to work but at a lower paying job due to your injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): Available if you have a permanent impairment as assessed by a doctor, even if you can return to some form of work.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: In some cases, if you’re unable to return to your previous job due to your injury, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. These services aim to help you find new employment that accommodates your injury.
- Death Benefits: If a work injury results in death, the worker’s dependents may be entitled to death benefits. This includes burial expenses up to a certain amount and two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage paid to the spouse, children, or other dependents.
- Mileage Reimbursement: Work injury victims are also entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses related to medical treatment, such as mileage, parking, and tolls.
Challenges in Filing a Work Injury Claim
Filing a work injury claim can sometimes present challenges that complicate the process of obtaining the benefits you’re entitled to. Understanding these potential obstacles can help you navigate them more effectively. Here are some common challenges faced by work injury victims:
- Disputes Over the Nature of the Injury: Employers or their insurance carriers might question whether the injury occurred at work or whether it’s as severe as claimed. This can lead to delays or denials in receiving benefits.
- Determining the Correct Benefits: Calculating the appropriate level of benefits, especially for long-term or permanent injuries, can be complex. Disagreements may arise over the amount of compensation due for lost wages, medical treatment, or disability.
- Navigating the Medical Treatment Process: Sometimes, issues occur with the panel of physicians provided by the employer. Disputes might arise over the choice of doctor, the recommended treatment plan, or the need for specialist care.
- Returning to Work: Employers might pressure injured workers to return to work before they’re fully recovered. There can also be challenges in securing accommodations for the injury or finding suitable light-duty work.
- Delays in Processing Claims: The workers’ compensation system can be slow, leading to frustrating delays in approving claims and starting benefits. This can put financial pressure on injured workers.
- Denial of Claims: Claims might be outright denied for various reasons, such as paperwork errors, missed deadlines, or disputes over the circumstances of the injury. Navigating the appeals process requires understanding complex legal procedures.
- Lack of Legal Representation: Many workers attempt to handle their claims without legal assistance, which can put them at a disadvantage, especially if the employer or insurance company has experienced legal counsel.
What types of benefits can I receive under workers’ compensation?
Under workers’ compensation, there are several types of benefits you may be eligible to receive, depending on the severity of your injury and its impact on your ability to work. Here is a breakdown:
- Medical Benefits: Covers all necessary medical treatment related to your work injury or illness, including emergency services, hospital care, surgery, medications, and rehabilitation.
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): If you’re unable to work at all for a temporary period, TTD benefits provide a portion of your lost wages until you can return to work.
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD): Can be provided if you return to work at a lower-paying duty or part-time role due to your injury, making up some of the difference in wages.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD): If you’re unable to return to any type of gainful employment, PTD benefits offer long-term financial support.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD): If your work-related injury or illness results in permanent impairment but does not completely limit you from working, you may receive PPD benefits based on the type and extent of the impairment.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: If you are unable to return to your previous employment, vocational rehabilitation services can help you train for a new job within your physical limitations.
- Death Benefits: If a work injury or illness results in death, dependents of the deceased may receive compensation for lost wages and burial expenses.
How do I file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia?
To file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, follow these steps:
- Report the Injury: Notify your employer about your injury as soon as possible. In Georgia, you have up to 30 days from the date of the injury or from the date you learn of the injury to report it to your employer. However, reporting it immediately is usually in your best interest.
- Seek Medical Treatment: Obtain medical attention for your injuries. Your employer may have a list of authorized physicians to choose from, or they may provide you with one specific doctor to see.
- Employer’s Responsibility: After you report your injury, your employer should provide you with a WC-14 form and file a First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease (Form WC-1) with their insurance carrier.
- File a Claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation: You need to file a Form WC-14 with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC). You can obtain this form from the SBWC’s website, your employer, or the insurer.
- Contact the Insurance Carrier: Check to ensure that the workers’ compensation insurer has received notice of your injury and that they have started processing your claim.
- Understand Your Rights and Responsibilities: Familiarize yourself with your rights and obligations under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act. The SBWC provides an “Employee Handbook” that outlines this information in detail.
- Follow Doctor’s Instructions and Keep Records: Make sure to adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by your authorized treating physician and keep records of all medical appointments, treatments received, and any correspondence related to your workers’ compensation claim.
- Seek Legal Advice if Necessary: If your claim is denied, if you face any disputes, or if you feel your benefits are not properly awarded, consider contacting a workers’ compensation attorney who can advocate on your behalf.
Can I see my own doctor for a work injury?
Whether you can see your own doctor for a work injury and have those visits covered under workers’ compensation depends on the regulations in your state. Here is a general overview:
- Employer-Provided Panel of Physicians: Many states require employers to have a list (often called a “panel of physicians”) from which you must choose your treating doctor. These are doctors approved by the workers’ compensation insurer.
- Choice of Physician: Some states may allow you to see your own doctor if your employer does not provide you with a list of physicians or if you follow specific procedures outlined by state law.
- Change of Physician: You may be able to change your doctor to one of your choosing after starting treatment, but this typically requires approval from the workers’ compensation insurer or a state workers’ compensation board.
- Emergency Situations: If the injury is an emergency, you may go to the nearest emergency room without concern for the approved physician list. Once the emergency is over, however, continued treatment will need to comply with workers’ compensation requirements.
- Second Opinions: Some workers’ compensation systems allow you to get a second opinion if you disagree with the diagnosis or treatment plan from the approved physician.
What if my work injury claim is denied?
If your work injury claim is denied, it’s essential to understand your rights and the steps you can take to challenge the decision. Here’s what you can do:
- Understand the Reason for Denial: The denial letter from the insurance company should state the reason for the rejection of your claim. Common reasons for denial include claims that the injury is not work-related, missed deadlines, insufficient evidence, or disputes over the severity of the injury.
- Request for Reconsideration or Administrative Review: Some insurance companies may have an internal process for reconsideration. You can ask the insurer for a review if you believe there has been a mistake or if you can provide additional information.
- File an Appeal: Each state has its own procedures for appealing a workers’ compensation denial. Typically, this involves filing a formal appeal with your state’s workers’ compensation board or industrial commission within a specific time frame after you receive the denial.
- Prepare for the Appeal Process: The appeal process often includes a hearing where you can present evidence, such as medical records, testimony from your physician, or witnesses to the injury. It’s essential to gather all relevant documentation and prepare your arguments.
- Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney: Consider seeking legal counsel. Our workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the appeal process, gather the necessary documentation, represent you at hearings, and advocate on your behalf.
- Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution: Some states offer mediation services to resolve disputes between injured workers and insurers. This can be a faster and less adversarial way to address disagreements.
- Follow Deadlines Closely: There are strict deadlines (statutes of limitations) for contesting a denied workers’ comp claim. Ensure that you act promptly and do not miss these deadlines, as failing to adhere to them can result in losing your right to appeal.
How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia?
You do not necessarily need a lawyer to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation systems are designed to be administrative procedures that are user-friendly for employees. Many workers can go through the process of reporting an injury, receiving medical treatment, and getting compensated without legal assistance, especially if the injury is minor and the case is straightforward.
However, the situation may be different if the case is complex. If there is a dispute over the validity of the claim, the severity of the injury or illness, or if benefits are denied, having a lawyer may be beneficial. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the intricacies of the legal system, represent you during hearings, and ensure that you receive fair treatment under the law.
Contact Wetherington Law Firm for a Free Work Injury Consultation
If you’ve encountered a work-related injury and are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, don’t navigate this complex process alone. Get the compensation you deserve and protect your rights every step of the way by reaching out for expert guidance. Act now to ensure your claim is filed correctly and within the essential deadlines – securing your financial support and peace of mind starts here. Give us a call today!