Injured Workers Rights and Benefits
Your employer is responsible for covering the costs of any on-the-job injury, regardless of fault. After a workplace injury, you may not have the first idea about how the workers’ compensation system works in Georgia. Every state is different, and you may not have needed to understand your rights and benefits if you have never had a workplace accident. This is what you need to know about your rights after an injury.
Your Rights and Benefits as an Injured Employee
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation outlines employee rights and employer responsibilities. Every employer with three or more employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance. Under current laws, your rights as an employee are:
- You have the right to medical, income, and rehabilitation compensation benefits.
- Your employer must post at least six physicians or care providers whom you can choose to see for your injury. You may see any physician during a medical emergency, but must subsequently see an authorized health care provider to obtain benefits.
- You have the right to compensation for physician visits, hospital care, physical therapy, rehabilitation, prescription, and travel expenses associated with the job injury.
- If you have been out of work more than seven days because of your injury, you should receive income benefits. Anyone who is out of work more than 21 days may also receive compensation for the first week of absence.
- For catastrophic injuries (injuries of a serious and permanent nature), you should receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a predetermined maximum for as long as you cannot work.
- For non-catastrophic injuries, you may receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a predetermined maximum for 400 weeks, at most.
- If you can return to work, but need to take a lower-paying position, you can collect weekly benefits for a maximum of 350 weeks.
- In cases of fatal on-the-job accidents, dependents are entitled to burial expenses and two-thirds of the decedent’s average weekly wage, up to the maximum. These benefits may continue until a spouse remarries or moves in with a significant other.
- If you do not receive the benefits you are entitled to under the law, the insurance provider or your employer will pay a penalty that will be applied to your benefits.
What to Do if Your Employer/Insurer Does Not Follow the Rules
While employees have certain responsibilities to maintain their benefits after an injury, many of the cases we see involve employers or insurance providers who fail to offer timely and supportive services. A workers’ compensation insurance company has 21 days to investigate, but many fail to start benefits in a timely manner, leaving a covered individual without any type of pay. When some employees finally turn to an attorney for legal assistance, they may be suffering from significant financial strain.
We urge any injured worker to reach out to us as soon as possible. Our services can help you protect your rights while securing fair compensation within a reasonable timeframe. We can represent you in front of your employer, your insurance provider, and bill collectors. You do not have to struggle with paying for your injury and all your living expenses while you try to obtain medical treatment and heal.
Securing Legal Counsel in Middle Georgia
At Nelson & Smith, we work hard to protect our clients’ rights to fair medical treatment, and we will take additional actions against your insurer and employer if necessary. Our team has handled cases where clients experience additional injuries that stem from original workplace injuries or an “authorized physician” failed to diagnose an injury properly.
Whether you’re suffering from carpal tunnel or a catastrophic accident injury, do not assume your employer is right when your claim is rejected or denied. Contact us in Macon today for a free case evaluation.