Five Frequently Asked Questions in Georgia Workers' Compensation
How much will I be paid for time missed from work due to my wc injury?When an injured worker is unable to return back to work because of their work injury, the hurt employee may be deemed "totally disabled." Should this occur, the employee may be entitled to money benefits under O.C.G.A. ? 34-9-261. The amount the employee would be entitled to depends upon his or her average weekly wage. The law provides that the employee may receive two-thirds of the average weekly wage. However, the workers' compensation law provides that the maximum amount the employee may receive on a weekly basis is $500 presuming the injury occurred on or after July 1, 2007. This is regardless of how much the injured employee was making.
Do I have the right to a second opinion or independent medical exam?Generally, an employee has the right to one independent medical examination with a physician of the injured worker's choosing. The doctor must be in Georgia or within 50 miles of the injured worker's residence.
This second opinion or independent medical evaluation will be at the expense of the Employer and Insurance Company. However, the second evaluation must take place within 120 days of the injured worker's receipt of income benefits. Additionally, written notice of the evaluation must be made in advance of the examination. The Employer and the Insurance Company's liability for repeat diagnostics may be limited to $250. See, O.C.G.A. ?34-9-202
If you have been injured on the job and have received weekly income benefits, you may be eligible for a free second opinion or independent medical examination.
When is it too late to file a claim?The injured worker has one year from the date of accident to file a notice (through the proper Board Form) with the State Board of Workers' Compensation. If the employer has furnished remedial medical treatment, then the employee may have one year from the last date of treatment. If the employee received weekly benefits, then he or she may have two years from the date of the last payment to file a claim.
How do I get medical treatment and what should I expect?Employers are required to furnish treatment for employees who have been injured on the job. This would include "medical, surgical, and hospital care and other treatment, items, and services which are prescribed by a licensed physician." This also includes prescription drug medication. In addition, medical benefits may include counseling, or may include home attendant care, and in some circumstances domestic household services.
The employer is required to post at least six (6) doctors on a list for injured workers to choose from when they get hurt on the job. This list is known as the Panel of Physicians. The employer is required to inform the injured work about this list and his or her right to choose a doctor for treatment.
Employees often experience delays in authorization. As treatment is crucial, it is important to have someone advocating for you. Not only must this advocate have expertise about the law, but he must be knowledgeable about the physicians.
Can I get fired?Unfortunately, yes. Georgia is an at-will state. However, if you have an employment contract or have been discriminated against because of your disability, you may have legal recourse.