Step-by-Step Guide to Workers’ Compensation Claims in Georgia
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a multi-step process that you’ll need to follow closely in order to ensure the success of your claim.
Step 1: Report the injuryOnce the injury occurs, report it immediately. Your supervisor should be the person you report it to. It’s best that you report it in writing because that documented proof will begin the chain of paperwork that you’ll need to keep track of when filing your claim.
It’s very important that you report the injury immediately afterwards because the longer you wait, the more questions build surrounding the actual place and time the injury occurred, which could poke holes in your claim.
Step 2: Obtain medical treatmentAfter reporting your injury, your next objective is to get an appointment with an approved doctor.
Depending on the severity of the injury, you may have had to visit an emergency or urgent care provider. Although the treatment you receive here may not be by an approved doctor, your employer and their insurance company have to pay for it.
But once you’re released from the emergency or urgent care provider, your follow-up appointments should be with an approved doctor.
Step 3: Get list of approved doctorsAs mentioned above, the doctors you see for treatment following your workplace injury should be from approved doctors.
This list, also called the “panel of physicians,” should be given to you by the human resources department or your supervisor. If not, you need to ask for a copy or where it may be posted.
Not seeing a doctor on the approved list of doctors could result in denial of your workers’ compensation benefits.
If for some reason your employer doesn’t give you the list in a timely manner, note the time you waited without a response and go ahead and see the doctor of your choice.
Step 4: File your claimThe next step is filing your workers’ compensation claim.
After you reported your injury, your employer should have given you forms to file.
Form WC-14 should be filled out and sent to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation and also send a copy to your HR department and your employer’s insurer.
Keep note of your state’s filing processes and deadlines to make sure you get the right paperwork to the right places by the right dates.
Step 5: Request a copy of the report and/or notesThe importance of keeping up with each document throughout the workers’ compensation process can’t be stressed enough.
Be sure that you have a copy of each document throughout this process. Make a copy of the report that your supervisor filed. Before submitting your workers’ compensation forms to your employer, make a copy. Request a copy of the documentation that your employer sends to their insurance agency. Staying organized throughout this process keeps you in the loop and can help your claim.
Step 6: Update your employerIf you receive documentation that another party should know about, make sure to pass a copy of it along.
For example, if your doctor advises you to not return to work for a specified amount of time, or limits you work role in some way, this certainly should be given to your employer.
This cuts down on any confusion or back and forth that could delay and possibly result in a denial for your workers’ compensation claim. Keep your employer in the loop.
Step 7: Make sure the insurer is informedIn order to make sure your workers’ compensation claim is rolling through the process smoothly, you may need to become a micromanager and check to make sure documentation is submitted by other parties in a timely manner.
When you initially let your supervisor know about your injury and the supervisor is then supposed to submit the information to HR, follow-up with HR to make sure it was done.
Also, try to check with your employer’s insurer to verify that they’ve submitted your claim. Making sure all forms are submitted before their deadlines is important for keeping your claim on track and closer to it being approved.
Step 8: Contact a workers’ compensation lawyerThe process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be tricky. Ensuring the success of your claim by consulting with a knowledgeable Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer is a very important step.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help make sure you navigate the process correctly and meet the deadlines.