The workers' compensation law in Georgia requires you to give notice to your employer that you have been injured within 30 days of your injury. Even though you have 30 days to report the injury, most of the time it is better for you to report the injury sooner rather than later. If the employer has any doubt whether or not you were in fact injured at work, the longer the delay is between the accident and the report will raise even more questions in their mind even though you may have had good reasons for waiting to report it. You should give notice to your supervisor. You should also make sure that an accident report is completed so there is written confirmation that you gave notice.
Get medical treatment from a doctor on your employer's panel of physicians
When you suffer an injury at work, your employer is responsible for providing medical treatment for your injury. However, your employer is usually only responsible for paying for medical treatment with certain doctors. Almost all employers are required by law to have a list of Workers' Compensation doctors. Your employer probably has a panel of physicians posted. It should havethe names of at least 6 different doctors. You can choose a doctor off that list and notify your employer that you want to treat with that doctor.
Some employers provide medical treatment through a "WC/MCO". If your employer does this, there should still be a panel of physicians posted telling you the name of the WC/MCO. You should be able to obtain a copy of the doctors within the WC/MCO that you can choose from to provide treatment for your injury. In this case, there should be a large number of doctors from which to choose.
Have the doctor address your ability to work
Once the doctor is done evaluating you, the doctor should address your work status. The doctor should provide you with a note that you can take to your employer that indicates that you are totally disabled from work, able to work with restrictions, or able to work without any restrictions. Making sure that the doctor provides you with correct restrictions is important because you do not want to suffer additional injury upon returning to work if your employer makes a position available to you.
If you are taken out of work by the doctor or your employer cannot accommodate, be prepared to wait 21 days until you receive disability benefits
If you are disabled from work as a result of your injury, the Workers' Compensation law in Georgia provides your employer and their Workers' Compensation insurance company with 21 days from the date of your disability to either pay you benefits or deny your claim. So, you need to be prepared for a short time without income even if your employer accepts your claim. Also, if you are out of work for less than 7 days, you do not receive any disability benefits for that time out of work because Georgia has a 7 day "waiting period" for disability benefits.
When you receive benefits, review the information to make sure you receive the correct amount
The amount that you are entitled to receive weekly while you are out of work depends on the amount you made before your injury. Generally, you receive two-thirds of your average wage before taxes for the thirteen weeks before you were injured. There is a maximum weekly benefit of $500 per week in Georgia.
When you start receiving benefits, the Workers' Compensation insurance company should file a form stating the amount of benefits that you are being paid weekly. They should also file a form called a wage statement that will list the amount you made each week for the thirteen weeks before your injury. This will show how they calculated your average weekly wage. Review this information and compare it to your paystubs to make sure you are paid the correct amount of disability benefits. Make sure they include any bonuses, tips, per diem, or other amount that you were paid by your employer.
Talk to an attorney
You might want to do this earlier. It would be almost impossible to write a legal guide that explained everything that you should do in a Workers' Compensation case since every case is different. It is almost always worth your time to at least call an attorney who specializes in Georgia Workers' Compensation cases and will provide you with a free consultation.
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