So you’ve been injured at work and are looking to file a workers’ compensation claim. This is a good decision; a workers’ compensation claim can get you the financial relief you and your loved ones need while you are recovering from your condition. However, you may find that you’ll face resistance from your employer along the way, which can further complicate things. So how long will your claim take to complete? When can you start expecting to see compensation for your injury? While the answer to this question is unique based on your condition, let’s take a look at a simplified, general timeline of a workers’ compensation claim.
1. Seek Treatment. You need to report your injury to your employer within 30 days in order to begin seeking medical treatment. Your employer is legally entitled to choose your medical provider for your first treatment appointment, where they will evaluate your condition and file their initial report. However, you are not required to continue treatment with them for subsequent treatments. Instead, they should notify you of a medical provider network which you can choose an approved doctor from. If your employer does not have a provided network, you can see any physician that accepts workers’ compensation insurance after the first 30 days of treatment. Be sure you do this within the initial 90-day delay period.
2. File a claim. Fill out a WC-14 Workers’ Compensation Claim Form. This is one of the most important documents in your entire claim, so be sure that you fill it out carefully and keep a copy for yourself—you’ll be going back to it a lot. You have one year to file your claim with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation after your last authorized medical treatment.
3. Your initial hearing. The Board will likely take your deposition (testimony under oath) at your initial hearing, which takes place about one to two months after you file your hearing request form. The insurance company will then use this deposition to request additional information from medical providers or request records.
4. Your second hearing. Usually, your second hearing occurs about three months after you have filed your initial claim, and will often result in your insurance company requesting more medical records and evidence, such as sending you for an independent medical exam (IME).
5. Your third hearing. Generally around four to five months after you have filed your initial claim, your case is ready to be heard by an administrative law judge. At this point the evidence in your case will be presented and your insurance company and your attorney will both present their arguments for a ruling. Should your claim be accepted, you will likely start obtaining compensation soon. However, it’s not uncommon for these claims to be denied, and you may wish to appeal the decision, particularly if you are still suffering from your condition obtained while on the job.
For this reason, it is strongly advised that you seek the assistance of a Cobb County workers’ comp attorney. At Chestnut & Beller, we have a substantial record of success helping individuals navigate the complexities of a workers’ compensation case, and we are proud to help victims of on the job injuries obtain the compensation they need. We are a proud three-time winner of the Workers’ Comp Attorney of the Year award, which stands as a testament to our dedicated and high-quality representation.Retain an attorney to help you with your claim today! Call Chestnut & Beller today at (770) 285-5542 to request a case evaluation.