When you’re hurt on the job, you may be entitled to compensation under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. But even if you already know that you want to file a claim, it can be daunting to face the process alone — especially if your employer attempts to block you from receiving benefits.
With the help of our attorneys at Herbert Chestnut & Associates, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of the workers’ compensation claim process, as well as what documents and records to prepare. Whether you sustained catastrophic injuries from a sudden hazard or developed a more repetitive injury over time, you deserve to seek full recovery to treat your injuries.
Here’s a broad overview of what you can expect during the workers’ compensation process in Georgia:
Reporting Your Injuries
To begin a claim for workers’ compensation, you’ll need to immediately notify your employer about your injury, specifying the dates and times of any relevant accidents in writing. Failing to do so within a 30-day period can render your claim invalid.
Although not all workers are covered under Georgia workers’ compensation laws (such as farm laborers and railroad employees), it’s always better to notify your employer about the event right after it happens — even if you don’t believe that you will be covered. Then, if your employer tries to downplay your claim, you can dispute it directly with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, which administers workers’ comp claims in Georgia.
Visiting the Doctor
While you may have already visited a doctor for your injuries, it’s also important to visit with one of the 6 physicians your employer will select for you. This will ensure that your visits are fully covered under your employer’s insurance plan, and that everything goes smoothly for your claim. In emergency situations, of course, you can generally get the emergency medical care you need without checking first.
Determining Your Settlement
If your claim is approved by the insurance company, it’s called a “liability settlement” and will likely be paid out soon after your claim is filed. Depending on whether you need long-term care benefits, you may receive those payments in a lump sum, or in a continuing series of payments.
If your claim is denied, however, then you will need to resolve the dispute until you can reach a full and final “non-liability” settlement. That process can vary significantly, and require you to attend a scheduled hearing if you are unable to get a settlement.
Appealing a Negative Outcome
When you don’t agree with the results of a hearing, you can appeal that decision with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. As with all of the previous steps, having a qualified attorney can increase your chances of a positive outcome, and ensure that your side of the story is heard.
Committed Counsel with 37+ Years of Experience
Whether your claim is approved or denied, it’s important to start resting and trying to recover from your work-related injuries. One of the best ways to ensure that you can do that is by hiring an experienced lawyer, one with knowledge of workers’ compensation laws and the ability to negotiate on your behalf. With the aid of our award-winning team at Herbert Chestnut & Associates, you can rest easy knowing that we’ll be in your corner, and willing to stand up to insurance companies for the benefits you deserve.
Need to discuss your case with a Cobb County lawyer? Call 770-285-5542 or contact us online today for a free consultation.