Getting hurt on the job can result in costly medical bills and disrupt your livelihood. This is why Georgia businesses with three or more employees must have workers’ compensation insurance.
Not all injured workers file claims, however. The reasons for this vary.
Fear of reprisal
Many employees hesitate to file for workers’ compensation because they fear retaliation.
Georgia is an at-will employment state, which means your employer may fire you for any legal reason. However, it is illegal for your employer to fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
This does not mean your employer can not fire you if he or she cites a lawful reason for doing so. However, you can still collect workers’ compensation benefits after losing your job. Considering the potential costs of an injury, the benefits of filing for workers’ compensation often outweigh the risks.
Underestimating the injury
Some employees do not bother to file a claim or even report an incident because the injury seems insignificant. However, even minor injuries can have long-term effects, especially if your job requires physical labor that aggravates the injury over time.
You should report any injury to your employer right away. Waiting too long may impact your workers’ compensation claim if you decide to file later.
Assuming it is too late
Perhaps your injury seemed minor at first, but now, weeks or months later, you are still in pain. Is it too late to file a claim? Not necessarily. According to Georgia law, you have one year after your injury to file a claim.
A workplace injury can have serious consequences. If you suffer an injury on the job, it is important to act quickly and understand your rights and options.