Georgia workers' compensation law is very complex. Even the most seasoned claims professionals and human resources personnel struggle from time to time with the intricacies of Workers' Compensation Act. My blog posts on this topic are aimed at providing basic knowledge and familiarity with the system so that injured workers can begin to level the playing field in handling their claims against employers and their insurance companies.
Step One: Notifying Your Employer
If you've been injured on the job, it is ultimately important to timely report your workplace injury to your employer. If you have suffered an on-the-job injury, the law in Georgia requires you to report that injury to your employer within 30 days. Failure to do so may prevent you from receiving any workers compensation benefits, including medical treatment and weekly lost wage checks. Whether you have been involved in a sudden and specific accident resulting in a lower back injury or you have developed carpal tunnel syndrome slowly in your hands over time, make sure to let your employer know immediately. At the first onset of pain, tell your employer exactly what happened and specify each and every body part where you are feeling pain. This is a crucial step to establishing your entitlement to workers compensation benefits and can play an important role in how your claim is handled by the adjuster, the insurance company and its attorneys.
If you have questions about Georgia law or reporting your workers compensation claim to your employer, contact The Law Offices of T. Andrew Miller today!
Is It Too Late to File a Workers' Compensation Claim?
The statute of limitations governs whether a claim for benefits after a work injury can be denied because it was filed too late. Georgia law provides only a one year, calculated from the date of last medical treatment, in which to file a request for hearing in a workers' compensation claim if medical treatment has been provided by the employer or the insurance company. If weekly benefits have been paid, the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act allows up to two years after benefits have stopped to file a request for hearing.
O.C.G.A. Section 34-9-82 entitled "Limitations on Right to Compensation" states:
(a) The right to compensation shall be barred unless a claim therefor is filed within one year after injury, except that if payment of weekly benefits has been made or remedial treatment has been furnished by the employer on account of the injury the claim may be filed within one year after the date of the last remedial treatment furnished by the employer or within two years after the date of the last payment of weekly benefits.
(b) The right to compensation for death shall be barred unless a claim therefor is filed within one year after the death of the employee.
(c) The claim shall be filed with the board and should contain such information as may be prescribed by rule or regulation of the board.
(d) The filing of any claim for injury or death under this chapter with any of the board's offices throughout the state shall be deemed proper filing with the board.
While you should always report your on the job injury to your supervisor as soon as it happens, there are other time-sensitive hurdles you may face later in the claim. It may be best to get help from a Georgia workers' compensation attorney if you need help with your claim, whether it's dealing with the claims adjuster or deciding whether to file a request for hearing.
Will My Workers Compensation Claim Be Denied Because of a Pre-Existing Condition?
One of the most frequent questions I get from potential clients concerns injuries or symptoms prior to their work injury. In fact, while legally the existence of symptoms or injuries experienced before an on the job injury standing alone is not a valid basis for denial of a workers comp claim, this concept is universally relied on by insurance companies and insurance adjusters in denying claims for workers compensation benefits even where the injured worker is totally disabled by an accidental injury at work. In general, for example, if you suffered lower back pain prior to injuring your lower back at work, you may still have a valid claim for workers compensation benefits including temporary total disability and medical benefits. However, the analysis can be complicated and highly dependent on the medical evidence.
For that reason, it is recommended that injured workers with prior symptoms or injuries retain an experienced workers compensation attorney to discuss the details. Attorney T. Andrew Miller spent years working for workers compensation insurance companies and claims adjusters and understands what can win or lose your case in court.
Need Help with a Georgia Workers' Compensation Claim?
If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job, you should consider speaking with an attorney about your case as soon as possible. Experienced Atlanta workers' compensation lawyer T. Andrew Miller can provide guidance to help you though this difficult time and even push your case toward a favorable outcome. To get started, call us at (678) 894-4758 for a free, no-risk consultation.