Many people do not understand the workers’ compensation process or
even know they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
That’s why the attorneys at Cummings & Middlebrooks have dedicated
their careers to helping workers understand this important topic as well
as navigate the complicated process of obtaining income and medical benefits.
Below are common workers’ compensation questions that we often receive.
Common Workers’ Comp Questions:
What is workers’ compensation? Workers’ compensation benefits are available following a work-related
injury or industrial illness. If an injury arises out of and in the course
and scope of employment, the worker is entitled to benefits that may include
weekly income payments and medical treatment from a professional physician.
In Georgia, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation
insurance. However, employers with less than three employees are exempt
and not required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance.
What types of benefits are offered? Available benefits can include payment of medical expenses, medical mileage
reimbursement, weekly benefit payments for total or partial disability,
and, in most cases, permanent partial disability payments for impairment
ratings associated with the work injury and assigned by your treating
physician. For more information regarding income benefits, visit our
income benefits page. Death benefits are available to surviving spouses and dependents
of workers. Visit our
catastrophic injury/death page for more information.
What types of injuries or diseases are covered? Essentially, all types of work-related injuries and industrial illnesses
are covered by workers’ compensation. Common examples include repetitive
use injuries like carpal-tunnel syndrome, joint injuries, back and neck
injuries, wrist/hand injuries, and foot/ankle injuries. An aggravation
of a pre-existing condition can be covered as long as the aggravation
persists. Lastly, psychological problems can be covered if accompanied
by an actual physical injury.
What steps should I take if I am injured at work?
First: you should immediately seek medical treatment at the nearest facility.
Second: give notice of the accident and injury to your employer as soon as practically
possible. In Georgia, you are required to notify your employer within
thirty (30) days of the accident occurrence.
Third: contact an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to assist you in filing
a claim to insure you receive all benefits to which you are entitled.
Can I choose my own doctor? Beyond emergency treatment, the choice of a treating physician may belong
to the employer or the employee, depending on the situation. Sometimes
the employee is allowed to choose any physician to oversee their medical
treatment, and other times the employee must choose from a list of medical
providers compiled by the employer. See our
Medical Benefits page for more information.
What if my work injury was caused by a third party not associated with
my employer? In most cases, and in the absence of willful misconduct on your part, you
are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you are harmed
in the course and scope of your employment duties. If a third party is
at fault, you will still be able to pursue workers’ compensation
benefits against your employer, and may also be able to sue the third
party that caused the injury in a separate action. The third party could
be a manufacturer, distributor or seller of faulty equipment, or a negligent
driver who causes a work-related motor vehicle accident.
You’ve been injured on the job, what next?
Workers’ compensation laws are complicated and it can be easy to
make mistakes if you elect to proceed alone and without legal representation.
While anyone injured on the job can file a workers’ compensation
claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, it is usually
advisable to do so with the help of an experienced lawyer.