An Overview of the Workers’ Comp Process
An on the job injury may entitle you to compensation, but filing a workers compensation claim can be a long and complex process. The thought of a legal battle over an injury can be intimidating to many people, particularly those who have never had to deal with a claim before. One of the best ways to achieve a successful result is to prepare for the road ahead. While your claim is unique and will have many of its own obstacles along the way, here is an extremely generalized claim timeline to help you know what to expect.
1. Inform Your Employer
You will need to do this within 30 days, but it’s best to do it as soon as possible. Your employer is not required by law to cover treatment from any licensed doctor, but must provide you with a network that has at least six doctors for you to choose from that they will cover. When you inform your employer, they will give you this list. If your injury results in an emergency, skip this step and seek treatment immediately. Your employer is required to cover any licensed doctor in the event of emergencies.
2. See a Doctor
The doctor you choose will examine and diagnose your condition and prescribe any medications as well as other treatment procedures. If you do not agree with the diagnosis or feel as though the care is inadequate, you may request a one-time second opinion appointment with any doctor of your choosing that your employer is required to cover.
3. Notify the Board
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation will provide you with a WC-14 form. Fill this out thoroughly and return copies of it to the Board, your employer, and their insurance company. This is the official formal filing of your claim. It’s not a bad idea to have your attorney review this form with you before you officially file it.
Your employer’s insurance company will then have a time limit to act on your claim by either accepting or denying it. Should they deny it, you can appeal the decision with the Board.
4. Your Initial Hearing
About a month or two after your initial claim, the Board will hold your initial claim hearing, in which you will give your deposition (testimony under oath). Based on this testimony, the insurance company will likely request treatment records and other additional information. From there, they will either offer a settlement or act on your claim.
5. Your Second Hearing
About a month later, you will undergo a second hearing, which may or may not resolve your issue, but may also result in your employer’s insurance requesting more information or an independent medical exam (IME).
6. Your Third Hearing
A couple months after this, once both sides have obtained the evidence necessary to prepare your case, you will finally be ready to present it before an administrative law judge. If the judge rules in your favor, your employer’s insurance must accept your claim and you should receive compensation soon. If they deny it, then you may appeal again. It’s worth noting, however, that most cases are resolved via settlement before they reach this point in the timeline.
If you need assistance with your workers’ compensation claim, Cummings & Middlebrooks, LLP may be able to help you. With more than 30 years of experience and millions of dollars recovered on behalf of our clients, our team can be the ally you need to face your claim with confidence. We are proudly AV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and our long list of highly satisfied client stand as a testament to our unwavering dedication to our clients’ well-being. We are motivated by your success, and place your goals at the forefront of our strategy and all legal decisions.
Request your free consultation today! Call Cummings & Middlebrooks, LLP at 404-990-4432 to schedule an appointment.