Don’t Let the Insurance Company or Your Employer Take Advantage of You
Getting injured on the job can be stressful and overwhelming. And far too often, employees find themselves fighting with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance while bills and medical expenses pile up. When that happens, it’s important to talk to a workers’ comp lawyer who can help ensure that the information you provide the insurance company is substantial enough to ensure that you are covered while you’re out of work.
If you’ve suffered an injury on the job, we can help you obtain just compensation. The George McCranie Law Firm represents injured Georgia workers against workers’ comp insurance companies who try to take advantage of them. Contact us today to learn more about how you can recover all the damages owed to you.
Workers’ Compensation Is No-Fault Insurance
Workers’ compensation works on a no-fault system. That means that, regardless of who is responsible for the accident that caused your injury, you are still entitled to collect payments related to your medical expenses and lost wages. As a trade-off for the no-fault system, employers enjoy immunity from lawsuits.
That doesn’t mean that you can never sue anyone while you’re on the job. It only means that you cannot sue your employer if they cover you with workers’ compensation insurance. In other words, even if your employer is to blame for the accident, you may not sue them. Furthermore, even if you are to blame for the accident, your employer cannot prevent you from recovering damages.
However, it’s important to remember that your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy will not pay out in cases where you willfully injured yourself, were fighting on the job, or were intoxicated by drugs or alcohol in the workplace.
Independent contractors can sue a contract-employer for negligence and, if you are injured by an independent contractor, you can sue them directly to recover damages. Additionally, if you are injured by a malfunctioning piece of equipment, you can so the manufacturer of that equipment to recover damages. In some cases, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party liability claim.
Who Is Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
The State of Georgia requires that all employers with three or more employees carry workers’ compensation insurance. So long as the company you work for has three or more employees, it is required by the State of Georgia to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
What Benefits Are Available to Me Under Georgia Workers’ Compensation?
Under Georgia’s workers’ compensation rules, you are entitled to three categories of benefits. Those are:
- Medical bills. Any medical expenses that you owe as a result of a work-related injury should be 100% recoverable. In other words, your employer’s insurance policy should foot the entire bill for any medical expenses. This includes extended periods of rehabilitation. However, the insurance provider will give you a list of doctors that you can see. You are generally not allowed to select your own doctor should you need an extended period of recovery.
- Lost wages. If your injury prevents you from working, you are eligible to recover a percentage of your lost wages (66.6%). In cases where you suffer a ‘catastrophic’ injury (a permanent impairment that precludes you from doing your job effectively), you can recover benefits for the entire time you’re not working. If the injury is repairable and does not prevent you from doing your job, you can receive wage benefits for no more than 400 weeks.
- Death benefits. If you die on the job, your spouse and dependents are eligible to recover death benefits. These reimburse them for expenses related to your medical care, funeral costs, and lost wages.
What Should I Do If the Insurance Company Denied My Claim?
For some claims, workers’ compensation insurers will pay out rather quickly. For instance, if you fell off a ladder and broke your arm, there’s little doubt that you were on the job, were injured, and will need time off.
How the Insurance Company Tries to Deny Claims
Where workers’ compensation insurers become reluctant, however, is in the case of repetitive stress injuries. For instance, let’s say your job required you to transport heavy machinery or boxes for an extended period of time. Over that period of time, your back weakens and, eventually, you end up with a bulging disc in your lower back. This might require an extended period of rest, physical therapy, or even surgery.
The insurance company looks through your records and finds an instance where you received medical care for a broken wrist you injured during a football game, tendinitis related to baseball or tennis, or some other injury related to a recreational activity that you enjoy.
Now, the insurance company is saying that they don’t have enough information to determine whether or not the injury is related to your work or your recreational activities. They’re pointing at the time you received medical care for such-and-such injury related to such-and-such recreational activity. They deny your claim. Can they get away with that?
A Workers’ Comp Lawyer Can Help You Appeal a Denial
The answer is, only if you allow them to. At the point at which your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision and request a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Testimony may include medical evidence, the testimony of doctors, your own testimony and witnesses at work.
The burden of proof is on you to show that the injury was related to your work (and not some other activity). Even if the judge denies your claim, you can appeal that decision. At The George McCranie Law Firm, our job is to present the court with all of the evidence that your injury was related to your work.
But you should also be aware that repetitive stress injuries are more complicated claims and take longer to resolve.
Consult With a Workers’ Comp Lawyer at The George McCranie Law Firm Today
If you’ve been injured on the job, The George McCranie Law Firm may be able to help you recover the workers’ compensation money that you are owed by law. If a third-party is responsible for your injuries, you can sue that third-party and recover damages related to your injury. To learn more about how a Douglas GA workers’ comp lawyer can help, contact us today.