Workers’ compensation is a system that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill due to a workplace accident or dangerous environment. Some of the benefits available to employees eligible for workers’ compensation are medical expenses, income replacement, and death benefits. Most states require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. The state of Georgia requires employers to pay for insurance to cover any of their employees’ workers’ compensation claims. If you are injured or become ill due to a workplace incident, you may be entitled to compensation benefits. You will need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in order to protect your rights. 770-Good-Law can help you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.
If you believe you have a valid workers’ compensation claim, you will have numerous questions regarding your rights. Here are just five of the most common questions injured parties have regarding workers’ compensation claims:
Five Common Questions About Workers’ Compensation
1) Who is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits?
Workers’ compensation benefits are available for most employees. Every state (with the exception of Texas) requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In essence, it is disability insurance for employees who become injured or ill as a direct result of their employment. However, there may be some employers of small businesses who are not required to carry workers’ compensation for their employees. Nevertheless, as a general rule, if you are an employee of a company and you are injured or become ill as a result of something that occurred while on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation.
There are some exceptions as to who is entitled to workers’ compensation. In Georgia, you will not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you are an independent contractor, licensed real estate broker or associate, rail common carrier engaged in interstate/intrastate commerce, domestic servant, and farm laborer. Each state has its own rules, regulations, and limitations. If your claim is based in another state, you will need to check with that state’s specific workers’ compensation benefits rules. Federal workers are covered under a different workers’ compensation system.
2) Can I receive workers’ compensation benefits if I have a pre-existing condition or the accident was my fault?
You can file a workers’ compensation claim even if you have a pre-existing condition. If a work injury or illness has been aggravated by a pre-existing condition, you are still eligible for compensation benefits. Remember to always be truthful about your current and past medical condition. It is important to distinguish the state of your health before the accident and after the accident. This information is key to helping determine what benefits you may receive.
Outside of a few exceptions, even if the accident is your fault, you should still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If the workplace injury or illness is the result of criminal actions on your part, or you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be denied workers’ compensation benefits.
3) What type of benefits can I receive from a workers’ compensation claim?
Workers’ compensation benefits should cover your medical expenses directly attributed to your workplace injury or illness. Medical expenses may include all doctor’s and hospital expenses, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and out-of-pocket expense for required travel for medical purposes and any other related expenses, such as the cost of medical equipment. If you are permanently or temporarily disabled, you may receive a disability settlement in either a lump sum payment or structured payments. This settlement will be based on an estimation of total current and future medical expenses and costs. The family of an employee who is killed on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits.
In addition to medical costs, you should also receive payments for some of your lost wages. Wage replacement will be approximately two-thirds of your standard pay in most states. Payments for vocational retraining may also be available to you.
4) What happens if my employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance?
All states (except for Texas) require employers of a certain size to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If an employer fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance, then that employer is guilty of a criminal misdemeanor and will be subject to stiff financial and legal penalties. Some of these potential penalties include, but may not be limited to:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Imprisonment for up to 12 months
- Lawsuits on behalf of the injured parties
- Paying attorney’s fees, civil penalties, and an additional 10% in compensation for the injured worker.
In short, the employer may end up paying more money in fines and legal costs than they would have paid out if they complied with the workers’ compensation requirement statute.
If your employer violates the law and does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you can still seek compensation for your workplace injuries. You may seek to sue your employer personally. Also, a premises liability suit against your employer’s business premises liability insurance may be available to you. If your injuries are due to faulty equipment, a potential product liability suit against the manufacturer of the equipment may also be an option.
5) How do I file a workers’ compensation claim?
There is a time limit to file a workers’ compensation claim. The deadline to file a claim is determined by each state. If you fail to file your claim before the deadline, you may forfeit all of your benefits.
If you are injured at work, you should seek medical attention immediately. After you have been medically assessed, you should then notify your employer of your injury. After informing your employer of your injury, your employer should then give you all of the information and forms you need to file your workers’ compensation claim. In order to fully protect your rights and ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries, you should then contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Located in Norcross and Riverdale, Georgia, 770-Good-Law attorneys are experienced at representing clients in workers’ compensation claims. 770-Good-Law can help you determine and protect your rights. Call Today.