Workers' Compensation


Accidents can happen anywhere, even at your workplace. Georgia law requires that employers carry workers' compensation insurance that covers your medical bills and replaces a portion of your wages when a workplace accident or occupational injury prevents you from returning to work. Workers' compensation laws were designed to provide income and medical benefits to protect employees and their dependents from the hardships resulting from injury or death arising out of their employment.

To be eligible for workers' compensation, the injured individual must be an employee, though not necessarily full-time. A written employment contract is not required to file for workers' compensation benefits. Under Georgia's Workers' Compensation law, an injured employee must have missed seven consecutive days of work due to a work-related injury or on-the-job accident in order to claim wage benefits. An employee that misses more than twenty-one consecutive days of work is eligible for wage benefits for the first seven days of work missed. Generally, an employee's wage benefit is equal to two-thirds of their average weekly wages, based on the thirteen week period prior to the work-related injury. These wage benefits generally continue, as long as the employee's doctor believes it is not appropriate for the injured employee to return to work (though the time period that an employee may receive wage benefits may be capped). Additionally, workers' compensation benefits entitle an injured employee to medical treatment related to their injury.

If your work-related injury affects your ability to work in the future, you may be entitled to a lump sum settlement as compensation. The amount of the compensation is dependent on a variety of factors, including your age, occupation and physical limitations. To the extent that you are 70% disabled, you may be entitled to receive a small pension for the rest of your life, and if you are totally disabled, the amount to which you are entitled increases substantially.

There are several important time deadlines that must be complied with in order to properly preserve a workers' compensation claim. Generally, if you have suffered an on-the-job injury, Georgia law provides that you must notify your supervisor within 30 days. While there are exceptions to this rule, failure to do so may result in the loss of benefits. Additionally, a Notice of Claim (Form WC-14) must be filed with the Workers' Compensation Board either: one year from the date of the injury; or one year from the date of the last authorized treatment paid for by your employer or its insurance company; or two years from the last payment of workers' compensation income benefits. Georgia law provides that an employee has twenty days to appeal an adverse decision by the Workers' Compensation Board. Failure to comply with these time requirements may result in a loss of your legal rights.

The complex issues routinely surfacing in workers' compensation litigation make it difficult to handle a workers' compensation case on your own. Coleman, Chambers & Rogers has the knowledge and experience to represent you if you have been injured in an on-the-job accident or suffered other work-related injuries.