Know Your Rights as an Injured Worker Under Georgia Law
If you become injured or ill on the job, it’s crucial to know your rights as an injured worker under Georgia law. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney from Weaver Law Firm can advise of your rights and options and the process of obtaining the benefits you need.
For over two decades, the attorneys at Weaver Law Firm have stood up for the rights of injured workers throughout North Georgia. Our firm is committed to providing caring, personalized attention and service to each of our clients. As a full-service law firm, we have the experience and resources to handle any complications that may arise in your case.
Don’t wait to get the help you need. Contact us today for a free initial case evaluation to learn more about how a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney can help you assert your rights as a worker who has suffered an injury or occupational illness.
What Are My Rights as an Injured Worker under Georgia Law?
Under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws, employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness have certain rights, including:
- The right to receive medical care for your injury or illness
- The right to coverage of medical bills and other expenses associated with your injury
- The right to weekly income benefits if you must miss time from work while treating and recovering from your work injury or illness, equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage (subject to a cap)
- The right to continue receiving benefits if your injuries require you to return to a lesser paying job or position, equal to two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury income and the income you now earn
- The right for your family to receive benefits in the event of your death due to a workplace injury or occupational illness
- The right to have your claim filed by your employer with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier
- The right to appeal a decision if your claim for workers’ compensation benefits is denied
Can I Be Terminated for Being Injured on the Job?
An employer may not lawfully fire an employee simply because they filed a workers’ compensation claim after being injured on the job. It may also be unlawful discrimination if your employer fires you if you return to work in a light-duty position or your treating physician clears you to return to work with restrictions that your employer can reasonably accommodate, but your employer refuses.
However, an employer may fire an employee for any lawful reason or no reason at all, even if the employee suffered an injury on the job. But an employee may still file a workers’ compensation claim and continue to receive benefits on an accepted claim even after the employer has terminated the worker’s employment.
Who Can Be Excluded from Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?
Most workers in Georgia are entitled to benefits under the state workers’ compensation program if the worker suffers a workplace injury or occupational illness. The law requires any employer with three or more workers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Certain categories of employees fall outside the scope of Georgia’s workers’ compensation system, such as:
- Federal employees
- Railroad employees
- Farm laborers, although employers of agricultural workers may elect to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees
- Independent contractors, although a worker who is improperly classified as an independent contractor may actually be an employee and entitled to workers’ comp benefits
- Certain business owners and corporate officers who may elect to exempt themselves from workers’ compensation coverage
Responsibilities When Claiming Workers’ Compensation Benefits
As an employee claiming workers’ compensation benefits for a work-related injury or illness in Georgia, you have certain obligations and responsibilities to follow, including:
- You must follow all written safety rules and procedures that your employer has established.
- You must promptly report any workplace accident to your employer, supervisor/foreman, or your employer’s representative.
- You must submit to a tox screen following an on-the-job injury when your employer requests it.
- You must seek non-emergency treatment from an authorized provider when your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer has a listing of authorized providers. You may seek emergency treatment anywhere you like for the duration of the medical emergency, but you must return to your authorized provider when the emergency ends.
- You must cooperate with your medical providers when treating a work injury or occupational illness, including following all treatment instructions and accepting all reasonable services the State Board of Workers’ Compensation orders.
- You must notify your employer and its workers’ comp insurer when you have been medically cleared to return to part-time or full-time work.
- You must attempt any job or job duties that your treating physician has approved, even if you would receive lower pay than you were earning before your work injury or illness.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Comp in Georgia?
Under Georgia’s workers’ compensation law, you have 30 days to report a work injury from a workplace accident to your employer. If your employer or its insurer denies you workers’ compensation benefits, you have one year from the date of your work injury or the date of last authorized medical treatment, or two years from the date of last payment of weekly benefits to file a formal claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Failing to report a work injury or occupational illness to your employer or to file a formal claim with the state board on time could cause you to lose your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
Talk to a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free Today
If you have been injured in a workplace accident or have developed an occupational illness, contact Weaver Law Firm today. Our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers are ready to meet with you to discuss your case and your rights for free. We are committed to helping injured workers get back on their feet.
Call us or reach out to us online now for help.