Stephen Hasner | Workers' Compensation | October 22, 2023
Marked by moments of anticipation, joy, and preparation, pregnancy is a remarkable and transformative experience. Unfortunately, even during this magical period of life, the unexpected can sometimes strike. Imagine being a pregnant worker, balancing the responsibilities of your job while nurturing the life growing inside you, when you suddenly find yourself injured at work.
If you or someone you know is pregnant and has suffered a workplace injury in Georgia, you may wonder how the pregnancy could affect a claim for workers’ compensation. At Hasner Law, we can answer any questions you may have about how workers’ compensation works in Georgia. Our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in this field, so they have what it takes to guide you through the legal process from start to finish.
What Georgia Workers Should Know About Pregnancy and Workplace Injuries
Pregnancy is a life-changing time period for expectant parents. However, when it comes to navigating the complexities of workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims, pregnancy can add an extra layer of complication.
Pregnant workers, like any other employees, are entitled to the benefits of workers’ compensation if they sustain injuries on the job. However, certain aspects of pregnancy can make the claims process more complicated than the average case. These factors may include:
Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment
Pregnant workers may hesitate to seek medical attention for workplace injuries out of concern for their unborn child. This delay can impact the effectiveness of treatment and the strength of their workers’ compensation claim.
Some complications related to pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or hypertension, can make pregnant workers more susceptible to workplace injuries. These pre-existing conditions may affect the workers’ compensation process, as it can be challenging to determine if the injury was solely work-related.
Light Duty Restrictions
Doctors may place pregnant workers on light duty or recommend specific restrictions to protect the health of the mother and baby. Employers are required to accommodate these restrictions, but disputes may arise over whether the assigned light-duty work is suitable or safe.
Termination or Discrimination
Pregnant employees who file workers’ compensation claims may face concerns about retaliation, discrimination, or even termination. Employers may wrongfully perceive the claim as a burden or view it negatively.
Legal Protections for Pregnant Workers
Several federal and state laws protect the rights of pregnant workers in the context of workers’ compensation and employment:
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA):
The FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during any 12-month period for the birth and care of a newborn child. This law can provide some job security while recovering from a workplace injury during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
This federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Employers cannot treat pregnant workers unfairly because they filed a workers’ compensation claim.
Georgia House Bill 480
Effective July 1, 2023, Georgia House Bill 480 raised maximum rates for Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), and Permanent Partial Disability (PPD). TTD and PPD rates increased from $725.00 to $800.00 per week, while the maximum TPD rate rose from $483.00 to $533.00 per week. The bill also clarified eligibility criteria for dependency benefits for unmarried partners in cases of their partner’s death, requiring a relationship similar to marriage without assuming total disability.
Contact a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney for a Free Case Review
Pregnancy can indeed affect your workers’ compensation claim, but it shouldn’t prevent you from receiving the benefits and protections you deserve. If you’re an expectant worker or know someone who is, understanding your rights and how to navigate this process is crucial. Don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel and support from a Hasner Law workers’ compensation attorney. Your well-being and your growing family deserve the utmost attention and care.