Stephen Hasner | Workers' Compensation | February 6, 2023
If you suffer a work-related accident that can be attributed to your employer, your first option is generally to file a workers’ compensation claim. The State Board of Workers’ Compensation governs workers’ compensation claims in Georgia.
The rules that apply to a workers’ compensation claim are different from the rules that apply to a personal injury claim. You are entitled to economic damages only, for example. In other words, you cannot claim non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. The substantive law and deadlines involved are also different.
When To Report a Workplace Injury
You should report a workplace injury as soon as it happens. Although it is acceptable to submit a verbal report, it is better to follow up with a written report as soon as possible. In any case, you must report your accident within 30 days of its occurrence to avoid the risk of losing benefits.
Some injuries, such as repetitive strain injuries, are cumulative. This means that you might not be able to identify the origin of your injury to a specific event, such as an accident. In this case, you should report your injury as soon as you become aware of it.
When To File a Claim If Your Employer Fails To File Your Claim With the Workers’ Comp Insurance Company
Georgia law generally requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Once you report an injury, your employer must inform their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If they fail to do so, you have until one year after your accident to report it yourself.
You will know that your employer has dropped the ball on this issue if they fail to provide you with medical treatment or lost wages within a reasonable time. To file a claim with the insurance company yourself, you must fill out Form WC-14.
When To File a Claim If You Have Already Received Medical Benefits
Maybe you have already received medical benefits over your work-related accident, but you wish to file a claim (to receive lost wage benefits, for example). If the workers’ compensation insurance carrier paid for your medical treatment, you have one year to file a workers’ compensation claim using Form WC-14.
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier must have paid for your medical treatment, not your own health insurance carrier.
When To File a Claim If You Have Already Received Compensation for Lost Wages
If you have already received compensation for lost wages due to your work-related injury, you have until two years after your accident to file a workers’ compensation claim using Form WC-14. Contrast this two-year deadline with the one-year deadline for filing a claim once you have received medical treatment.
Your claim can include a claim for diminished earning power if you returned to work but at reduced hours or at lower wages.
When To Claim Mileage Reimbursement
You might need to travel extensively on account of your injury. You might need numerous out-of-town hospital visits, for example. When this happens, you are entitled to mileage reimbursement if you drove your car.
You have one year from the date of each appointment to claim mileage reimbursement for that appointment. The insurer then has 30 days to pay you.
Preparing To File a Claim
To file a workers’ compensation claim, you will need to prepare the following:
- Form WC-14;
- All documentation related to your medical treatment, including even receipts for OTC medicine you purchased; and
- All documentation related to missed work time and the value of this time.
Your lawyer can help you prepare your claim.
Should You Hire a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
If you have a potential workers’ compensation claim, you have the right to hire an attorney to represent you. Your attorney can help you through both the administrative phase and the litigation phase.
Hiring an attorney might benefit you if you have a substantial claim. In any event, you have very little to lose by scheduling a free initial consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Contact the Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help
We serve in Fulton County, Chatham County, and its surrounding areas: