Hasner Law | Workers' Compensation | March 3, 2023
Workers’ compensation insurance protects injured employees by providing medical benefits for injuries and lost time benefits. However, many myths about workers’ compensation claims could prevent some workers from receiving the benefits they deserve. Our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers put some of these workers’ comp myths to bed.
Workers’ Comp Myth 1: My Employer Can Fire Me if I File for Workers’ Compensation
You might worry about losing your job if you report a workplace injury or file a workers’ compensation claim. While Georgia is an at-will employment state, it does not mean employers can file workers for illegal reasons.
For example, employment discrimination is prohibited. Therefore, an employer cannot fire you based on sex, race, age, color, national origin, gender identification, and other protected classes.
Likewise, workers’ compensation laws prohibit employers from firing you because you were injured or filed a workers’ comp claim. However, there could be a valid reason for firing an employer who is receiving workers’ comp benefits or after filing a claim. Contact an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer immediately if you were terminated after reporting a work-related injury or accident.
Workers’ Comp Myth 2: I Cannot Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits if the Injury Was My Fault
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. You do not need to prove negligence to receive benefits. Likewise, you can receive workers’ comp benefits even though you might have been partially to blame for your work injury.
However, exceptions could result in a denial of a workers’ comp claim. For example, you might be denied workers’ comp benefits if you were drunk or using drugs when you were injured. Also, if you intentionally caused your work injury, you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Comp Myth 3: I Should Not File a Workers’ Comp Claim for Minor Injuries
You might believe that filing a workers’ comp claim for a minor injury is not worth it. However, failing to timely report an injury and seek medical care could result in a denial of benefits.
A minor injury could worsen. Do not ignore minor work injuries because you might need benefits to pay medical bills and lost wages.
Workers’ Comp Myth 4: You Cannot File a Workers’ Comp Claim if You Were Not Hurt on Company Property
Recovering workers’ compensation benefits requires you to prove you were injured in the ordinary course of your employment. However, it does not require you to be injured at your employer’s primary place of business. Workers’ compensation could cover an injury at another location.
For example, assume you are installing carpet in a customer’s home when you are injured. Workers’ comp could cover that injury if you were performing your regular work duties. Likewise, you could receive workers’ comp if you were injured while delivering goods to a customer.
Workers’ Comp Myth 5: Workers’ Compensation Is Your Only Source of Recovery for a Work-Related Injury
In most cases, a workers’ compensation claim is the sole source of recovery for a workplace accident. The law prohibits workers from filing lawsuits against their employers for injuries covered by workers’ comp. However, there are exceptions.
For example, you might be able to sue your employer for a work injury if your employer did not have the required workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Also, you could sue your employer if they intentionally harmed you.
You might also have a third-party claim for a workplace injury. Third-party claims can be filed in addition to workers’ compensation. These claims are personal injury claims against a party who caused your injury.
For example, suppose you sustained an injury while working on a client’s property. The property owner could be liable under premises liability. Likewise, a manufacturer could be liable under product liability laws for a defective product injury.
Third-party claims provide additional compensation for damages not covered by workers’ comp.
For instance, you could receive reimbursement for all loss of income, whereas workers’ comp only covers roughly 2/3 of your lost wages. In addition to the loss of income, a third-party claim could reimburse you for all out-of-pocket expenses and other economic damages.
Additionally, a third-party claim could entitle you to non-economic damages for your pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation does not pay any benefits for these damages.
The Workers’ Compensation Provider Does Not Have Your Best Interest in Mind
You should not assume that your employer or the insurance company works in your best interest. Instead, the insurance company works to limit how much it must pay to settle a workers’ comp claim.
It is best to seek legal advice from an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer. A lawyer evaluates your case and explains all sources of recovery for a workplace injury during a free consultation. Then, you have the information you need to protect your right to fair compensation for a work-related injury.
Contact the Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help
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