Stephen R. Hasner
Managing Partner at Hasner Law PC
July 11, 2024

Key Takeaways About Workers’ Comp Litigation in Savannah

  • Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia, an employee must have been injured while performing job duties, with exceptions for independent contractors and other specific issues.
  • Claims Process: Successfully navigating a workers’ compensation claim requires understanding specific legal requirements, such as the need for medical evidence, timely reporting to employers, and the potential for third-party claims, underscoring the importance of accurate documentation and legal knowledge in securing benefits.
  • Coverage Limitations: Georgia’s workers’ compensation system provides benefits for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages due to on-the-job injuries. It excludes coverage for pain and suffering, accidents occurring during breaks, and injuries sustained under the influence or due to willful misconduct.
  • Legal Assistance: An experienced Hasner Law workers’ compensation attorney can help navigate the complex claim process, from conducting thorough investigations and identifying potential benefits to representing clients in negotiations and ensuring accurate and timely paperwork.
Savannah Workers' Compensation Lawyer

Workplace injuries can disrupt your life with significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences. From medical bills and rehabilitation costs to lost wages, these burdens can be overwhelming. Often, victims of workplace accidents are unsure of their next steps and how to recover benefits for the losses they have endured. Fortunately, those injured in a workplace accident may be eligible for benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. 

Have you been hurt at work? The workers’ compensation system is complicated. There is a lot of red tape and rules about when you can and cannot receive benefits. For that reason, it’s important to talk to a Hasner Law attorney in Savannah who specializes in workers’ compensation cases to ensure you get the benefits you deserve. Give the Savannah workers’ compensation attorneys at Hasner Law a call to schedule a free consultation. We have over 100 years of combined experience helping people secure the benefits they deserve.

How Can an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help Me?

Our team of talented workplace injury attorneys is dedicated to safeguarding your rights and interests as you recover from your injuries. We understand the confusion and uncertainty that can follow a workplace accident, and we’re dedicated to offering our full support during this challenging time. Some of the many ways we can assist you include the following:

  • Conducting Thorough Investigations Into Your Accident: Our team will meticulously examine every aspect of your accident to uncover crucial details that could influence the outcome of your case. This comprehensive approach ensures no stone is left unturned as we fight for you.
  • Identifying Potential Benefits: We will evaluate your situation to determine what types of benefits you might be entitled to, considering the unique circumstances of your case. Our goal is to maximize the benefits you receive during your recovery.
  • Representing You in Negotiations: Our seasoned attorneys will handle negotiations with all relevant parties, including employers and insurance companies, to advocate for your best interests. We aim to secure the most favorable terms possible on your behalf.
  • Ensuring Timely and Accurate Paperwork: The complexity of legal documentation can be daunting. Our team will take care of filing all necessary paperwork correctly and within the required deadlines, alleviating one of the many stresses you may be facing.
  • Clarifying Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Laws: We will provide you with a clear understanding of how Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws apply to your case.
  • Providing Answers to Your Legal Questions: Whatever questions you may have, our attorneys are here to provide detailed, understandable answers, ensuring you feel fully informed every step of the way.
  • Offering Guidance Throughout the Legal Process: From the initial consultation to the resolution of your case, we will guide you through every phase of the legal process. 

At Hasner Law, our skilled attorneys recognize that each workplace injury case is distinct and demands a personalized approach. We tailor our legal strategies to best suit your individual needs, ensuring you receive the dedicated support and representation you rightfully deserve.

What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance which is paid for by your employer. It was created to help cover an injured worker’s medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost income. In Savannah, Georgia your employer is required to carry a workers’ compensation policy if the company has at least three employees. However, there are several exceptions to Georgia’s workers’ compensation insurance requirements, including the following:

  • Railroad carriers
  • U.S. government agencies
  • Farm workers

Workers’ compensation is designed to not only protect employees in the event of an accident, but also to shield employers from liability. In other words, injured employees who qualify for workers’ compensation insurance cannot sue their employers for additional damages. However, you may have grounds to file a third-party claim against a contractor or other liable party depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. 

Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?

Most employers in Georgia who have three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits for their employees if they are hurt on the job. To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the following factors must apply to your situation:

You Were Injured While Performing Your Job Duties

If you were injured while doing your job. Whether you were on-site or off-site, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This rule also applies if you become sick due to exposure to toxic chemicals or other unsafe conditions over time. 

However, those who are injured or become ill at work due to underlying health conditions like heart disease may not be eligible to claim benefits. A Hasner Law attorney can review every detail of your case to clarify any confusion surrounding your eligibility status. 

Employment Status

If you are employed at a company or agency that withholds taxes, you are considered an employee of the company and can claim workers’ compensation benefits. Full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees all qualify, and it does not matter if you are salaried or get paid on an hourly basis. Workers’ compensation benefits begin from when you are hired and you do not have to pass a probationary period to become eligible. If you are injured on your first day of the job, you likely have grounds to claim benefits. 

Unfortunately, independent contractors and freelancers are not considered employees and are usually not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are many cases where workers are misclassified. A skilled Hasner Law attorney can analyze every detail of your case to determine your employment status and how it may impact your claim for compensation.

Causes of Workplace Accidents in Georgia

While many individuals associate workplace accidents with hazardous work such as construction or manufacturing, a workplace accident can occur anywhere. A few common causes of workplace accidents include:

Lifting Injuries

Many occupations require employees to lift heavy objects. If proper form and equipment are not used, employees may suffer severe muscle strains, sprains, and tears, among other injuries. It is essential to ask for help if you do not believe you can lift something safely, be sure to ask for help to avoid injuries. 


Fatigue and tiredness can cause several types of workplace accidents. From atrophy and exhaustion to critical machinery errors and falls, fatigue can be a source of many more significant injuries or conditions. 

Poor Lighting

Under poor lighting conditions, workplace accidents become far more likely. Slips, trips, falls, and other accidents become more likely. Ensuring you have appropriate lighting can help prevent injuries to yourself and others in the workplace.

Hazardous Materials

Several workplaces expose workers to toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials. This exposure can cause burns, illness, and other life-altering injuries. Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential for protecting yourself from corrosive materials while on the job. 

Workplace Violence

Unfortunately, many workplace injuries are caused by other employees or customers. Violence stemming from workplace politics or sensitive issues can lead to severe injuries. In Georgia, workers’ compensation insurance covers victims of workplace violence.


Slips, trips, and falls are common in any workplace and can cause broken bones and other significant injuries for victims. Falls from a height on a construction site or other worksite with high scaffolding can cause even more severe injuries. Regardless of the cause of your fall, you may have grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim if you fell while at work.


Workplaces with heavy machinery and other equipment can be especially hazardous for employees. When these large or heavy pieces of equipment become untethered, they may fall on or pin an unsuspecting employee, causing significant injuries. Victims of crushing accidents often require extensive rehabilitation, making it essential to contact a Hasner Law attorney without delay.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many individuals are required to be on the road as a part of their job duties. This places these employees at risk to sustain injuries in a motor vehicle accident. While workers’ compensation does not cover those injured while in a collision on their daily commute, you can claim workers’ compensation if you are injured in a car accident while on the job.

What Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Savannah?

Workers’ compensation benefits apply only to injuries which occur “on-the-job.” This means that your injury must arise out of your employment in order to file a claim for benefits. In other words, it has to happen in the course of your employment while you were doing the work that you were paid to do. This can sound a bit complex, so let’s consider a few instances where you would not be entitled to workers’ comp.

First, you are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits if your injury occurred during your commute to or from work. You are also not entitled to benefits for accidents that happen while you are on a break. Further, workers’ compensation does not cover willful misconduct.

Generally speaking, Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws offer what is referred to as “no-fault” coverage. This means that even if an accident occurs because of a mistake you made, you will still be eligible to receive benefits. However, if you intentionally hurt yourself or got into a fistfight with another employee, this would be considered willful misconduct, and you would not be eligible for benefits.

Our Savannah Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Assist With Various Types of Workplace Injuries

Atlanta Worker's Compensation Attorney Stephen Hasner

Workers’ compensation covers a wide variety of injuries which occur in the workplace. The most common types of injuries are those caused by overexertion. This often happens when an employee is lifting or moving heavy objects. Trips and falls are another common cause of on-the-job injuries.

We also assist clients with less common workplace accidents, such as:

  • Vehicle collisions, such as car accidents
  • Brain injuries
  • Explosions
  • Electrocution and burns injuries
  • Injuries from repetitive motion (which can lead to issues like carpal tunnel).

Make no mistake about it, these accidents can take a toll on the body. We’ve seen injuries like sprains, fractures, inflammation, head trauma, amputation, spinal cord injuries or damage, and in some cases even death. Don’t ever assume that your injury won’t be covered, regardless of how minor or severe you think it is. Contact one of our workers’ compensation attorneys in Savannah, GA to talk about your potential workers’ compensation claim.

What Happens After a Workplace Injury?

After an accident, it’s important to notify your employer as soon as possible. Note that if you wait longer than 30 days to report your workplace injury, you may be denied workers’ compensation benefits.

Further, you must receive medical care from a physician that has been pre-authorized by your employer. In other words, you cannot simply visit your family physician for these types of injuries. Your employer is required to furnish you with a list of approved physicians from which to choose.

Now, there is an exception to this rule in cases of emergency. If you are in need of urgent medical care, you may visit the ER. You will then be reimbursed for the emergency medical bills. Bear in mind that any follow-up care for your injuries must be obtained through a pre-authorized medical provider.

It’s important to follow the guidelines for recovery issued by your doctor. This might mean making appointments with specialists, taking your medication, and doing rehabilitation therapy. Failure to follow these recommendations could jeopardize your eligibility to continue receiving benefits. If you are having any issues with treatment, your medical provider, or obtaining reimbursement, reach out to a Hasner Law workers’ compensation attorney. We are here to help.

Evidence in Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claims

Gathering evidence can help support your workers’ compensation claim and improve your chances of securing the benefits you need to heal from your injuries. A few critical pieces of evidence in workers’ compensation claims include the following:

Medical Records

Medical documentation is the foundation of any workers’ compensation claim. Some records you may need include the following:

  • Physician’s Diagnosis and Care Plan: Comprehensive descriptions of the injury, its diagnosis, and the suggested approach for treatment can form the cornerstone of your medical documentation and bolster your claim.
  • Hospital Records: A summary of the care provided, encompassing surgical procedures, prescribed medications, and encountered complications, can provide context about the extent of your injuries and treatment.
  • Specialist Reports: Reports from specialists, such as orthopedists or neurologists, can enhance the thoroughness and credibility of the above medical evidence.

A Hasner Law attorney can help you obtain and organize this evidence to support your claim.

Witness Statements

Witnesses can provide a third-party perspective on the incident. These individuals may include the following:

  • Colleagues: Coworkers who witnessed the accident can provide crucial details about the events leading up to the incident.
  • Supervisors: Supervisor or manager insights can highlight potential safety oversights or breaches in procedures that may have contributed to your injuries.
  • Neutral Observers: If present, impartial witnesses can offer their objective accounts about the accident. 

If you are able, remain at the scene after the accident to speak to witnesses and gather their contact information. Witness statements may serve as critical evidence as your claim progresses. 

Employer Documentation

Work-related documents can help establish the context and conditions that contributed to the accident. Some documents to gather include the following:

  • Accident Report: Promptly following a workplace injury, an official report detailing the incident’s timeline and initial actions should be compiled.
  • Evidence of the Event: This includes photographs, videos, and any additional evidence pertinent to the accident.
  • Safety Documentation: Understanding the safety protocols in place can help clarify how the accident occurred. 

We can help you gather robust evidence from several sources to improve your odds at recovering the benefits you deserve.

Financial Documentation

Your financial records can establish the extent of your medical expenses and lost wages. These documents include the following:

  • Proof of Income: Pay stubs can be critical for determining the amount of benefits you are owed for lost income.
  • Receipts: Keep all receipts for direct expenses, such as prescriptions, transportation, and other costs related to the injury.
  • Healthcare Bills: Detailed invoices of the costs associated with your treatment can help ensure you are fairly compensated for your losses. 

Proving a workers’ compensation claim starts with seeking prompt medical attention and keeping records of everything related to the accident, including anything you heard, saw, or noticed. Your personal account of the incident could serve as critical evidence during your case. 

The Role of Evidence in a No-Fault Workers’ Compensation Claim

While injured workers are entitled to collect workers’ compensation insurance regardless of who is at fault for their accident and subsequent injuries, detailed evidence is still a critical piece of any successful workers’ compensation claim. A few ways evidence may be used include the following:

Establishing the Legitimacy of Your Claim

Although workers’ compensation operates on a no-fault basis, it’s necessary to present proof that the injury or illness occurred while performing your job duties. Supplying this proof can ensure your claim proceeds smoothly and help expedite your benefits. 

Proving the Extent of Your Injuries

Medical records and reports are crucial because they provide concrete documentation of your injury’s severity, which is essential for determining the appropriate amount of benefits. This evidence is particularly vital in establishing the treatment and rehabilitation you need workers’ compensation to cover to move your life forward. 

Accurately Calculating Your Benefits

Financial documents, such as your pay stubs and medical expenses, are critical for calculating the amount of benefits you are owed for lost wages and medical treatment. At Hasner Law, we consider your current and future needs as we fight for the maximum amount of benefits on your behalf.

Challenging Disputes or Denials

Even within a no-fault framework, employers or insurance providers might contest or deny a workers’ compensation claim. Robust evidence serves as a foundation to challenge these disputes and reinforce the legitimacy of your claim.

Aiding Settlement Negotiations

During settlement negotiations, evidence about your accident is the basis for determining a fair settlement amount. It can provide clear proof for the amount in benefits you need to recover from your losses.

Preparing for Trial

In the rare scenario that your workers’ compensation claim proceeds to trial, evidence becomes even more crucial. A Hasner Law attorney can analyze, present, and advocate for the legitimacy of the evidence and your claim to influence the judge’s final decision. 

What Benefits Am I Entitled To?

Keep in mind that the amount of benefits you are eligible to receive from workers’ comp is based on two factors: the nature of your injury, and your income prior to the accident. Here’s what you might be able to recover.

Medical Bills and Expenses

In most cases, you can get all of your medical bills related to the injury covered as well as any rehabilitation treatment you need to recover.

Lost Wages and Disability Benefits

Income benefits depend on whether your injury is classified as temporary or permanent, and whether you can return to work in some diminished capacity (such as light duty or reduced hours) or are completely unable to work. You are generally entitled to receive two-thirds of your lost income, up to the amount set by law. 

So, if you are completely unable to work, the amount you would receive in income benefits would be two-thirds of your total income before the injury. If you are working for less money, the amount you would receive in income benefits would be two-thirds of the difference between your current income and the income you earned at your previous position.   

Now, in most cases you can only get weekly income benefits until you are either healed or reach the maximum number of weeks set by law. However, if your injury is considered catastrophic or permanent, you may be able to get income benefits for the rest of your life.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Note that if your injury prevents you from returning to work at your previous position, you may also be entitled to what is known as “vocational rehabilitation.” Vocational rehabilitation may include programs such as job training and career counseling to help you find a new position.

Death Benefits

If you have a loved one that was killed in an on-the-job injury, you may be entitled to death benefits, including burial expenses. An employee’s dependents may also be entitled to receive weekly benefits to compensate for lost wages. This amount is generally two-thirds of the deceased employee’s pay, up to the maximum amount set by law.

What Losses Are Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Although Georgia’s workers’ compensation system aims to compensate victims fairly for their workplace-related injuries, there are several types of losses which are not covered, including the following:

Accidents While Under the Influence

Injuries sustained while under the influence of alcohol or drugs typically disqualify the individual from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Exceptions exist, such as in situations where a court determines the accident would have happened regardless of substance use. However, this is uncommon. 

Employers have the right to mandate drug and/or alcohol tests following an accident. Failure to comply with these tests can lead to the assumption you were intoxicated at the time of the accident, resulting in a denied claim. It is important to note a positive test result doesn’t immediately rule out the possibility of obtaining benefits, as it could indicate substance use well before the accident occurred.

Injuries Due to Willful Misconduct

Employers might employ an “affirmative defense,” arguing willful misconduct, such as deliberately ignoring safety protocols or self-inflicted injuries in an attempt to challenge your claim. Depending on the facts of your case, a Hasner Law attorney may be able to dispute your employer’s allegations. 

Accidents Occurring While on Break

Hourly employees are accustomed to clocking in and out during their shifts, including for legally required lunch breaks. During these breaks, employers have no say over how employees spend their time, allowing many to leave the workplace for a meal. While there’s no issue with taking an off site lunch, injuries sustained off the premises or while off the clock typically fall outside the scope of workers’ compensation.

In Georgia, there is no obligation for employers to provide workers’ compensation for injuries occurring during lunch breaks. Because employees are not on company time during these intervals, they bear full responsibility for their actions and any resulting injuries.

Heart Attacks or Strokes

Due to the prevalence of medical conditions such as heart attacks and strokes both within and outside of professional settings, specific conditions must be met for these life-threatening health issues to qualify for workers’ compensation coverage.

First, there must be extensive medical documentation confirming the individual experienced a heart attack or stroke. Additionally, it must be established the incident occurred in the workplace and during working hours. Another critical consideration is the affected employee’s risk level. Individuals with pre-existing risk factors, including obesity, hypertension, or a history of smoking, may face challenges claiming benefits.

Emotional Trauma

In recent years, there has been a significant push nationwide to expand workers’ compensation to cover PTSD, psychological trauma, and other mental health injuries. However, employees in Georgia must also sustain a physical injury to qualify for compensation for psychological harm. Georgia workers are unable to submit a workers’ compensation claim based solely on PTSD.

Pain and Suffering

Receiving benefits for pain and suffering refers to being financially compensated for the physical discomfort and distress caused by injuries. These benefits aim to address the range of negative emotions an individual may endure following an injury, such as anxiety, sadness, depression, anger, and diminished quality of life.

While pain and suffering damages are compensable in personal injury lawsuits, they are not covered under Georgia’s workers’ compensation system. Typically, for an injured worker to secure benefits for pain and suffering related to a workplace accident, they would need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a responsible third party.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Georgia

In Georgia, victims of workplace accidents have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim for benefits. However, it is important to note you must also notify your employer of the accident within 30 days to be eligible to pursue benefits. This legal deadline is significantly shorter than Georgia’s personal injury statute of limitations, which is two years. 

While one year may feel like plenty of time to obtain the benefits you deserve, it is critical to contact an experienced Hasner Law attorney as soon as possible. Evidence can be lost or damaged over time and witnesses to your accident may move away or change jobs. When you partner with our firm, your attorney will work quickly to investigate your case and collect evidence to support your claim.

Claims Against People Other Than Your Employer

It may be the case that something other than your working conditions or another employee caused your injury. If this situation occurs, you would not go through the workers’ compensation laws and would instead look into filing what is known as a “third-party claim.” This is a personal injury lawsuit that would seek to hold the person liable for your injury.

Note that the term third party does not include your employer or your supervisor. Injuries involving these individuals would likely be covered under workers’ comp. An example of an accident that would involve a third party would be getting hit by a drunk driver while you are out making deliveries for your employer. In this circumstance you may be able to file a workers’ comp claim AND a personal injury claim. These types of cases can be very complex, so it’s important to consult with a qualified Savannah workers’ compensation attorney.

Proving Negligence in a Third-Party Claim

While workers’ compensation cases are not based on the concept of fault, liability and negligence are critical in third-party personal injury claims. To pursue a strong case for damages, your attorney must prove the following essential elements:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care to act reasonably and responsibly to avoid accidents and subsequent injuries
  • The defendant breached the duty of care by acting negligently
  • The breach of the duty of care directly led to your accident
  • Your accident caused you to sustain injuries and other emotional and financial losses

At Hasner Law, our attorneys meticulously investigate every case to determine the cause of your accident as well as who may be held liable for your injuries and other losses. We are committed to defending your rights and interests as we fight for the maximum benefits available on your behalf.

When to Seek Help from a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Savannah, GA

Our Hasner Law workers’ compensation attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of the claims process and can help you at all stages. The attorney can evaluate your case to determine whether or not you will likely be eligible for benefits. If you are already receiving benefits, the attorney can determine whether or not you are getting the appropriate dollar amount, and make sure you continue to receive payments for the correct length of time.

You may be interested in receiving a lump sum settlement instead of monthly payments. A Hasner Law attorney can help negotiate this amount with the insurance company on your behalf. Further, if you are denied benefits or do not receive all of the benefits you are entitled to, a Hasner Law attorney will help you file a claim for benefits with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (“the Board”).

The Board will schedule a hearing on the matter and your attorney can represent you and present your side of the case. The Administrative Law Judge presiding over the hearing will then make a ruling.

Note that sometimes these cases go to mediation instead of a hearing. At the mediation, you will sit down with a neutral party to try to come to a settlement agreement which is beneficial to everyone.

Contact Our Top-Rated Savannah Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today

Remember, if you are denied benefits after a workplace injury, you must file a workers’ compensation claim within one year. Failure to do so will result in you losing your right to receive benefits. For that reason, it’s important not to delay and contact one of our Savannah workers’ compensation attorneys today.

Contact our workers’ compensation attorneys today for a free no-obligation case assessment at (678) 928-8784 or through our contact form. We have over 100 years of combined experience handling complex workers’ compensation claims. If you are injured on the job, have someone on your side to make sure you have the best chance of getting the benefits you are legally entitled to receive.

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Managing Partner at Hasner Law PC
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Stephen Hasner is the founder and managing partner of Hasner Law PC. Since being licensed in Florida in 1997 and in Georgia in 1999, Stephen has worked tirelessly to help Georgia residents navigate the legal process following a serious injury. This includes injuries sustained at work, in motor vehicle accidents, and in cases of personal injury. The team at Hasner Law is dedicated to securing compensation for their clients who have been injured through no fault of their own.