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What to Do if You Are Injured at Work

A workplace injury can have a substantial impact on the well-being of you and your family. You can be left with lasting pain, potentially expensive medical costs, and possibly be unable to work.  There are several things that you should do in order to protect your legal rights to workers' compensation. Make sure you have a firm understanding of your legal options in the event of a workplace injury, including your right to workers' compensation benefits. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job contact a personal injury attorney in Decatur at Marks Law Group for a case consultation.   

What Should I do After a Workplace Injury?

If you suffer an on-the-job injury, you should report it to your supervisor as soon as possible.  While some states require written notification, Georgia does not require a formal notification and simply telling your supervisor about the injury may be enough. To be safe, and to best protect your rights, it is still in your best interest to deliver a written notice to your supervisor when a workplace injury occurs.  The state of Georgia has requirements for timely action in at-work injury cases:

  • The injury must be reported to your employer within 30 days. This can be difficult to pinpoint in cases of overuse or repetitive motion injuries rather than a specific accident, so it is in your best interest to report a work-related injury as soon as it occurs.
  • A claim must be filed with the State Board of Workers' Compensation within 1 year should an employer fail to provide the injured worker with either medical treatment or indemnity benefits.  This claim must be filed via Form WC-14
  • If your injury is an emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.  Let the hospital staff know that your injury is work related once you arrive.  If you are able to safely do so, contact your employer for instructions or details in how to proceed.  
  • For injuries that do not require emergency medical care, make sure you get proper medical attention via first aid and visit a doctor if necessary.

Related: What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

How Do I File a Claim for Workers' Compensation?

The claims process for filing for workers' compensation benefits through the State Board is similar to filing an insurance claim. Remember that a request for benefits is not a lawsuit against an employer.

The first thing you should do when you decide to file a claim is to notify your employer.  It is their responsibility to offer you a claim form when they learn of the incident.  Until you have completed a claim form your employer is not obligated to provide benefits for your injury.  They should be able to supply you with the forms needed to file a claim.  If your injury requires emergency treatment or a visit to a doctor's office, you should be able to obtain the forms to begin a claim while you are there.  If you are unable to get the forms from your employer or medical provider contact the State's compensation board. 

Injured at Work

When completing the form fill out only the "Employee" section. Be sure you fill out the form in full, and sign and date it when completed.  Make a copy of the claim form to keep for your own personal records.   When it is done, return the form to your employer in person or through the mail. File your claim as quickly as possible or you may face delays in receiving your benefits.  

Your employer should complete the "Employer" section before forwarding the completed claim form to their workers' compensation insurance carrier. They should also give you a copy of the completed claim form, be sure to keep this for your personal records as well.  If you don't receive the completed form from your employer, request a copy from them.  It is important to have the entire process documented. 

The insurance company usually has 14 days to mail you a letter on the status of your compensation claim.  If you do not receive a letter at that time, call the insurance company.  Generally, the insurance company has fourteen (14) days to mail you a status letter about your claim. If you don't receive this letter, you should call the insurance company.

What Should I Do if my Employer Does Not Have Workers' Compensation Insurance?

If your employer claims to not have workers' compensation insurance, find legal representation as soon as possible. The State of Georgia's compensation regulations requires most employers with three or more employees, whether full-time, part-time, or seasonal workers, to have workers' compensation insurance.

Corporate officers and members of businesses that are incorporated or classified as LLCs are included in the three or more employee count regardless of whether they exempt themselves from coverage.

Exceptions to Georgia's coverage requirements include railroad carriers, U.S. Government agencies, agricultural workers, and domestic workers.

Related: 9 Tips to Maximize Personal Injury Compensation

Do You Need a Lawyer After Being Injured at Work?

This will depend on the complexity of your workers' compensation case.  If there is any part of your case or of compensation law that you feel you don't fully understand, don't hesitate to contact a local attorney with experience in workers' compensation claims.  As noted above, if your employer does not have or claims to not have workers' compensation insurance, you should get legal counsel immediately.  It's usually a good rule that if your case requires you to stand before a judge, you should find a lawyer to work with.  

If you’ve sustained a workplace injury and can’t work your life and finances can be severely impacted. Remember that you may be eligible for workers' compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. An experienced Decatur workers' compensation attorney can manage compensation disputes to make sure you don't receive mediocre medical care or compensation pay while you focus on your recovery.

Our primary goal at Marks Law Group is to ensure that every client receives the medical care and compensation benefits they're entitled to. It can be difficult to know if you're receiving the right amount of benefits and how your case should be settled if you've never filed for workers' compensation before.  Call us today and let our experienced workers' compensation attorneys answer all your questions and guide you through the process of ensuring you receive fair benefits.  

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