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Can I Sue the Workers Compensation Insurance Company?

Dealing with a serious injury at work is hard enough.  Unfortunately, many insurance companies make it harder than it should be.  Some of the most common things I see insurance companies doing to make things harder are:

  1. Taking longer than they should to accept your workers compensation claim and start paying benefits
  2. Not telling you that you have some choice of which doctor you see
  3. Failing to approve the medical treatment and testing you need
  4. Not filing the Form WC-6 Wage Statement that tells you how your weekly workers compensation check was calculated
  5. Not paying temporary partial disability benefits when you are working a light duty job

These are just a few of the things I see workers compensation insurance companies do wrong.  There are a number of others as well.

One of the questions I get asked a lot is whether you can sue the workers compensation insurance company when they do something wrong.  This article discusses how a workers compensation claim resembles a lawsuit as well as the differences between the two.

Technician fall from ladderHow does a workers compensation case work?

A workers compensation case provides you with benefits that cover a lot of your damages when you suffer an injury at work.  Workers compensation pays for medical treatment and testing you need because of your injury. It also pays benefits when you are out of work because of your injury.  In addition, it pays you benefits if you suffer a permanent impairment as a result of your work injury.

One advantage of workers compensation is that it works fairly quickly.  You should get very quick authorization to get in and see a doctor for your injury.  If your injury takes you out of work, your wage loss benefits should start within 21 days of when the doctor takes you out of work.

This means that you get benefits much faster than you do in a lot of other types of cases.  This can be very important when you are out of work and need medical treatment to recover from your injury.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, insurance companies often do not do what the law requires them to do.  This can result in your benefits being delayed or even denied.  When this happens, you need to know what action you need to take.

What are the main differences between a workers compensation case and a personal injury case?

Some people want to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employers for their injuries at work.  “Exclusive remedy” usually prohibits you from doing this.  There are exceptions though, but you will almost certainly need to talk to an attorney to find out if your case meets the exceptions.

Workers compensation does have some things about it that are better than a personal injury case.  One is that you do not have to prove that your employer did something wrong in order to receive workers compensation benefits.

Workers compensation is what is called a “no fault” system.  This means that fault does not matter.  You can recover workers compensation benefits for on the job injuries regardless of whether the injury was your employer’s fault, nobody’s fault, or even your own fault.  In personal injury cases, you usually have to prove that the person or business you are suing did something wrong in order to recover anything.

Another advantage of workers compensation is that you receive benefits fairly quickly.  Personal injury cases often take longer in order for you to receive anything.

Of course, there are definitely disadvantages with workers compensation.  The main disadvantage is that workers compensation is a “limited benefits” system.  That means that not all of your damages are covered under workers compensation.  The big thing that workers compensation does not cover is pain and suffering.

Judge writing on paperCan I file a lawsuit against the workers compensation insurance company?

Generally, you cannot file a lawsuit against the workers compensation insurance company, but you do have the right to pursue your workers compensation case in the workers compensation court system.  Workers compensation has its own court system for addressing disputes with the insurance company about your benefits.

The reason that you cannot file a separate lawsuit is known as “exclusive remedy”.  The basic idea of exclusive remedy is that workers compensation is your remedy when you suffer an on the job injury.  This principle generally prohibits you from filing a different type of lawsuit against your employer or their insurance company for your on the job injuries.

The good news is that workers compensation does have its own court system for fighting about your workers compensation benefits.  You or an attorney representing you can request a hearing in front of a workers compensation judge.  The judge has the power to hear your case and award you benefits.

I strongly recommend that you talk with a workers compensation attorney before requesting a hearing.  There are special rules that apply in the workers compensation court system so it is very important to have someone representing you who knows those rules.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
moombimoombi
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.
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Jason Perkins

Workers' Compensation Attorney

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