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Does Georgia Workers Compensation Pay for Permanent Injuries?

A severe injury at work can take a long time to recover from.  Sometimes, severe injuries cause permanent limitations even when you reach your maximum recovery.  This article discusses what happens under Georgia’s workers compensation law when an injury becomes permanent.

Who determines whether an injury is permanent?

In a Georgia workers compensation case, there are two different types of people who decide that your injury is permanent:

  1. Doctors
  2. Judges

Female doctor with older man showing xray of spine and back at hospitalDoctors make a determination about the permanence of your injury by stating that it is permanent.  In many cases, they do this by assigning something call a permanent partial disability rating.

This permanent partial disability (PPD) rating is the doctor’s way of saying that you have a permanent impairment.  Once it has been assigned, the rating entitles you to certain types of benefits in the future.

But, the workers compensation insurance company may not agree with the permanent partial disability rating assigned by the doctor.  When they do not agree with the rating, this is where a workers compensation judge makes a determination about whether your injury is permanent.

The judge does this after a hearing is requested to make a determination about the permanence of your injury.  This hearing allows both sides to present evidence and then the judge reaches a decision.  This article provides some more detailed information about workers compensation court.

When does the doctor make the determination about my injury being permanent?

There is no set date when the doctor will make the determination about whether your injury is permanent.  The law does not provide a certain date for this as far as days, weeks, months or years.

In most cases, the doctor determines the permanence of your injury when you reach a point in your recovery called maximum medical improvement (MMI).  The idea behind maximum medical improvement is that the doctor does not expect additional medical treatment to make substantial improvement in your condition.

What does workers compensation pay for permanent injuries?

This is really a two part question.  When you have a permanent partial disability rating from an injury, the insurance company should pay you permanent partial disability benefits.  Usually, these benefits are paid to you on a weekly basis, although the insurance company can choose to pay them in a lump sum.

The number of weeks that you receive these benefits depends on the percent permanent partial disability rating that you receive.  The higher the rating, the more weeks of benefits you will be paid.  However, you also have to consider for which part of the body the rating was given because that determines the number of weeks as well.

The second part of the payment question is how much per week you will get paid.  The amount per week depends on your average weekly wage at the time that your injury occurred.  If you have received workers compensation temporary total disability benefits, the weekly amount of your permanent partial disability benefits should be the same.

Catastrophic injuryDo I qualify for a catastrophic designation if my injury is permanent?

You might, but it will depend on the severity of the permanent injury.  Under Georgia’s workers compensation law, there are six basic types of catastrophic injuries:

  1. Severe spinal cord injuries
  2. Amputations of the arm, hand, foot, or leg
  3. Severe brain or closed head injury
  4. Severe burns
  5. Blindness
  6. Injuries that prevent you from returning to your prior work and work available in substantial numbers in the national economy

This is just a general categorization of the types of catastrophic injuries.  The actual definitions under the catastrophic statute are more specific regarding each type of injury.

But, as you can see, there are permanent injuries that would qualify for catastrophic designation.  These include blindness, certain amputations, certain spinal cord injuries, certain brain injuries, and certain burn injuries.

In addition to this, many permanent injuries may qualify someone for a catastrophic designation under the sixth category because the permanent injury prevents them from performing work available in substantial numbers in the national economy.

If you want more information about catastrophic designation and the benefits of qualifying for it, this article has more specific information on that subject.

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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