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Georgia Workers’ Compensation Eye Injuries3 minute read

Many people suffer workers’ compensation eye injuries each year.  In fact, over 2000 people injure their eyes at work every day. While many of these injuries are minor, some people go partially or completely blind as a result of work-related eye injuries. Understanding the special rules that apply to these types of injuries is important.

Catastrophic designation for eye injuriesperkins-329-edit-compressed

Eye injuries are one of six specific types of injuries that can qualify for a catastrophic designation.

The Georgia law that discusses catastrophic designation is O.C.G.A. 34-9-200.1. Specifically, O.C.G.A. 34-9-200.1(g)(5) says that “Total or industrial blindness” qualifies an injured worker for a catastrophic designation.

Unfortunately, the Georgia workers’ compensation law does not specifically define what “total blindness” or “industrial blindness” mean.  We do not know if industrial blindness means blindness in one eye or a certain standard of limited vision.  This means that an individual with significantly limited vision may qualify for a catastrophic designation.

Why is catastrophic designation important?

Catastrophic designation became even important in 1992 when changes were made in Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. Catastrophic designation became even more important in July 2013.

The importance of catastrophic designation comes primarily from the artificial limits on workers’ compensation benefits. Without a catastrophic designation, an injured worker will not receive medical treatment or wage loss benefits after 400 weeks pass from the date of injury.

Serious injuries often require medical treatment of some kind for life. Serious injuries can also make it very difficult to return to work. Keeping eligibility for continued benefits is very important in the event that you remain out of work or need medical treatment.

Permanent Partial Disability benefits

Workers’ compensation eye injuries sometimes cause permanent visual impairment.  An individual with permanent vision impairment should receive a permanent partial disability rating.

With eye injuries, there is some question about how to properly rate the loss of an eye. The Georgia law regarding PPD ratings specifically says that the loss of vision in one eye is worth 150 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits. This rating may be higher than the rating that would be assigned using the AMA Guides. Georgia law generally allows an injured worker to get paid whichever PPD rating would pay more benefits.  So, you need to make sure you are paid the higher rating.

Returning to workAn eye injury can make it difficult to return to work

Returning to work after a work injury often involves the offer of a light duty job by your employer. While there are no specific rules that apply to Georgia workers’ compensation eye injuries, other laws that interact with workers’ compensation could certainly affect an offer to return to work.

One law that will almost definitely apply is the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). If the ADA applies to your employer, it may require your employer to accommodate your vision impairment.  Make sure your employer complies with the law when trying to return you to work.

 

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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