The mileage costs associated with buying gas to drive back and forth to the doctor can add up quickly. Depending on where you live and the type of injury you have, you may have to drive 50 or more miles to see a good specialist for treatment. You may have to go to physical therapy several times a week or drive to pick up medications.
You would not have had these costs if you had not been hurt at work. In Georgia, the workers’ compensation insurance company has a duty to reimburse you for the miles that you drive to get medical treatment and testing for your injury.
But, you or your attorney have to submit your mileage to the insurance company to get paid. Also, there are deadlines which apply which can prevent you from getting reimbursed for mileage if you do not submit it to the insurance company in time.
What Medical Treatment and Testing Is Covered?
Your first question may be what medical treatment and testing is covered. The answer is pretty easy.
If the workers’ compensation insurance company is paying for the treatment, then you are entitled to be reimbursed for the mileage you drive to get that treatment. This would include doctor’s visits, MRIs, physical therapy, picking up prescriptions, and any number of other things.
If there are charges for parking, be sure and keep your receipts because the insurance company needs to reimburse for those as well. In limited situations, they may also have to reimburse you for food and/or lodging if the trip to the doctor is long enough.
Getting Reimbursed For Mileage
In Georgia, the mileage reimbursement rate changed to 45 cents per mile on July 1, 2023. Before that change, the mileage reimbursement rate was 40 cents per mile.
To get reimbursed for mileage costs, simply send a document to the insurance company indicating the dates, places, and mileage you drove and requesting that you be reimbursed for mileage costs. The insurance company used to have 30 days to reimburse you for mileage. Under a change in the law in 2013, they now only have 15 days.
If the insurance company does not pay you timely after you request reimbursement, they may owe you late penalties. If they do owe late penalties, the insurance company may not pay them voluntarily. Often, an attorney has to file a motion or request a hearing to get the insurance company to pay the penalties owed.
Even when the insurance company pays penalties on mileage, they often do not pay the correct amount. The penalty amount depends on how late the mileage check is.
The penalty amount starts at 10% and then goes up to 20% after more time passes. After a certain time, the penalty also includes a per annum interest rate on top of the 20% penalty.
Also, some insurance companies question the amount of your mileage and whether they have to reimburse for it. Keeping accurate records of the miles you drove can help with this. If you do not keep this information, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and other navigation apps can be helpful in determining the amount of your mileage.
Time Limits for Mileage Reimbursement
It is also important to remember that there is a time limit on how long you have to request reimbursement for your mileage (and any other medical treatment). The insurance company does not have to pay you for any mileage or medical treatment that is not submitted for reimbursement within one year of when it took place.
So, be sure to submit your requests for reimbursement in plenty of time. Failure to do so can cause the insurance company not to pay you what they owe.
There are some exceptions to the deadline about reimbursement for mileage and medical costs. But, the best thing to do is submit your requests for reimbursement well before the deadline so you do not have to worry about whether you can qualify for one of these exceptions.
Question About Mileage Costs
I am always surprised at the number of people who hire me who have not been told that the insurance company has to reimburse them for mileage. Hopefully, this article has helped prevent you from being one of those people.
You may still have some particular questions about mileage or some other workers’ compensation issue. If you do, I am happy to talk to you. I provide free consultations in workers’ compensation cases.