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Suitable Housing for a Workers Compensation Injury4 minute read

Severe work injuries often cause problems regarding suitable housing and vehicles.  Back, leg, and neck injuries can make it difficult for an injured worker to get around.

Sometimes, these injuries require that injured workers use a wheelchair, scooter, or other assistive device.  Using these devices inside houses and other buildings can often be difficult.  Sometimes, it can be impossible.

So, what happens when an injury at work in Georgia makes your house, apartment, or other dwelling unsuitable?

Common issues that make housing unsuitable

Several factors can cause a house to be unsuitable for use of a wheelchair or scooter.  First, entrances to houses often require going up steps.  A wheelchair or scooter cannot safely do this.  Stairs inside a house  cause problems as well, unless there is an elevator.

Doorways are another common issue.  They may not be wide enough to accommodate a scooter or wheelchair.  This can especially be the case in older homes.  Also, many trailers and other modular homes have doorways that may not accommodate wheelchairs and scooters.

Bathrooms also cause problems since they may not be handicapped accessible,  Toilets, showers, and bathtubs can be difficult to use.  Also, there is often not enough room to allow a wheelchair or scooter to turn around.

Wheelchairs and other assistive devices can make it difficult to get around your house safelyWhat happens if my house is unsuitable

If your house becomes unsuitable because of your work injury, your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance company should have to pay the cost associated with putting you in a suitable house.  In a straightforward situation, these costs would include the increased rent of moving from an unsuitable apartment to a suitable apartment.  However, the solution is not always that simple.  If you own or are buying your home, does the insurance company have to buy you a new house?

Modifying an unsuitable house

The first question will be whether your home could be affordably modified to make it suitable.  Maybe the unsuitable bathroom can be modified to accommodate a wheelchair.  Maybe a ramp could be put in to allow a scooter to get into the house.  If so, the insurance company will probably be responsible for paying the cost of the modifications to make the house suitable in your Georgia workers’ compensation claim.

What if my house cannot be modified

If the house cannot be modified, then the answers are a lot more complicated.  It is our belief that the insurance company has to pay the costs associated with suitable housing.

“Suitable housing” certainly includes physical suitability but there may be other suitability issues to consider as well.  For example:

  • If you currently live in the country, can the insurance company put you in a suitable house in the city?
  • Can they move you from a home to an apartment?
  • Can they make you sell your current house?
  • Must the housing be able to accommodate children or grandchildren?

The answers to these questions and a number of others are currently unclear.  The Managed Care and Rehabilitation Division of the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation has published a paper that discusses many of the issues that arise when housing suitability is addressed.  The exact details of your case will matter a lot in determining what housing is suitable.

Can “suitable housing” be settled?

Because of the variety and complexity of the different issues, housing suitability is sometimes resolved by a stipulation and agreement settling the “suitable housing” portion of your case.  It is important to understand that you never have to settle housing (just as you never have to settle your workers’ compensation case).

A housing settlement is usually an agreement to accept a certain amount of money from the insurance company.  In exchange, you give up the right to make workers’ compensation pay housing costs or other issues associated with housing in the future.

Settlements are almost always final.  This means you cannot go back and change things.

Because of that, it is important to consider any settlement in your workers’ compensation case very seriously because the documents you sign in settlement are going to give away some or all of your workers’ compensation rights.  You need to understand what you are giving away.  When you are settling housing, you also need to consider all the ways your work injury will probably affect you in the future.

Because of the complexity of housing and transportation issues, you should at least consult with an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation before seriously considering any settlement of a housing or transportation issue.

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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