Georgia workers’ compensation law is complicated. Many people call our firm with questions. We are always happy to talk to people and answer those questions. Here are eleven important things that you should know about Georgia’s workers’ compensation law.
Many employers and insurance companies just send you to a doctor that they pick. Actually, you have a right to choose your doctor.
Your choice usually has to be off of a list that your employer is required to post. However, if you can prove that your employer did not properly post that list, you can select any doctor you want.
2. The insurance company has up to 21 days to start paying you temporary total disability benefits once the doctor takes you out of work
The 21 days is the time that your employer has to investigate your claim and decide if they are going to pay you benefits. After this initial 21 day period, you should receive checks on a weekly basis if you are out of work because of your injury.
3. A preexisting condition does not prevent you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits
Many people worry that they cannot file a claim for an injury if they have had prior medical treatment to the same area of the body. Georgia workers’ compensation law covers aggravations of preexisting conditions. You do need to know that there are some special rules that apply to aggravation cases.
Most of these time limits are called statutes of limitations. It is very important to be aware of them. If you don’t know about them, you will probably lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
5. You can change doctors
If you become unhappy with the doctor you have selected, there are many ways to get your doctor changed.
6. Medical treatment does not just include seeing the doctor and getting x-rays
You are entitled to transportation (in certain situations), medication, reimbursement for mileage, treatment of depression and anxiety, and a number of types of medical treatment. The medical treatment or testing does need to be caused by your injury and ordered by your authorized doctor or doctors.
We are contacted by many people who get fired or laid off when they return to work after an injury. This does not end your case but it can be troublesome for you.
Also, it is important to know that there are certain rules the insurance company should follow when they want to bring you back to work.
8. If your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company is not doing something right, you can take them to court
Many people do not know that they can fight an insurance company’s decisions to deny their claim. They can also fight decisions to stop paying benefits and to deny their medical treatment. In fact, you can fight almost anything that the insurance company is not doing that they should be doing under the law.
9. There are time limits on how long you can receive workers’ compensation benefits (but there are exceptions)
Under Georgia law, temporary total disability benefits stop after 400 weeks even if you are still unable to work. Medical benefits now stop after 400 weeks as well. The biggest exception to these time limits is a catastrophic designation.
10. You do not have to settle your case
Settlement is a big decision because it will end your case. There are many things you should consider before settling your case.
11. You can talk to a lawyer about your case for free
Many people are concerned that it will cost them money to talk to or hire a lawyer. You can talk to one of our attorneys that specialize in workers’ compensation for free. If you decide to hire us, you only pay us attorney’s fees if we recover money for you. Find out more about how a free consultation works and what you can find out in one by reading this article.