Significant Changes to Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law
There have been some very significant changes made to Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws this year that may affect injured workers. The changes, which were contained in Georgia House Bill 154, go into effect on July 1.
A major change to Georgia workers’ compensation law is an increase in the maximum workers’ compensation benefits paid to persons who have suffered Temporary Total Disability. Injured workers who qualify for temporary total disability will receive up to $525 per week, an increase of $25 from the current maximum weekly payment. There also has been an increase in the maximum weekly benefits for persons with Temporary Partial Disability. This amount has been increased from $334 per week to $350 per week.
All injuries that occur before June 30 will be eligible for lifetime medical benefits. Currently, all medical benefits that are provided to a worker under Georgia workers’ compensation laws are provided as long as the worker reasonably requires these benefits, and as long as the medical benefits are found to give relief to the employee, or could help the employee return to work.
Under the new legislation, medical treatment for all injuries that occur after June 30 this year will be limited to a maximum of 400 weeks from the date of the injury. However, workers who have suffered catastrophic injuries will not be included in the provision.
An exception has been made in the case of injuries that are designated “catastrophic” as defined under section 34-9-200.1 (g) of the Georgia statute. Catastrophic injuries are typically defined as those injuries that involve serious bodily harm, like loss of sight, and loss of limbs. Serious third-degree burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and other injuries that result in paralysis and inability to work would qualify as catastrophic injuries.
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta worker’s compensation lawyer, representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the worker’s compensation benefits that they are entitled to.