Workers' Comp Basics FAQs
If you suffer injuries at work or develop a work-related illness in Georgia, there is a good chance that you are covered by our state's workers' compensation system.
Workers’ compensation is admittedly somewhat complex, so this page is designed to answer some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about this issue. Anybody harmed in any workplace accident should contact an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer. If you suffered serious injuries on the job in Georgia, you do not have to handle your situation all by yourself. Parsons & Associates, P.C., will work closely with you throughout the entire process so you can be confident that you are getting all the help you need to move in the right direction.
Our firm will conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding your injury and make sure that you are fully compensated for all of your losses. We invite you to call us today or contact us online for a free consultation that will let us review your case and outline how we can help.
Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated accident insurance program paid by an employer in accordance with Chapter 9 of Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. The program can provide you with medical, rehabilitation, and income benefits when you suffer injuries on the job.
Benefits will be provided to help you return to work, and benefits can also be provided to your dependents should you die as a result of a job-related injury. Employers must buy a workers’ compensation insurance policy when they have more than three full-time employees.
The insurance policy covers you if you are hurt at work and guarantees that your bills and costs will be covered so you can get the medical help you need after a workplace accident. It also ensures that you can support yourself and your family should your injury make it impossible for you to work or to return to the job you had before you were injured.
When you are hurt at work, you should report any injury to your employer as soon as possible. The employer must fill out a report of the injury and provide notification to their insurance company and the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC).
You should make sure your employer fills out the report and then ask them to give you a copy of it. When your claim happens to be denied, things may become far more complicated. The best way to ensure that you get the benefits you deserve after a workplace accident is to retain an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you can.
Your first income benefits should get paid to you 21 days after you report your injury to your employer, and after that, you should be paid weekly income benefits unless the SBWC authorizes a different schedule. Your benefits may be paid by cash, check, electronic funds transfer, or some other method agreed upon by both you and your employer.
Importantly, many workers' compensation claims settle, which means that the parties to the claim come to an agreement regarding benefits. Workers' compensation settlements can either be lump-sum settlements or structured settlements. In a lump sum settlement, you receive a one-time payment, while in a structured settlement, you will receive periodic payment for a pre-determined length of time.
If you do not receive any benefits, you can request a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation at the following address:
State Board of Workers' Compensation
270 Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30303-1299
Importantly, workers' compensation hearings are complicated legal matters, so it's highly advisable to retain an attorney prior to contacting the Board or even starting your claim. In fact, the best time to contact a lawyer is as soon as you can after a workplace accident.
Pre-hearing conference calls are required to set actual dates and times of hearings and to discuss the logistics, number of witnesses, and estimated lengths of the hearings. At a judge’s discretion, hearings may be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The State Board of Workers’ Compensation remains open for business, but it is actively monitoring developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Board is performing in-person hearings, all parties have to meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health department guidelines in an effort to limit COVID-19 exposure.
Administrative Law Judges in the Hearing Division hold virtual hearings when there is the consent of the parties. Judges may also consider issues in claims that the parties agree can be submitted on stipulated facts, along with each party’s supporting documentary evidence.
A hearing is similar to a trial in Georgia courts. A claim may be decided by an Administrative Law Judge who hears both sides of a claim and determines what benefits you should receive.
If you are unable to return to work after an on-the-job injury, you may be able to get weekly benefits from the workers’ compensation insurer. The benefits are available on either a temporary or a permanent basis.
Temporary disability benefits will be paid out until you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the phrase used to describe the point at which a person reaches a treatment plateau and no fundamental, functional, or physiological change can be expected within reasonable medical probability despite continuing medical or rehabilitative procedures.
At this point, if you can go back to work at a lower-paying job or go back to work part-time, you may receive partial disability benefits to make up for some of the difference in wages. If you are completely unable to go back to work, you might receive permanent disability benefits equal to a portion of what you were making prior to the injury.
Were you severely injured on the job in the greater Atlanta area? Make sure you contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. as soon as possible.
Our firm will be able to best assist you because we have more than a quarter-century of experience handling workers’ compensation claims. You can either call us or contact us online to set up a free consultation.