Most workers in Georgia are eligible for workers’ compensation insurance from the first day of their job. Workers’ comp is meant to compensate you for medical bills, lost wages, and provide other benefits if you are hurt at work. While this can help you recover and supplement your income until you can return to your job.
Workers’ compensation, or workers’ comp, is a type of insurance employers must purchase to cover their employees in the event of a work injury or accident. Here’s what you should know about workers’ compensation in Georgia:
- Employers with three or more regular employees (including part-time, full-time, and seasonal) must carry workers’ compensation.
- Workers’ comp provides medical benefits, supplemental income (if you are unable to work for at least seven days), vocational rehabilitation benefits, and compensation for dependents if you are killed by a work injury.
- Unlike personal injury cases, fault does not matter in workers’ comp claims. If the injury happens at work, it’s covered.
Since workers’ comp is a “no-fault” system, there’s no need to prove how the accident happened. This protects your employer from expensive lawsuits and should ensure that you get benefits when a work injury occurs. Unfortunately, you can still run into problems when seeking workers’ comp coverage.
Insurance companies, including those that provide workers’ compensation, do not like paying out much on claims. They will look for ways to reduce how long they provide you with coverage. That may include pressuring you to return to work (and end your disability benefits) before you’re fully able and downplaying the severity of your injuries.
Your work injury must prevent you from working for at least seven days to be eligible for disability benefits (Georgia Code § 34-9-220).
While you are receiving treatment and unable to work, you can receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. You cannot receive TTD for more than 400 weeks, but most employees are recovered far before that time.
If you can return to work but your injury forces you to take a lower-paying job, you can receive weekly benefits for two-thirds of the difference between your former and current job’s wages. Finally, if you become fully disabled because of your injury, a doctor will evaluate you for the possibility of total permanent disability benefits, which may last for life.
Georgia workers’ compensation pays for the following benefits:
- Compensation of medical costs
- Medical care
- Supplemental income
- Rehabilitation support
- Death benefits (for your dependents if you are killed in a workplace accident)
Workers’ comp provides temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits if you are able to return to work but at a lower-paying job. Your work injury might disable you from performing certain types of work actions. Your employer may offer you another position, often at a reduced wage.
Permanent disability benefits are reserved for workers with very serious and debilitating injuries. Your doctor will evaluate you for permanent disability after you have recovered as much as possible with medical treatment.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can make sure you are legally protected during your claim.