The holiday season is a busy time for everyone, and perhaps the last thing we want to deal with is an injury on the job. However, if an injury does occur, the employee should report it immediately. A delay in reporting can result in a delay in getting the medical treatment the employee needs. Waiting longer than a month to report the injury may result in a loss of benefits.
An employee who suffers a work-related injury or becomes ill as a result of his work is entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, if the employer has three or more employees. Employees are eligible for benefits from the day they begin work. In most cases, temporary seasonal employees are also covered in Georgia. If the temporary worker was placed by a staffing agency and is paid by the agency rather than the company, then the staffing agency is generally responsible for carrying the Workers’ Compensation insurance. An exception to this law in Georgia applies to farm workers classified as migrant laborers. They are excluded from Workers’ Compensation coverage. Independent contractors are not covered by Workers’ Compensation. However, some companies misclassify workers as contractors. Consult an attorney if you have questions in this area.
A worker should report an injury immediately, so that treatment can be received. Do not put this off until after the holidays, especially if you were hired as temporary seasonal help. The injured worker should be able to choose from at least six health care providers posted by the employer. Even during the holidays, it is likely that one of those providers on the list should be able to treat the injury or illness. Workers’ Compensation insurance will pay for authorized medical expenses including hospital bills, doctor bills, prescription medication, and physical therapy. Workers may receive weekly income benefits if they are unable to work for more than seven days.
When a worker is denied benefits, Form WC-14 should be filed with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation within a year of the injury or work-related illness. Consult an attorney for help in processing the paperwork.