Workers’ Compensation is a program the provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job. Georgia law requires companies that employ more than three workers to have Workers’ Compensation insurance. Employees are covered under the program from the day they are hired. Here are four important things that injured workers should know about Workers’ Compensation benefits.
1. Report Injuries Immediately
Workers who are injured on the job should report the injury as soon as possible to their employer. Waiting longer than a month can cause the employee to lose benefits. Workers are eligible to receive weekly income benefits if they are not able to work for more than seven days.
2. Obtaining Treatment for Injuries
Injured workers may choose from one of at least six health care providers posted by their employer. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will pay for authorized medical treatment. Authorized medical expenses may include doctor bills, hospital bills, prescription medication, physical therapy, and necessary travel expenses to receive treatment.
3.Receiving Weekly Income Benefits
New Georgia regulations apply to work related injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2016. Workers will receive two-thirds of their average weekly wages, but not more than $575.00 per week. If a worker can return to work after an injury but only to a lower paying job, he is eligible to receive reduced benefits based on his earnings. The benefits are paid for a maximum of 350 weeks from the date of the injury and will not exceed $383.00 per week.
4. Next Steps When Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Not Paid
If a worker does not receive benefits, Form WC-14 should be filed with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation within one year from the date of the injury. A hearing may be requested. The hearing will usually take place within sixty days of the time the judge receives Form WC-14. The judge will examine the facts in the case and decide what, if any, benefits the worker is entitled to receive. An attorney can be engaged by the injured worker to help with the required paperwork, the process of filing a claim, or to provide representation at a benefits hearing.