The workplace can be fraught with dangers. Workplace injuries are many and varied, from falling on a slippery floor to having a paint can drop on you in the middle of a construction site. Legally, work-related injuries are defined as any injury occurring during the course and scope of the duties imposed upon an employee from that employee’s respective employer.
Most of the injuries you can incur while working in Georgia fall under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation System.
What Qualifies Under Workers’ Compensation?
Workers compensation claims involve any accidental work-related injury that directly involves the employer and employee. It works under a “no fault” system, which means it doesn’t aim to place blame on either party. It’s designed to safeguard workers who may get injured at the work place and, at the same time, through the limits of what workers compensation can provide, protect employers and businesses from far more expensive lawsuits.
Are You Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
There is only one requirement that determines whether or not you’re eligible for workers compensation: you have to be an employee of the company in which you incurred your injury. There is no age or citizenship requirement. Prisoners may also file workers compensation claims.
Additionally, in the case of harbor workers and longshoremen, they have the choice of either filing with Georgia or Federal Workers Compensation Insurance.
How Do You File?
If your employer or supervisor didn’t directly witness the accident, be sure to inform them within 30 days. From there, you have one year to file a WC-14 claim directly with the Georgia
Workers Compensation Commission.
If you miss this deadline, you’ll have to file a notice in writing, showing the Commission that there is good reason for your delay. You run the risk of forfeiting some or all of your benefits. Furthermore, in practice, the Board is less likely to authorize Workers Compensations payments to claims that are issued a protracted amount of time following the accident and/or treatment of the incurred disability.
What Do You Do After You File?
If you deem it necessary, such as cases in which the employer doesn’t start issuing Workers Compensation payments in a timely manner or, if they notify you that payments should be terminated, you can request a hearing with the board. You, your employer or its workers compensation insurance representative and your lawyer may attend.
If you wish to appeal the board’s decision, you can elect bring your case to panel review through the Georgia State Court System.
Workplace Injuries Can Fall Outside Workers Compensation Jurisdiction, Too
Workers Compensation covers all direct dealing between employer and employee, thus clearing the employer of any legal liability. However, it’s possible to incur an injury at work that is the result of a third party not related to the employer. Workers compensation also doesn’t account for cases in which the employer may do something to intentionally harm the employee. In either of these cases, the employer IS liable and can be sued under personal injury law.
Eric J. Hertz, P.C. covers both workers compensation and personal injury cases. Call us at 404-577-5111 and we’ll give you a free consultation to see if you have a case.