What is Workers' Compensation?

Workers' compensation is a benefits program created by the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act to provide injured workers with medical treatment, weekly income benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and, in some cases, rehabilitation and death benefits.

Workers' compensation is, generally speaking, a strict liability system in that injured workers can recover workers' compensation benefits without showing fault or negligence by their employers.  To be compensable, however, injuries and occupational diseases must arise out of and in the course and scope of employment.

Because injured workers are not required to prove fault or negligence on the part of their employers, workers' compensation is, in Georgia and in most other states, the "exclusive remedy" for on-the-job injuries and occupational diseases.  If someone other than the employer was responsible for an  worker's injuries, however, the injured worker may have a valid basis for filing a civil lawsuit against the responsible party.

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Are workers' compensation laws the same in all states?

Workers' compensation laws are similar in many states, but each state has its own unique workers' compensation laws and employees of the federal government are covered under the FederalEmployees Compensation Act (FECA) or the Longshore and Harborworkers' Compensation Act.

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What are my workers' compensation rights as an injured worker?

Georgia Workers' Compensation Law provides workers in the State of Georgia with certain rights should they become injured, and workers are entitled to these rights even if they suffer an on-the-job injury on their first day of work.

Here is a summary of these rights: 
  1. If you are injured on the job, you may receive medical, rehabilitation and income benefits. These benefits are provided to help you return to work. Your dependents may also receive benefits if you die as a result of a job-related injury.

  2. Your employer is required to post a list of at least six doctors or the name of the certified WC/MCO which provides medical care. You may choose a doctor from the list and make one change to another doctor on the list without the permission of your employer. However, in an emergency, you may get temporary medical care from any doctor until the emergency is over; then you must get treatment from a doctor on the posted list.

  3. Your authorized doctor bills, hospital bills, rehabilitation in some cases, physical therapy, prescriptions and necessary travel expenses will be paid if injury was caused by an accident on the job.

  4. You are entitled to weekly income benefits if you have more than seven days of lost time due to an injury. Your first check should be mailed to you within 21 days after the first day you missed work. If you are out more than 21 consecutive days due to your injury, you will be paid for the first week.

  5. Accidents are classified as being either catastrophic or non-catastrophic. Catastrophic injuries are those involving amputations, severe paralysis, severe head injuries, severe burns, blindness, or of a nature and severity that prevents the employee from being able to perform his or her prior work and any work available in substantial numbers within the national economy.

  6. In catastrophic cases, you are entitled to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to the maximum allowed under the law for a job-related injury for as long as you are unable to return to work. You are also entitled to receive medical and vocational rehabilitation benefits to help in recovering from your injury. Your employer will advise you of the amount of your weekly benefit.

  7. In all other cases (non-catastrophic), you are entitled to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage but not more than the maximum allowed under the law for a job-related injury. You will receive these weekly benefits as long as you are totally disabled, but no longer than 400 weeks. If you are not working and it is determined that you have been capable of performing work with restrictions for 52 consecutive weeks or 78 aggregate weeks, your weekly income benefits will be reduced to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but no more than the maximum allowed under the law, not to exceed 350 weeks.

  8. When you are able to return to work but can only get a lower paying job as a result of your injury, you are entitled to a weekly benefit of not more than the maximum allowed under the law for no longer than 350 weeks.

  9. Your dependent(s), in the event you die as a result of an on-the-job accident, will receive burial expenses up to the maximum allowed under the law and two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but not more than the maximum allowed under the law. A widowed spouse with no children will be paid a maximum allowed by law at the time of injury. Benefits continue until he/she remarries or openly cohabits with a person of the opposite sex.

  10. If you do not receive benefits when due, the insurance carrier/employer must pay a penalty which will be added to your payments.
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What are my workers' compensation responsibilities as an injured worker?

Along with providing workers in Georgia with certain rights, Georgia Workers' Compensation Law provides workers with some responsibilities that they should, and in some cases must, fulfill if they suffer an on-the-job injury.  Here is a summary of these responsibilities:

  1. You should follow written rules of safety and other reasonable policies and procedures of the employer.

  2. You must report any accident immediately, but not later than 30 days after the accident, to your employer, your employer’s representative, your foreman or immediate supervisor.  Failure to do so may result in the loss of the benefits.

  3. You must accept reasonable medical treatment and rehabilitation services when ordered by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation or the Board may suspend your benefits.

  4. No compensation shall be allowed for an injury or death due to the employee’s willful misconduct.

  5. You must notify the insurance carrier/employer of your address when you move to a new location.

  6. You should notify the insurance carrier/employer when you are able to return to full-time or part-time work, and report the amount of your weekly earnings because you may be entitled to some income benefits even though you have returned to work.

  7. A dependent spouse of a deceased employee shall notify the insurance carrier/employer upon change of address or remarriage.

  8. You must attempt a job approved by the authorized treating physician even if the pay is lower than the job you had when you were injured. If you do not attempt the job, your benefits may be suspended.

  9. If you believe you are due benefits and your insurance carrier/employer denies these benefits, you must file a claim within one year after the date of last authorized medical treatment or within two years of your last payment of weekly benefits or you will lose your right to these benefits.

  10. If your dependent(s) do not receive allowable benefit payments, the dependent(s) must file a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation within one year after your death or lose the right to these benefits.

  11. Any request for reimbursement to you for mileage or other expenses related to medical care must be submitted to the insurance carrier/employer within one year of the date the expense was incurred.

  12. If an employee unjustifiably refuses to submit to a drug test following an on-the-job injury, there shall be a presumption that the accident and injury were caused by alcohol or drugs. If the presumption is not overcome by other evidence, any claim for workers’ compensation benefits would be denied.

You shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment up to 12 months, or both for making false or misleading statements when claiming benefits. Also, any false statements or false evidence given under oath during the course of any administrative or appellate division hearing is perjury.

Willfully making a false statement for the purpose of obtaining or denying benefits is a crime subject to penalties of up to $10,000.00 per violation (O.C.G.A. 34-9-18 and 34-9-19).

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What kinds of workers' compensation benefits are available to injured workers?

Medical Benefits - Injured employees who qualify for workers' compensation benefits are entitled to all reasonable and necessary medical treatment and there is no time limit or monetary limit on this treatment.  Injured employees always have some control over who serves as their Authorized Treating Physician, but the extent of this control depends largely on whether their employer had a valid Panel of Physicians posted on the date of accident in each case.  Injured employees also have a right to make one change in Authorized Treating Physicians, and in some cases, injured employees are also entitled to get a second opinion at the insurance company's expense.

Disability Benefits - Injured employees may receive Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD Benefits), Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD Benefits), and/or Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD Benefits). 

  • TTD Benefits - Subject to the maximum weekly rate in effect on the injured employee's date of accident, TTD Benefits are payable for up to 400 weeks at a weekly rate of 66.6% of the injured employee's Average Weekly Wage.  In "catastrophic" cases, TTD Benefits may be paid for the duration of the injured employee's lifetime.

  • TPD Benefits - Subject to the maximum weekly rate in effect on the injured employee's date of accident, TPD Benefits are payable for up to 350 weeks at a weekly rate of 66.6% of the difference between the injured employee's pre-accident and post-accident Average Weekly Wage.

  • PPD Benefits - Subject to the maximum weekly rate in effect on the injured employee's date of accident, PPD Benefits are payable at the same rate as TTD Benefits and the number of weeks of PPD Benefits to be paid is determined by a statutory formula intended to compensate the injured employee based upon the degree of his or her permanent impairment.

Rehabilitation Benefits - Employees who suffer "catastrophic" injuries are entitled to rehabilitation benefits.

Death Benefits - Dependents of a deceased employee - typically his or her spouse and children - can receive weekly benefits at the same rate that the deceased employee would have received had he or she only been disabled.  There are limits on the number of weeks that dependents can receive weekly benefits, with the exact limitation depending primarily upon the age and identity of the dependent.  Death benefits also include an allowance for funeral expenses.

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Are workers' compensation benefits taxed?

Generally speaking, workers' compensation benefits are not taxed; however, there may be some exceptions such as when workers' compensation benefits are received in place of Social Security Disability Insurance.

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Am I required to stay in Georgia to continue receiving workers' compensation?

No.  If you are receiving workers' compensation benefits and move to another state, you are entitled to continue receiving workers' compensation benefits for the same length of time that you would have received these benefits in Georgia. 

If you change addresses - within or outside of the State of Georgia - you are required to provide your new address to your employer, its insurance company, and the State Board of Workers' Compensation.

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How will workers' compensation benefits affect my social security benefits?

The total amount of your workers' compensation benefits and social security benefits cannot exceed eighty percent (80%) of your average monthly earnings before you became disabled.  So if your combined benefits exceed 80% of your pre-disability average monthly earnings, your social security benefits likely will be reduced.

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Is the insurance company allowed to follow me or conduct surveillance on me?

Yes.  Insurance companies frequently follow injured workers and even videotape injured workers to try to catch them doing activities that they claim they cannot do.  Insurance company investigators usually hide in vans or in bushes to try to catch injured workers doing physical activities. 

If a surveillance videotape clearly shows that you are not disabled or that you have lied to your physician or physicians about the level of activities you are able to perform, you likely will jeopardy your right to workers' compensation benefits.  But there are circumstances in which you may not lose your right to these benefits even if you are caught performing some physical activities.  If the insurance company has conducted surveillance on you, you are entitled to obtain and view any surveillance videos of you before your case goes to court.  In addition, you are entitled to show any surveillance videos to your physician or physicians if an explanation for your activities is warranted.

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Does the State Board of Workers' Compensation investigate fraud?

Yes. The State Board's Enforcement Division investigates allegations of fraud, and the State Board has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $10,000 for violations that involve fraud.

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Can I get compensation for my pain and suffering?

No.  Because workers' compensation provides the "exclusive remedy" against employers, you can only recover workers' compensation benefits from your employer and its insurance company.  These include weekly income benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, medical treatment, and, in some cases, rehabilitation benefits.  But these benefits do not include compensation for pain and suffering.

If someone other than your employer or a co-worker caused your on-the-job injury, you may have a basis for filing a civil lawsuit against that party.  And if you file such a lawsuit, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages for the pain and suffering and/or the emotional distress that you have experienced as a result of your on-the-job injury.

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Can I sue my employer for my work-related injury?

Generally speaking, you cannot sue your employer for your work-related injury because workers' compensation is the "exclusive remedy" for injured workers in most cases.  If you are injured as a result of a reckless or intentional action by your employer, however, you may be able to sue your employer in court where you can request a full range of damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and even punitive damages.  It is rare that an injured worker can sue their employer in court, but if you believe that your injury was caused at least in part by a reckless or intentional action by your employer, we encourage you to contact an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney to discuss the legal remedies available to you.

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Can I sue a co-worker if he or she caused my on-the-job injury?

Maybe.  If your co-worker intended to injure you or injured you during a fight that he or she started, you may be able to sue your co-worker and you may also be able to sue your employer.  But if your co-worker caused or contributed your injury by acting in a negligent or careless manner, you will not be able to sue because your "exclusive remedy" will be workers' compensation.

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Can I sue anyone for my on-the-job injuries?

If someone other than your employer or a co-worker caused your injuries, you may, in addition to having a valid workers' compensation claim, have a basis for filing a civil lawsuit against the party who caused your injuries.  If you prevail against this third party, however, your employer and its workers' compensation insurance company may be entitled to recover some or all of your damages or settlement proceeds as a means of recouping some of all of the workers' compensation benefits they already paid.  This concept is known as subrogation.

Employers are not entitled to subrogation simply because you obtain damages or settlement proceeds from a third party.  Indeed, an employer can recover on a subrogation lien only if they can prove that you have been "fully and completely compensated" for both your economic and non-economic damages.  The law does not prescribe a specific method for proving this, however, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify non-economic damages such as "pain and suffering."  As a result, employers often are not able to recoup all of their losses through subrogation.

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Can I receive workers' compensation benefits if the accident was my fault?

With few exceptions, most on-the-job injuries are covered by workers' compensation in Georgia even if an injured worker was at fault.  The reason for this is that workers' compensation, in Georgia and in most other states, is the "exclusive remedy" for injured workers. 

Because of the "exclusive remedy" rule, injured workers are not required to prove that anyone was or was not at fault for their injury, but, in exchange for this strict liability-type rule, injured workers are not allowed to sue their employers or co-workers for negligence.  Still, an injured worker can sue a third party if that party caused his or her injury.

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What are the benefits of having a workers' compensation attorney?

Georgia workers' compensation law is a complex area of the law that requires injured workers to comply with different laws and rules and usually requires injured workers to properly complete and file different forms with the State Board of Workers' Compensation. 

Because an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney understands the workers' compensation laws and rules, he or she can help protect your rights and advance your best interests. 

Here is a summary of what a good workers' compensation attorney can do for you:

  • Protect and advance your legal rights
  • Get you the best medical treatment possible
  • Pursue maximum compensation for you
  • Make sure you get weekly checks on time
  • Help you with work restrictions and light-duty
  • Build your case for a hearing or settlement
  • Represent you at an evidentiary hearing
  • Negotiate the best possible settlement for you

Insurance companies know that most injured workers neither know their legal rights nor the remedies available to them.  As such, they frequently take advantage of injured workers to minimize their recovery and negotiate the lowest possible settlement with them.  An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help an injured worker prevent this from happening.

For a free consultation regarding your case, you can contact an Atlanta workers' compensation attorney at The Bader Law Firm or you can call us at 404.917.9174.  There are no attorney's fees unless we win.

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Do you recommend getting an attorney even if the insurance adjuster has seemed helpful?

Yes.  The goal for most insurance adjusters is reduce the cost of a workers' compensation claim in any way possible, even if, in some cases, this means violating the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act.  Because this goal directly conflicts with your best interests, we strongly recommend getting a workers' compensation attorney whose only goal would be to protect your rights, advance your interests, and obtain the best medical treatment and highest recovery of workers' compensation benefits allowable under the law.

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When should I consult a workers' compensation attorney?

If any of the following apply to you, you should consult a workers' compensation attorney:

  • You are not receiving medical treatment
  • You are out of work and without any income
  • You are dissatisfied with your current medical treatment
  • You have been terminated or laid off following an on-the-job injury
  • You are released to return to work, but you do not feel capable of doing so
  • You have a compensable claim, but you are not able to return to your normal job
  • You have a significant injury or occupational disease that may result in permanent disability

For a free consultation regarding your case, you can contact or call an Atlanta workers' compensation attorney at The Bader Law Firm (404.917.9174).  You pay no attorney's fees unless we win.

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Why should I hire The Bader Law Firm?

  1. We aggressively represent each of our clients to pursue the maximum recovery of benefits available under the law.

  2. We are caring and compassionate because we know that on-the-job injuries and occupational diseases place a tremendous physical, emotional, and financial strain on injured workers and their families. 

  3. We provide personal attention to each of our clients and welcome their input and ideas regarding their cases.

  4. We make sure each of our clients understands every aspect of their case and we promptly answer and respond to any question or concern they have regarding their case.

  5. We know how an insurance company will handle a case like yours because represented insurance companies in workers' compensation cases before dedicating ourselves to representing injured workers.

  6. We only represent injured workers.

  7. We have handled workers' compensation cases involving virtually every type of on-the-job injury and occupational disease, so we understand the legal and medical issues likely to be involved in your case.

  8. We will come to you – at your home or in the hospital – if you are not able to come to us.

  9. We are dedicated to helping injured workers obtain the best possible medical care and maximum compensation available under Georgia law.

  10. We work tirelessly for every client because we would expect the same effort from any attorney that we might hire for ourselves or for a family member.

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How much will a workers' compensation attorney charge to handle my case?

Workers' compensation attorneys usually handle cases on a contingent fee basis.  This means you don't pay your attorney's fees out of pocket, but instead that your attorney receives a fee if and when he or she helps you recover benefits or a cash settlement. 

According to Workers' Compensation Board Rule 108, workers' compensation attorneys in Georgia can charge a maximum contingent fee of twenty-five percent (25%) of the total award.

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Can I meet my workers' compensation attorney before deciding to hire him or her?

A workers' compensation attorney will usually meet with you briefly or talk with you by phone to allow the two of you to get acquainted. This meeting allows you to talk with your prospective attorney before making a final hiring decision.  The Bader Law Firm will not charge any fee for your initial consultation and, in fact, won't charge any attorney's fees unless and until we help you obtain cash benefits or a cash settlement.

During an initial consultation with an Atlanta workers' compensation attorney at The Bader Law Firm, you can decide whether you want to hire The Bader Law Firm to represent you in your workers' compensation case.  Many injured workers are nervous or intimidated when they meet a lawyer for the first time; but remember, it's your case and you're the one doing the hiring.  So the most important thing is that you're comfortable and satisfied with whichever attorney you choose. For a free consultation to discuss your workers' compensation case, please contact The Bader Law Firm or call us at 404.917.9174.

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What sort of questions should I ask an attorney before hiring one?

Before you hire a workers' compensation attorney, you should ask him or her any questions that will help you determine whether you would feel comfortable and confident with this person representing you.

Some good questions to ask a workers' compensation attorney are:

  • Do you specialize in workers' compensation law?
  • Do you represent injured workers or employers, or both?
  • How long have you been practicing workers' compensation law?
  • What types of legal issues have you handled in prior workers’ comp. cases?
  • What types of injuries have you handled in prior workers’ comp. cases?
  • Will you explain the legal issues and medical issues in my case to me?
  • Will you send me copies of documents that you prepare in my workers’ comp case?
  • Will you regularly keep me informed about the status of my workers’ comp case?
  • Can I participate actively in my workers' compensation case?
  • Can I reduce litigation expenses by providing you with copies of my documents?
  • Can I call you whenever I have a question or concern about my workers' comp. case?

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Do I need a workers' compensation attorney if my case goes to court?

You are not require to have an attorney if your case goes to court; however, we strongly recommend hiring an attorney who understands the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act, who knows how to deal with the attorneys who represent employer and insurance companies, and who can effectively present your case to an administratively law judge if your case goes to court.

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Is my attorney required to represent me if I want to file an appeal?

In general, a workers' compensation attorney is not required to represent you if you want to file an appeal.  If your attorney agreed to represent you on appeal in your attorney fee contract, however, he or she likely is or will be required to represent you if you choose to appeal.

If your attorney is not required to represent you on appeal, we strongly recommend that you consult with another workers' compensation attorney without delay.  In addition to the substantive issues for appeal, there are certain procedural rules and time deadlines that must be satisfied in order to appeal a decision; for this reason, time is of the essence.

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What if I hire a workers' compensation attorney but later become dissatisfied with his or her work?

You may terminate your attorney for any reason; but if you are planning to, keep in mind that he or she likely will be entitled to recover a portion of the proceeds from your case once it is resolved.  Pursuant to Board Rule 108, your attorneys (prior and current) be allowed to recover a combined fee of more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the total award.

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What should I do if I'm injured at work?

You should report any accident to your employer immediately if possible, but, if not possible, then within thirty (30) days of your accident.  If you are not sure to whom you should report your accident, you should report it to your supervisor, foreman, or another representative of your employer.  If you need help reporting your accident or filing a workers' compensation claim, we strongly recommend contacting an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney.  Failing to timely report or file a claim may prevent you from recovering workers' compensation benefits.

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When should I report my work-injury to my employer?

If you have not already reported your accident and injury to your employer, you should do so immediately!  If you fail to provide your employer with timely notice of your on-the-job injury, you may be barred from recovering any workers' compensation benefits.

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What happens if I'm not able to report my injury?

If you are not able to report your injury immediately after it occurs, your co-workers, supervisor, and any other witnesses should report it to your employer as soon as possible.  Then you should report what occurred as soon as you are physically and mentally capable of doing so.

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How much time do I have to file a workers' compensation claim?

You have one (1) year from the date of injury to file a claim with the State Board of Workers' Compensation.  If, during that year, you received remedial treatment from your employer for your work-related injury, you have one (1) year from the date of the last remedial treatment from your employer to file a claim.  Also, if you continued to work after your injury until you were forced to stop working due to a gradual worsening in your condition, you may be able to file a claim within one (1) year of the date you were forced to stop working.

If you received weekly income benefits as a result of your work-related disability, you have (1) year from the date of the last remedial treatment or two (2) years from the last payment of weekly income benefits to file a claim for additional compensation.

If your claim is based on an occupational disease, you have one (1) year from the date you became aware of your disease or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have know of the relationship between your condition and its employment.  Any claim based upon an occupational disease must be filed within seven years of the last date you were exposed to the work-related hazards that caused your disease; however, if your claim is based upon a diagnosis of asbestosis or mesothelioma resulting from exposure to asbestos, you have one (1) year from the first date of disability following your diagnosis to file a claim.

While we strongly recommend filing a claim as quickly as possible, there are circumstances in which an injured worker can file a claim after the applicable deadline (statute of limitations) in his or her case; therefore, if you have missed the applicable deadline in your case, or if you think you are close to missing the applicable deadline, we strongly recommend that you immediately contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

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How do I file a workers' compensation claim?

To file a claim for workers' compensation benefits in Georgia, you must complete and file a Form WC-14 with the State Board of Workers' Compensation, and, at the same time, you must mail a copy of the form to both your employer and your employer's workers' compensation insurance company.  If you merely wish to place the State Board, your employer, and your employer's insurance company on notice of your claim, then you must file the Form WC-14 as a "Notice of Claim."  But if you would like to request a hearing before the State Board, you must file the Form WC-14 as a "Request for Hearing.'

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What happens after I file a claim for workers' compensation benefits?

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What should I do if my workers' compensation claim is denied?

If your workers' compensation claim is denied by your employer or its workers' compensation insurance company, you have the right to request a hearing from the State Board of Workers' Compensation.  The procedure for filing a claim should be outlined on the back of the "denial" form that you should receive - which usually will be one of two forms: a Form WC-1/Employer's First Report of Injury or a Form WC-3/Notice to Controvert.

You have one year from the date of injury to file a workers' compensation claim with the State Board of Workers' Compensation.  But if you received remedial medical treatment from your employer for your on-the-job injury, you have one year from the date of the last remedial treatment to file a workers' compensation claim with the State Board.  If you received weekly income benefits as a result of your on-the-job injury, however, you have two years from the date of your last payment of weekly income benefits to file a claim. 

If you are filing a workers' compensation claim based upon an occupational disease, you have one year from the date you become aware of your disease, or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of the relationship between your disability and its relationship to your employment.  No claim for an occupational disease may be filed after seven years from the last date you were exposed to the employment hazards related to your disease; however, if your claim is based upon asbestosis or mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos, you have one year from the date of first disablement after being diagnosed with one of these diseases to file your claim.

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What should I do if the insurance company has not responded to my claim?

If you are concerned about the status of your workers' compensation claim, you can contact any or all of the following: your employer and its insurance company; the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation; or an experienced workers' compensation attorney.  Filing a timely and proper claim is critical, so if you are concerned that you may not have done this, we strongly recommend contacting an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible.

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Am I required to provide my complete medical history to "workers' comp"?

In general, you are not required to voluntarily provide your workers' compensation company with your complete medical history after you've suffered an on-the-job injury; however, if you are asked about your medical history and deny any prior injuries or pre-existing conditions, your workers' compensation company may later deny your claim if it discovers evidence that you suffered from a similar prior injury or pre-existing condition.

If your Georgia workers' compensation case is in litigation, the lawyer for your workers' compensation company will take your deposition to gather all sorts of facts that is relevant to your case.  One of these facts or set of facts will be whether you suffered any  accidents or injuries prior to your on-the-job injury.  For this reason, you will probably be asked to disclose all of your prior injuries, accidents, and medical providers.

If you are asked to provide your medical history during your deposition, you must provide honest answers to the best of your recollection.  If you do not, you may undermine your own credibility and, worse, you may be charged with perjury.

Aggravations of prior injuries or pre-existing conditions are usually covered by Georgia's workers' compensation law.  Of course, there are some cases where an "aggravation" may not be covered or where an aggravation that is covered is later denied for one reason or another.  For this reason, we strongly recommend that you speak with a Georgia workers' compensation lawyer about your case as soon as possible.  To schedule a free consultation with a Georgia workers' compensation attorney at The Bader Law Firm, please call us at 404.917.9174 or send us an email

Am I eligible for workers' compensation benefits?

Most employees who enter a contract of employment in Georgia or who suffer an on-the-job injury while working in Georgia are eligible for Georgia workers' compensation benefits.  Though there are only a few, there are certain types of employees who are not covered by the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act and, as such, are not eligible for workers' compensation benefits.  Independent Contractors are not eligible for workers' compensation benefits either; however, some workers who are called "Independent Contractors" are actually "employees," so even if you think you are an Independent Contractor, you may actually be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. 

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How long do I have to work before I'm eligible for workers' compensation?

Workers' compensation coverage begins on your first day of employment, so workers' compensation would apply even if you were injured on your first day of work.

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Who is required to provide workers' compensation coverage?

According to the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act, any employer who regularly employs three or more part-time or full-time employees is required to provide workers' compensation coverage.  There are some exceptions, but there are only a few and they rarely come up.

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How do I know if the company I work for is covered by workers' compensation?

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Does workers' compensation cover government employees?

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What types of jobs are covered by workers' compensation?

Georgia workers' compensation law covers every person in the service of another under any contract, written or implied, whose employment is in the usual course of trade, business, occupation, or profession of the employer; in short,  workers' compensation law covers nearly every type of "employee." There are some exceptions, so if you have questions or are concerned about whether you would be covered by workers' compensation, you should contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

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How does the law determine if I am an employee or an independent contractor?

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Can I receive workers' compensation for an injury resulting from carelessness?

Yes.  An injured worker who is injured as a result of his or her carelessness can be compensated as long as his or her carelessness was not the result of intoxication or some other form of employee misconduct.

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Can I receive workers' compensation if my injury resulted from employee misconduct?

Usually an employee cannot be compensated if he or she was engaging in misconduct at the time of his or her injury; however, there are some exceptions to this rule, so you should consult with an Atlanta workers' compensation attorney if you're not sure whether you can be compensated for your injury.  Some examples of employee misconduct include fighting, horseplay, and intoxication due to drugs or alcohol.

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Can I be denied workers' compensation if I was drunk or on drugs when my accident occurred?

The Georgia Workers' Compensation Act provides that "No compensation shall be allowed for an injury or death due to intoxication by alcohol or being under the influence of marijuana or a controlled substance."  So yes, your claim for Georgia workers' compensation benefits may be denied if you were drunk or on drugs when your accident occurred.

However . . . you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits even if you were intoxicated. Georgia law does not bar claims for workers' compensation benefits just because an injured worker had drugs or alcohol in their system when they were injured.  Instead, when a properly administered drug or alcohol test proves that the injured worker was intoxicated, the injured worker must prove that his or her accident or injury would have occurred regardless of whether he or she was intoxicated; that is, the injured worker must prove that his or her intoxication was not the cause of the accident.

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What types of injuries, illnesses, or diseases are covered by workers' compensation?

According to Georgia Workers' Compensation Law, any injury, illness, disease, or fatality that arises out of and in the course of employment is covered by workers' compensation.  In other words, workers' compensation generally covers any injury that occurs while you are performing your assigned job during your assigned work hours.  There are some exceptions to this general rule, so if you have any questions or concerns about whether your injury, illness, or disease, or a family member's fatality, is covered by workers' compensation, we recommend contacting an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney.

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Can I receive workers' compensation for an occupational disease?

Yes, you can receive workers' compensation for an occupational disease if you can meet the legal test that applies to occupational diseases.  The test is somewhat complex, but in summary, you must show that there is a causal relationship between your disease and your employment, and you must show that your disease is not an ordinary disease to which you and others are exposed in day-to-day life.

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Can I receive workers' compensation for an occupational lung damage or lung disease?

Yes.  If you have suffered a lung injury or occupational disease as a result of hazardous exposure to harmful substances or toxins in the workplaces such as dust, fumes, smoke, or chemicals, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits just like any other injured worker in Georgia.

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Can I receive workers' compensation for loss of hearing or loss of vision?

Yes.  An employee who has been exposed to hazardous work-related noise and/or who has suffered work-related loss of vision may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.

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Can I receive workers' compensation for a heart attack?

Yes, you can receive workers' compensation benefits for a work-related heart attack; however, you can only receive workers' compensation for a heart attack if you can show by a preponderance of competent and credible evidence - which must include medical evidence - that your heart attack was attributable to the performance of the usual work of employment.

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Can I receive workers' compensation for a stroke?

Yes, you can receive workers' compensation benefits for a work-related stroke; however, you can only receive workers' compensation for a stroke if you can show by a preponderance of competent and credible evidence - which must include medical evidence - that your stroke was attributable to the performance of the usual work of employment.

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Can I receive workers' compensation for a repetitive motion injury?

Yes.  Georgia workers' compensation law covers injuries arising out of and in the course of employment, so repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as other non-traumatic injuries and diseases can provide a legitimate basis for compensation.  Indeed, repetitive stress injuries, occupational diseases, and occupational hearing loss are not uncommon and the courts have repeatedly held that these conditions are or can be compensable.

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Can I receive workers' compensation for an aggravation of a pre-existing condition?

If you re-injure or aggravate a prior injury or pre-existing condition, you likely will be entitled to workers' compensation benefits; however, there are limits to the extent to which an aggravation is compensable under Georgia law.

Once an aggravation resolves and is no longer the cause of your disability, i.e., you've returned to your pre-accident condition, you will no longer be entitled to disability benefits.

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What is a catastrophic injury?

Catastrophic injuries ordinarily involve one or more of the following:

  • Amputations;
  • Severe paralysis;
  • Severe head injuries;
  • Severe burns;
  • Blindness; and
  • Other severe injuries that prevent an injured worker from performing his or her prior work and from performing any other.

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What types of disability benefits are available under Georgia Workers' Compensation Law?

Georgia Workers' Compensation Law - specifically, the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act - provides four basic types of disability benefits: Temporary Total Disability Benefits ("TTD"); Temporary Partial Disability Benefits ("TPD"); Permanent Partial Disability Benefits ("PPD"); and Death Benefits.  The weekly rate and number of weeks of disability benefits that an injured worker receives depends on a number of factors such as the injured worker's Average Weekly Wage and the date of his or her accident.  An injured worker can receive only one type of disability benefit at a time, so benefits cannot be combined. 

Here is a summary of the four types of disability benefits available under Georgia Workers' Compensation Law:

Temporary Total Disability Benefits – Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD Benefits) are payable to an injured worker who is injured on the job and unable to work according to his or her Authorized Treating Physician.  These benefits are paid at a rate of two-thirds of the injured worker's Average Weekly Wage at the time of the injury, but will not to exceed the maximum rate available under the law on the date of the accident.  For non-catastrophic injuries that occur on or after July 1, 1992, an injured worker is limited to a maximum of 400 weeks of TTD Benefits beginning as of the date of accident.

Temporary Partial Disability Benefits – Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD Benefits) are payable to an injured worker when he or she returns to work in a job paying less as a result of an on-the-job accident.  These benefits are paid at a rate of two-thirds of the of the difference between the injured worker's pre-accident Average Weekly Wage and post-accident Average Weekly Wage, but will not exceed the maximum rate available under the law on the date of accident.  An injured worker is limited to a maximum of 350 weeks of TPD Benefits beginning as of the date of accident.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits – Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD Benefits) are payable to the injured worker for a permanent disability resulting from an on-the-job injury.  PPD Benefits are payable on the basis of a permanent impairment rating assigned by the injured worker's Authorized Treating Physician in accordance with the current American Medical Association Guidelines.  This rating is then applied to a pre-determined formula to determine the number of weeks of PPD Benefits to which an injured worker is entitled.  Many injured workers qualify for PPD Benefits, but those who do not suffer from any permanent impairment do not.

Death Benefits – Death Benefits are payable to eligible dependents such as a dependent spouse or minor children of a worker whose on-the-job accident or injuries resulted in death.  Death Benefits are payable at the rate of two-thirds of the deceased worker's Average Weekly Wage at the time of the accident not to exceed the maximum allowed under the law for all eligible dependents.  Death Benefits also include funeral expenses  payable up to the maximum allowed under the law as of the date of accident.

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Is there a maximum weekly disability rate?

Yes.  Your maximum weekly Temporary Total Disability (TTD) rate will depend on your date of injury.  Once your TTD rate has been properly set, it will not increase or decrease to account for the cost of living, inflation, or for any other reason.

Here is a summary of the maximum TTD rates in effect since July 1, 2000:

  • July 1, 2008 - Present:  $500.00
  • July 1, 2007 - June 30, 2008: $500.00
  • July 1, 2006 - June 30, 2007: $450.00
  • July 1, 2005 - June 30, 2006: $450.00
  • July 1, 2004 - June 30, 2005: $425.00
  • July 1, 2003 - June 30, 2004: $425.00
  • July 1, 2002 - June 30, 2003: $400.00
  • July 1, 2001 - June 30, 2002: $400.00
  • July 1, 2000 - June 30, 2001: $375.00

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Is there a maximum number of weeks that I can receive disability benefits?

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What type of disability benefits can I get if I'm not able to work due to my work-related injury?

Once you've missed more than seven (7) days of work as a result of your work-related injury, you are entitled to receive Temporary Total Disability Benefits ("TTD Benefits"); however, you are not entitled to TTD benefits for the first seven days you miss from work unless you miss more than twenty-one (21) consecutive days as a result of your injury.  If you are entitled to TTD Benefits, your first check should be mailed to you within twenty-one (21) days after the first date you are disabled.

TTD Benefits are paid at a rate of two-thirds of an injured worker's Average Weekly Wage, but will not exceed the maximum rate available under the law as of the worker's date of the accident.  For non-catastrophic injuries that occur on or after July 1, 1992, an injured worker is limited to a maximum of 400 weeks of TTD Benefits beginning from the date of accident.

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What type of disability benefits can I get if I'm not able to perform my normal job and there are no light-duty jobs available?

If you are partially disabled as a result of a compensable on-the-job injury and your employer does not have any suitable work available for you to perform, you are more than likely entitled to receive Temporary Total Disability ("TTD Benefits").  There are some exceptions to this rule, but these exceptions are rare. 

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What if I am able to return to work, but can only get a lower paying job as a result of my injury?

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What happens if I become permanently disabled?

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits, which are also known as PPD Benefits.  These benefits are paid to an injured worker based upon the permanent impairment rating that his or her Authorized Treating Physician assigns in accordance with the current American Medical Association Guidelines.  This impairment rating is then applied to a pre-determined formula to determine the number of weeks of PPD Benefits that an injured worker will receive.  Many injured workers qualify for PPD Benefits, but those who do not suffer from a permanent impairment do not. 

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What types of benefits are available in catastrophic cases?

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What types of benefits can the spouse, children, and dependents of a worker who was killed on the job receive?

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Under what circumstances might my disability benefits be suspended or terminated?

The following could jeopardize an injured worker's right to workers' compensation; however, there are exceptions, so if you are concerned that you may have or might jeopardize your right to workers' compensation, we strongly recommend contacting an experienced workers' compensation attorney.
  • Failing to promptly report an on-the-job injury
  • Refusing to submit to a drug test after an accident
  • Submitting fraudulent information for the purpose of obtaining workers' compensation
  • Failing to attempt a suitable job
  • Working while receiving Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD Benefits)
  • Refusing to submit to a medical examination by the Authorized Treating Physician
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What must I do if I need emergency treatment?

If you are faced with a true emergency as a result of your on-the-job injury, you are may receive temporary medical treatment from the nearest emergency room or emergency medical clinic to you; however, after the emergency is over, you must treat with your Authorized Treating Physician.  If you do not yet have an Authorized Treating Physician, then you are entitled to select one from the list of physicians that your employer should have provided to you. 

The list of physicians mentioned above is known as a Panel of Physicians.  If your employer did not have one posted in an easily visible location on your date of accident, or if this Panel was not valid, you may be entitled to select any physician you choose as your Authorized Treating Physician.  This can be a critical issue in your case, so if you have any questions or concerns about this, we strongly recommend contacting an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney.

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Can I choose the doctor for my work-related injury?

It depends.  If your employer had a valid Panel of Physicians posted in a conspicuous location on the date you were injured, you likely will be required to choose a physician from the list of physicians on the panel.  If no panel was posted or if the panel was not valid, however, you may (and likely will) be free to select your doctor.

If you are not happy with your first doctor for any reason, you have the right to make one change to another doctor without permission from your employer or its insurance company.  Note, however, that If your employer had a valid Panel of Physicians posted on your accident date, you are limited to making this change to another doctor on the panel.  On the other hand, if your employer did not have a valid panel posted, you may (and again likely will) be able to make this change to any doctor you choose.

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Do I have to go to the doctor that my boss tells me to see?

Absolutely not!

If your employer had a valid Panel of Physicians posted in a conspicuous place when you were injured, then you - not your boss - are entitled to select your Authorized Treating Physician from the Panel of Physicians. If your employer did not have a valid Panel of Physicians posted when you were injured, you -- again, not your boss - are entitled to select your Authorized Treating Physician; but in this instance, your employer cannot limit the list of physicians from which you can choose.

You are also entitled to make one change of physician without the consent of your employer or its workers' compensation insurance company.  If your employer had a valid Panel of Physicians, you can make this change to another physician on the Pane; but if it did not have a valid Panel, you can make a change to any physician you choose. There are some exceptions to these rules, so if you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact a workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible.

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How do I get my employer's list of doctors?

According to Georgia Workers' Compensation Law, you employer should have a Panel of Physicians (with a list of doctors) printed on a legal-size (eight-and-a-half inch by fourteen inch) pink piece of paper with the following title:

OFFICIAL NOTICE.  This business operates under the Georgia Workers' Compensation Law.

The Panel of Physicians will contain the names, specialties, addresses, and phone numbers of the physicians who you can choose as your Authorized Treating Physician.

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What happens if my employer does not have a list of doctors?

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What happens if my employer does not tell me about its list of doctors?

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Can I change doctors?

Yes. You are entitled to change your Authorized Treating Physician one time without the consent of your employer or its workers' compensation insurance company.

If your employer had a valid Panel of Physicians posted in a conspicuous place when you were injured, you can make this change only to one of the physicians on the Panel; but if your employer did not have a valid Panel, you can make this change to any physician you choose.  There are some exceptions to this rules, so if you have any questions or concerns about this issue, we encourage you to speak with a workers' compensation attorney.

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Can I get a second opinion?

Yes.  If you have received weekly income benefits for your on-the-job injury, then, within 120 days of the date you last received a weekly income benefit check, you have the right to undergo a second-opinion examination.  If you wish to undergo a second-opinion examination, you must notify your employer or its insurance company of your examination in advance and in writing.

There are some limitations on second-opinion examinations.  They are as follows:

  1. They must take place within 120 days of the date you last received a weekly income benefits.

  2. They must take place within the State of Georgia or within 50 miles of your residence.

  3. They must be performed by a "duly qualified physician or surgeon."

  4. The examination may be a physical, psychiatric, or psychological examination.

  5. The examining physician cannot repeat any diagnostic procedures (such as X-rays, MRIs, CT Scans, etc.) that have been performed since your date of injury and that cost more than $250.00 unless you or some other party other than your employer or its insurance company pays the amount that exceeds $250.00.

If you have any questions or concerns about your right to get a second opinion, or if you need help selecting a physician to perform a second opinion examination, we encourage you to contact an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney.

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What is an Independent Medical Examination ("IME")?

An Independent Medical Examination, which is also called an IME, is an examination performed by a non-treating physician at the request of your employer's workers' compensation carrier to assess your medical condition.  The Georgia Workers' Compensation Act permits employers and their workers' compensation carriers to obtain an IME as long as you are receiving or claiming that you are entitled to receive disability benefits. 

Georgia law does not limit the number of IMEs that employers and insurance companies can request, but if you are scheduled for more than one IME every six months, there is a very good chance that your employer's workers' compensation carrier is trying to find a reason to suspend your disability benefits.

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Am I required to attend an Independent Medical Examination set up by the insurance company?

Yes - as long as the insurance company provides you with proper "notice" of the IME.  If you fail to attend a properly noticed IME, the State Board of Workers' Compensation may suspend any disability benefits that you are receiving.

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Who will pay my medical bills?

If your employer and/or its workers' compensation carrier have accepted your claim as compensable, your medical expenses will be covered by workers' compensation.

Medical expenses include the reasonable cost of mileage from home to the medical facility as well as the reasonable cost of attendant care.

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Do I have to pay any portion of my medical bills?

No, as long as you are receiving treatment from an authorized physician.  If you have a compensable injury, your employer and its insurance company will pay all of your medical bills according to the Georgia Workers' Compensation Fee Schedule.  So even if your physician charges more than the amount allowed by the Fee Schedule, the charges will be reduced to the Fee Schedule-amount and your employer and its insurance company will pay that amount.

You are not responsible for any medical bills that are above the Fee Schedule.  If you receive any medical bills or are asked to pay any portion of you medical bills, you should inform your employer or its insurance company and ask them to pay these bills.  If you have any questions or concerns about your medical bills, we recommend contacting an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney.

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What should I do if I receive a medical bill?

Medical providers sometimes send medical bills to injured workers either by mistake or because they don't know that the injured worker is on workers' compensation.  If you a receive medical bill from an authorized medical provider, you should immediately call the insurance adjuster to let them know about the bill and, if possible, you mail or fax a copy to the adjuster so they can take care of the bill as quickly as possible.  In addition, you should immediately call and write a letter to the medical provider to provide them with your workers' compensation claim information.  You are not responsible for any portion of your authorized medical bills, but if you don't inform the adjuster and medical provider that you received a bill, there is a good chance that the medical provider will continue to send you bills.

If you are represented by an attorney and receive a medical bill for your on-the-job injury, you should immediately send a copy to your attorney so he or she can communicate with the adjuster and your medical provider to make sure the bills is paid in a timely manner.  If you are not represented by an attorney and have any questions or concerns about your medical bills, we encourage you to contact an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney who can help.

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Is my employer and its insurance company required to pay all of my medical bills regardless of how much they are?

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Can I get reimbursement for mileage or other expenses?

According to Georgia Workers' Compensation Law, you are entitled to reimbursement of some reasonable expenses that you incur in order to obtain medical treatment.  These expenses include mileage, meals, lodging, and some other expenses that are necessary and appropriate in order to ensure that you receive quality medical treatment.  If you are not sure whether a particular expense will be reimbursed, you should ask the insurance adjuster handling your case or you should contact an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney.

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How long do reimbursements take?

After you submit a request for reimbursement, the insurance company has thirty (30) days to reimburse you for approved expenses.  If the insurance company fails to reimburse you within thirty (30) days of receiving your request, a penalty will be added to the reimbursement amount.

You must submit a request for reimbursement within one (1) year of the date of service (that is, the date of the medical treatment you received).  And failure to do so will mean that you will not be entitled to reimbursement from the insurance company.

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What happens if I do not have a car to get to my doctors' appointments?

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Should I file a workers' comp. claim for a non-disabling injury if I have health insurance?

Under most health insurance plans, you likely will have to pay a percentage of your medical and pharmacy bills (usually called a co-pay), and you may even need to pay 100% of your medical bills unless you have already met your deductible.  On the other hand, workers' compensation insurance covers 100% of all reasonable and necessary medical bills with authorized medical providers.

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May I receive additional treatment after I reach maximum medical improvement?

Yes.  As long as you have not settled your claim in its entirety, you are entitled to lifetime medical treatment for your on-the-job injury; however, if you need additional medical treatment, you must return to your Authorized Treating Physician.  If several months or years have passed since you last received treatment, you should be aware that the insurance company likely will deny additional treatment if they have evidence that your current symptoms are not related to your on-the-job injury.

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What happens if I need surgery?

Before an authorized physician performs non-emergency surgery, his or her office will communicate with your employer's workers' compensation carrier to obtain authorization or payment for the surgery and to make any other arrangements that need to be made before the surgery.  In an emergency situation, surgery likely will be performed without pre-authorization, but as long as the surgery is for a compensable on-the-job injury, the workers' compensation carrier should pay for it after receiving the bill.

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What happens if I need physical therapy?

If you need physical therapy, your Authorized Treating Physician will order physical therapy and refer you to a physical therapy provider.  Failing to comply your authorized treatment recommendations could jeopardize your right to workers' compensation benefits, so you should make every effort possible to attend physical therapy that is ordered by your Authorized Treating Physician.

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Does workers' compensation cover prescription drugs?

Yes.  Many insurance companies have special procedures in place for obtaining prescription drugs, so you should find out if any such procedures are in place before you pay for the prescription medications on your own.  If there are no special procedures in place, you may need to pay for the prescription yourself and then submit a copy of the bill to your employer and/or the insurance company for reimbursement.

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What happens if I need an X-ray, MRI or CT scan?

Your Authorized Treating Physician will order any diagnostic tests that he or she needs to diagnose and assess the nature and extent of your injury.  If you have questions or concerns about a particular test, it is appropriate for you to discuss these with your physician.  If your physician has not ordered a test that you think you need, you should also feel free to ask your physician whether he or she thinks that test would be beneficial in your case.

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What is an X-ray?

An X-ray is a diagnostic test performed in a hospital radiology department or a health care provider's office by an X-ray technologist.  Generally speaking, X-rays are not painful tests; however, you may be asked to hold still in an awkward position for a short period of time.

X-rays are best for looking at bones and bone-related injuries.  X-rays may also be helpful in ruling out some soft tissue disorders; however, they often do not reveal soft tissue and other non-bone related injuries and conditions such as herniated discs or torn tendons.  CT Scans and MRIs tend to be more useful for diagnosing these types of injuries.

 

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What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan —  known as CT or computerized tomography — is an X-ray technique that produces images of your body that visualize internal structures in cross section rather than the overlapping images typically produced by conventional X-ray exams.  A CT Scan is usually able to show more detailed pictures of organs, bones, and other tissues than a conventional X-ray.

To learn more about CT Scans, how they're performed, and how to prepare for one, we recommend reading "About CT Scans" from the Atlanta Medical Center and watching "Video: CT Scan" from the Mayo Clinic.

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What is an MRI?

MRI, which stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a way to get pictures of various parts of your body without the use of x-rays.  An MRI scanner consists of a large and very strong magnet (usually donut-shaped) in which a patient lies.  A radio wave antenna is used to send signals to the body and then to receive signals back.  The returning signals are then convented into pictures by a computer, which is attached to the scanner.

MRIs are used for a variety of reasons, but they are particularly good for looking at the brain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other "soft tissue" throughout the body.

To learn more about MRIs, how they're performed, and how to prepare for one, we recommend reading "Magnetic Resonance Imaging" from the Atlanta Medical Center and watching "Video: MRI" from the Mayo Clinic.

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Do I have to go to court?

Many workers' compensation cases are resolve without an evidentiary hearing.  If your employer and its insurance company deny your claim or refuse to pay you workers' compensation benefits, however, you may have no choice but to go to court to seek and, hopefully, recover workers' compensation benefits.

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When will my workers' compensation case go to court?

The State Board of Workers' Compensation will not schedule a trial (also known as an "evidentiary hearing") unless and until an injured worker files a Form WC-14/Request for Hearing.  Shortly after an injured worker (or an injured workers' attorney) requests a hearing, the State Board usually schedules a trial for first-setting.

It is important to note, however, that most workers' compensation cases don't go to court on the first setting, but instead usually go to court three to six months after an injured worker requests a hearing.  Depending on the facts and issues in a case, a hearing may even be delayed longer than six months.

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Where will my workers' compensation hearing take place?

If your case goes to court, the hearing likely will be held in the county where you were injured or the closest county in which the State Board of Workers' Compensation holds hearings.

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What is a workers' compensation hearing?

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Who participates in a workers' compensation hearing?

With some exceptions, the participants at a workers' compensation hearing in Georgia will include:

  • An administrative jaw judge;
  • The injured worker and his or her attorney; and
  • A representative from the Employer and/or its workers' compensation insurance company and their attorney.

In addition, one or both parties is likely to bring witnesses to testify on their behalf.  Medical experts are permitted to testify at workers' compensation hearings; however, in most workers' compensation cases in Georgia, the parties simply submit expert medical opinions into evidence in the form of medical records.

One participant (or group of participants) that you won't see at a Georgia workers' compensation hearing is a jury.  In Georgia, the administrative law judge makes both findings of fact and rulings of law.

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What can I expect at a workers' compensation hearing?

A workers' compensation hearing is a formal presentation of a case by all interested parties before an administrative law judge of the State Board of Workers' Compensation.  Evidentiary and procedural rules apply as they would in a normal trial; however, there is no jury, the hearing is much less formal than a regular trial, and the hearing ordinarily lasts only a few hours instead of a few days or weeks.

Administrative law judges rarely issue their decisions during or immediately after a workers' compensation hearing.  Instead, they usually give the parties an opportunity to submit a post-hearing legal brief in which the parties can summarize the facts, legal issues, and law in the case, and present arguments as to why the administrative law judge should rule in their favor.

After the administrative law judge review the parties' legal briefs and evidence presented at the hearing, he or she will issue a decision that outlines his or her Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Award.

A workers' compensation hearing is quite different from a workers' compensation mediation, and the biggest difference lies in who has control over the result of the case.  With a hearing, the administrative law judge has full control over the outcome of the case, whereas with a mediation, all of the interested parties have some input and at least some control over the result in the case.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

What is a deposition?

A deposition is a statement taken under oath.  Testifying during a deposition is similar to testifying in court; however, your deposition will not be in front of a judge and most likely will take place in your attorney's office.

Lying during a deposition is perjury and could subject you to civil and criminal penalties including a fine and/or imprisonment.  Even if you avoid civil and criminal penalties, by lying during your deposition, you will hurt your chances of convincing an administrative law judge that you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

What are the "ground rules" for a deposition?

While there might be more in some cases, in general, there are five "ground rules" for every workers' compensation deposition:
  1. Do not begin your response until the defense attorney completes his or her question.  In normal conversation, we often anticipate the end of a question and, as such, begin answering it before it has been asked.  This presents a couple of problems during a deposition: first, this prevents the court reporter from transcribing a clear transcript because he or she can only record one person talking at a time; and second, defense attorneys frequently formulate questions as they are speaking and sometimes change the meaning of a question by adding a word or phrase at the end of it.  By pausing for a second or two after each question, you can be sure the attorney is finished and, more importantly, can formulate your answer in your head before answering out loud.

  2. Do not respond to a question that you don't understand.  If you answer a question, everyone will assume you understood the question; therefore, you should not answer any question if you have any doubt as to what the defense attorney is asking.  When this happens, you should politely ask the defense attorney to repeat and/or rephrase the question until you understand it.  For example, you could say "Would you please rephrase that question" or "I'm not sure I understand your question; could you ask it again?"

  3. Always give a verbal response.  Court reporters take down spoken words, not hand or head gestures.  So if you nod your head up and down, shake your head from side to side, or point to a body part, the court reporter cannot accurately record your response.  To make sure the court reporter takes down your response, you should answer "yes" or "no" instead of nodding or shaking your head, and should should specifically identify the body part you point to.  You should also avoid answering "yes or no" questions with "uh huh" or "ah huh" because even though your answer might be clear to those at the deposition, your answer will not be clear from the written transcript prepared by the court reporter.

  4. If you do not know an exact answer, you may give your best estimate.  Defense attorneys frequently ask questions about specific dates or events that occurred a long time ago.  If you don't know the answer to one of these questions (or any other questions), you are allowed to answer "I don't know" or "I can't recall."  If you don't know the exact answer to a question, but can give an estimate, then you should give an estimate and explain that you are giving an estimate to the best of your recollection; however, you should not guess at any answer under any circumstances.

  5. You may take a break.  You may take a break to attend to your personal needs or to speak with your attorney.  You may also stand up, move around, or stretch during your deposition, and you can do this during a break or during the deposition itself.  For example, if your back is hurting and you want to stand while you testify, you can ask the defense attorney if he or she if you stand up.  The attorney will almost always allow you to do this, and by asking for permission, the record will show that you were not able to remain seated throughout the entire deposition. 
To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

What will they ask me during my workers' compensation deposition?

Although every workers' compensation case has a unique set of facts and legal issues, depositions of injured workers usually follow a similar pattern and cover similar topics. 

1. Identifying InformationDefense attorneys will ask you to provide a great deal of information regarding yourself, including your:

  • Full Name
  • Maiden Name
  • Nickname
  • Current Address
  • Names of Residents at Current Address
  • Addresses During Last Five Years
  • Marital Status and Name of Husband or Wife
  • Names of Children and Other Dependents
  • Driver's License Number
  • Social Security Number
  • Whether you are a citizen of the United States
  • Whether you are legally able to work in the United States
  • Educational History
  • Criminal History

Although defense attorneys ask several questions regarding injured workers' background and personal history, the majority of these questions are intended to elicit general information and allow the attorney to "get a feel" for the injured worker.  Defense attorneys always ask injured workers whether they have been convicted of a felony, so don't be offended if you are asked this question.  You must disclose this information truthfully if asked during your deposition; therefore, you should be sure to speak with your attorney about any prior arrests or convictions before your deposition begins.

2. Previous EmploymentDefense attorneys likely will ask you to provide the following information regarding your employment history:

  • Names of Prior Employers
  • Addresses of Prior Employers
  • Dates of Prior Employment
  • Job Duties with Prior Employers
  • Names of Immediate Supervisors with Prior Employers
  • Whether you Suffered any Injuries with Prior Employers
  • Reason you Ceased Employment with Prior Employers

If you are asked about any prior on-the-job injuries, it is critical that you answer truthfully even if you had a prior on-the-job injury.  And this is true even if your prior on-the-job injury was the same or similar to your current on-the-job injury.  Similarly, if you were terminated by any prior employers, you must disclose any such terminations if you are asked.  Defense attorneys can easily obtain your prior medical and employment records, so lying to them or failing to disclose this type of information likely will allow them to impeach you and hurt your credibility.

3.  Previous Medical HistoryDefense attorneys usually cover your medical history very thoroughly.  In so doing, they will usually ask you whether you have suffered from any of the following:

  • Prior Non-Work-Related Accidents/Injuries
  • Prior Work-Related Accidents/Injuries
  • Prior Automobile Accidents/Injuries
  • Prior Motorcycle Accidents/Injuries
  • Prior Pedestrian Accidents/Injuries
  • Prior Slip-and-Fall Accidents/Injuries
  • Prior Sports-Related Accidents/Injuries
  • Prior Military-Related Accidents/Injuries
  • Chronic Medical Conditions or Diseases
  • Names of Prior Medical Providers

You must disclose information regarding your past medical history if asked; therefore, if you have suffered any of the above-referenced accidents or injuries (or any others), you should speak with your attorney about them before your deposition.  Insurance companies have access to computerized records of injuries reported to any insurance company, and defense attorneys generally are able to obtain prior medical records, so there is no sense in lying about your prior medical history when asked.  You may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits even if you suffered from a prior injury or medical condition, but if you lie or fail to disclose this type of information when asked, you almost certainly will hurt your chances of receiving workers' compensation benefits.

4.  Description of On-the-Job AccidentWorkers' compensation in Georgia is a "no fault" system, so, with some exceptions, the cause of your accident won't matter too much.  Your attorney should discuss your accident with you before your deposition, so if he or she does not, you should be sure to discuss this with them if you are concerned about it for any reason.

5.  Medical Treatment for On-the-Job InjuriesYou should be prepared to name all of the doctors who have examined or treated you for your on-the-job injury regardless of who sent you to each doctor.  In addition, you should be prepared to describe the type of treatment that each doctor provided and to explain whether and how the treatment improved your condition.

6.  Current DisabilityDefense attorneys always ask injured workers to list and explain their symptoms, and to explain how these symptoms limit their ability to perform work of any kind.  Along these lines, they will also ask injured workers to explain what types of work and non-work-related activities they could perform before their accidents but not after their accidents.  Finally, they usually ask injured workers what they have been doing in the spare time since their accidents.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Do you have any advice regarding my workers' compensation deposition?

Be honest.  You are sworn to tell the truth and if you are caught in a lie, no one will believe anything else you say.  If there is something that you do not want to talk about at the deposition, be sure to talk to your attorney about this before yoru deposition so he or she can help you decide whether it is necessary and, if so, the best way to present this problematic information.

Answer "yes" or "no" if possible.  If you are asked a "yes or no" question, answer only "yes" or "no."  Do not elaborate or explain your answer any further.  If the attorney wants more specific information, allow him or her to ask you specific questions and then answer the specific questions.

Keep your responses short and simple.   Listen carefully to the question and answer only the specific question that you are asked.  Do not think out loud or give more information than the question asks you to provide.

Be calm and polite.  If you find yourself becoming angry, nervous, or upset in any other way, politely ask the attorney for a break and speak with your attorney.  Arguing with the attorney could make you look bad and it could even hurt your case.

Remember the attorney-client privilege.  You do not have to tell the insurance company's attorney about any conversations you've had with your attorney; however, if you share any information that is protected by this attorney-client privilege, you will waive this privilege and likely will be forced to disclose more confidential information.

If you're not sure about an answer, explain this when you respond.  For example, if you're asked to state how much a particular object weighs but are not certain, you can say something like "I'm not sure, but I think it weighs about fifty pounds."  Similarly, if you can't remember an exact date but believe it was two years ago, you can say something like "I think that occurred about two years ago."  This is much better than guessing because if you guess and are wrong, you may be held to your answer even though you were not sure when you gave it.

Listen carefully to your attorney's objections.  Your attorney probably will not object to too many questions; therefore, if your attorney objects to a question, listen carefully to what he or she says.  Unless your attorney instructs you not to respond, you must respond after your attorney completes his or her objection.

If you do not clearly understand a question, ask the attorney to repeat or rephase it.  If you answer a question, the judge will assume that you understood the question; therefore, to make sure that you answer only the questions that are asked, you should ask the attorney to repeat or rephrase any question that you think you did not fully understand.

Be prepared.  Before your deposition, you should make lists of the following information to the best of your recollection:

  1. Questions and concerns you want your attorney to address before your deposition;

  2. Dates of your prior work-related and non-work-related injuries, and description of each of these injuries;

  3. Names and addresses of your medical providers during the last ten years; and

  4. Names and addresses of your prior employers.

Relax.  As long as you tell the truth, you should have nothing to worry about.  And if you are concerned about anything, let your attorney know and he or she should be able to put your mind at ease.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

What is a settlement mediation?

Mediation is a process in which a neutral person known as a mediator tries to help the parties reach a settlement or resolve disputed issues.  Since the goal of a mediation is to find a solution to the whatever issues exist, the mediator will encourage the parties to focus on what would be in their best interest rather than on who is at fault for these issues.  Nothing is recorded at a mediation, so if you are not able to reach a settlement or resolve any issues at a mediation, it will essentially be like it never happened. 

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Can I request a settlement mediation?

Yes.  If you would like to request a Settlement Mediation, the parties are required to file a Form WC-100/Request for Settlement Mediation with the State Board of Workers' Compensation.  This lets the State Board know that all parties are ready to engage in settlement negotiations.  If you would like to request a Mediation for any other issues, you must file a Form WC-14/Request for Mediation and you must indicate the issues you would like to be resolved at the Mediation.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Is a settlement mediation the same as a workers' compensation hearing?

No.  Mediation is an informal process where all of the parties will be given a chance to explain their positions to the mediator who will then try to help the parties resolve their differences.  After meeting with both parties in the same room, the mediator usually separates the parties and then goes back and forth to see if he or she can bring the parties to a point of compromise.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

How long will my settlement mediation last?

The length of a Mediation or Settlement Mediation will depend on several things, such as the number of issues to be resolved, the complexity of the issues involved, and the willingness of the parties to compromise.  You are required to appear for a Mediation or Settlement Mediation that is scheduled by the State Board, but once you have given a good-faith effort to resolve the issues, you are allowed to end the mediation even if the issues in your case have not been resolved.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Where will my settlement mediation take place?

The State Board of Workers' Compensation holds Mediations and Settlement Mediations in one of seventeen locations in the State of Georgia.  The exact location is determined by where an accident occurred or where the parties are located, but the State Board usually attempts to hold mediations in the most convenient location for all of the parties involved.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.


When will my settlement mediation take place?

The State Board of Workers' Compensation ordinarily schedules Settlement Mediations within thirty (30) days of receiving a request; however, some Settlement Mediations are scheduled more than thirty (30) days after a request is made if the calendar is already filled up.  The State Board can also schedule emergency mediations, but this is rare and is reserved only for true emergencies.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Who will attend my settlement mediation?

In addition to the mediator, the following individuals ordinarily attend mediations in workers' compensation cases:

  • Injured Worker
  • Injured Worker's Attorney
  • Insurance Company Adjuster (and sometimes a representative from your employer)
  • Eployer and Insurance Company's Attorney

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Who will be the mediator at my settlement mediation?

If your Mediation or Settlement Mediation is scheduled by the State Board of Workers' Compensation, the mediator assigned to your case likely will be a staff attorney or an administrative law judge.  If an administrative law judge is the mediator, he or she will not be the same one who is assigned to be the judge if your case goes to a hearing.  Also, if an administrative law judge is the mediator, he or she will not act as a judge during the mediation, but will instead serve as an impartial mediator who will try to help the parties resolve the issues that the parties are attempting to resolve.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

What should I bring to my settlement mediation?

Unless you have been given special permission, you are required to personally appear at a Mediation or Settlement Mediation scheduled by the State Board of Workers' Compensation.  You are allowed to bring any documents that you think are relevant to your case, and it is a good idea to bring any outstanding medical bills or mileage-reimbursement requests that you have; however, you are not actually required to bring any documents to a Mediation or Settlement Mediation.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Am I required to settle my case at a settlement mediation?

No.  Neither you nor your employer or its insurance company are required to settle your case at a Settlement Mediation.  The only requirement is that you and the other parties made a good-faith effort to settle your case or resolve whatever issues the parties are attempting to resolve.  Once you've made a good-faith effort, you are allowed to end the mediation if you do not wish to continue with the process.  

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Am I entitled to settle my workers' compensation case?

You are entitled to settle all or part of your Georgia workers' compensation case; but if you are going to settle, we recommend seeking a settlement that leaves your medical benefits open for future treatment.  Insurance companies prefer to close claims in their entirety, so if you are going to close out your right to future treatment, you should probably feel confident that your settlement will be enough to cover your anticipated future medical needs.

Insurance companies frequently offer unfair settlements to unrepresented individuals who, in many cases, don't know that their cases are worth much more.  For this reason, we recommend that you contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can evaluate your case and help you obtain a fair settlement of your case.  If you would like to set up a free consultation with an experienced workers' compensation attorney at The Bader Law Firm, please call us at 404.917.9174.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

How much is my workers' compensation case worth?

What your workers' compensation case is worth will depend on a number of factors such as: how you were injured; who caused your injuries; what types of injuries you suffered; how much time you've missed from work and how much time you expect to miss from work in the future; whether you've received sufficient medical treatment for your injuries, and whether and what kind of medical treatment you'll need in the future; and whether any of your injuries are permanent and, if so, whether your authorized treating physician has issued a permanent partial disability rating.

If you'd like to know what your workers' compensation case is worth, or if you'd like to know whether you've received a fair settlement offer, we recommend speaking with a Georgia workers' compensation attorney who can perform a thorough evaluation of your case and who can help you maximize your recovery. 

To schedule a free consultation with a Georgia workers' compensation attorney at The Bader Law Firm, please send us an email or call us at 404.917.9174.  We represent injured workers throughout Georgia and  are conveniently located next to the State Board of Workers' Compensation just off the I-75/I-85 Connector and only steps from the Peachtree Center MARTA Station.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Who will pay for my medical care after I settle my case?

It depends.  If you closed out your claim at the time of settlement, you likely will be fully responsible or any medical treatment you receive after your settlement is approved by the State Board of Workers' Compensation.

On the other hand, if, at the time of settlement, you left medical benefits open, the insurance company should authorize any treatment you need for your work-related injury.  That said, the insurance company may deny payment of future medical treatment if you suffer a new accident after your settlement or if your condition gets worse as a result of work activities that you perform for a new employer. 

Before you settle your workers' compensation case, we strongly recommend contacting an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can make sure that you receive a fair settlement and help you maximize your recovery.

To schedule a free consultation with a Georgia workers' compensation attorney at The Bader Law Firm, please send us an email or call us at 404.917.9174.  We represent injured workers throughout Georgia and are conveniently located next to the State Board of Workers' Compensation just off the I-75/I-85 Connector and steps from the Peachtree Center MARTA Station.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

How will settlement affect me if I'm receiving social security?

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Is there more than one kind of workers' compensation settlement?

Yes.  There are two kinds of workers' compensation settlements in Georgia: one is a No-Liability Settlement, and the other is a Bona Fide Dispute Settlement.  Both kinds of settlements are recorded in a document called a Stipulation and Agreement, and before either kind of settlement becomes binding upon the parties, it must first be approved by the Settlement Division of the State Board of Workers' Compensation. 

  1. A Bona Fide Dispute Stipulation and Agreement - which must be used after a claimant has received weekly income benefits - is one in which an employer and its insurance company admit liability for the claimant's on-the-job injury and resulting disability.  In addition to containing this admission of liability, a Bona Fide Dispute Stipulation and Agreement contains the monetary terms of the settlement. 

  2. A No-Liability Stipulation and Agreement does not state the financial terms of the settlement, and instead is essentially limited to stating either that the claimant has agreed to dismiss his claim or that the parties have agreed that the claim should be denied.  This does not mean that a claimant settling his claim on a no-liability basis will not receive a lump-sum of money.  It simply means that instead of receiving this lump-sum as "compensation" for an accepted on-the-job injury and disability, he will receive this money as "consideration" for agreeing to dismiss his claim.  The monetary terms of a No-Liability Settlement are typically recorded in a separate contract called a Covenant and Release.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Can my employer fire me for filing a workers' compensation claim?

Georgia is an at-will employment state, so your employer can fire you for just about any reason; however, if your employer fired you or forced you to resign in retaliation for filing a workers'  compensation claim, you may have a basis for filing a civil lawsuit against your employer for "retaliatory discharge." 

Some other forms of employer retaliation are:

  • Failure to Promote
  • Adverse Wage Action
  • Refusal to Hire or Rehire
  • Threats of Adverse Action
  • Unwarranted Disciplinary Action
  • Unreasonable Change in Job Duties
  • Demotion or Negative Reassignement
  • Isolation or Intimidation in the Workplace
  • Interference with Workers' Comp. Process

If you believe that you have experienced any of these forms of retaliation in response to filing a claim, you may wish to consult with an employment law attorney regarding your rights and the legal remedies that may be available to you.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Can my employer fire me while I'm receiving workers' compensation benefits?

Yes. Unfortunately because Georgia is an at "at-will employment" state, your employer can fire you while you're receiving workers' compensation.  But if your employer fires you while you're receiving workers' compensation, your employer and its insurance company bears the risk that you may be compensated for a much longer period of time than you otherwise would have been had you not been terminated.

Most employers will not fire injured workers until they are released to return to full-duty work by the Authorized Treating Physician.  If this has happened to you, you are not legally entitled to workers' compensation disability benefits unless you can prove that you were not capable of returning to full-duty work when you were released to return to full-duty or you can prove that you have experienced a change in condition for the worse.  Proving either of these can be challenging, so if you are in this position, we strongly recommend contacting an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

How does the the Americans with Disabilities Act affect workers' compensation claims?

Injured workers who qualify for workers' compensation benefits can qualify for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), but only if they "qualify" for this protection.  To qualify for ADA protection, an injured worker must suffer from a work-related injury that results in a physical or mental impairment that is so severe that it "substantially limits" a major life activity.  Many injured workers suffer from these types of injuries, but many others only suffer from less severe injuries that heal within a shorter period of time and result in little, or no, permanent impairment.  If you feel that your employer has discriminated against you as a result of your on-the-job injury, we encourage you to contact an experienced Atlanta workers' compensation attorney or an experienced Atlanta employment law attorney who can discuss your case with you.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

Can my employer make me pay my group health insurance premium while I'm out of work and receiving workers' compensation income or disability benefits?

Employers generally are not required to maintain health insurance for injured workers, so you may be required to pay your own health insurance premiums while you're out of work and receiving income benefits or disability benefits.  That said, you may have rights with respect to COBRA Insurance and FMLA.  Also, you may be enrolled in a short-term or long-term disability plan that may provide coverage for some medical treatment.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

 

 

Can I receive unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits at the same time?

You cannot legally receive unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits at the same time.  If you receive unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits at the same time, your employer and its insurance company can seek a credit for the unemployment benefits that you receive.

To view other Workers' Compensation Questions and Answers, click on the "Q & A" Button.

 

Questions and Answers

The Bader Law Firm specializes in Georgia workers' compensation law and is dedicated to helping injured workers obtain the best possible medical treatment and maximum compensation available under the Georgia law.  Like many injured workers, our clients frequently have questions regarding their workers' compensation rights.  We have answered a number of these questions below and hope you find the answers helpful.

Your workers' compensation has its own unique set of facts and issues.  If you have specific questions about your case, we would be happy to speak with you, so please feel free to contact or call us at 404.917.9174 to discuss your case or to set up a free consultation.

General Questions

  1. What is Workers' Compensation?
  2. Are workers' compensation laws the same in all states?
  3. What are my workers' compensation rights as an injured worker in Georgia?
  4. What are my workers' compensation responsibilities as an injured worker in Georgia?
  5. What kinds of workers' compensation benefits are available to injured workers?
  6. Are workers' compensation benefits taxed?
  7. Am I required to stay in Georgia to continue receiving workers' compensation?
  8. How will workers' compensation benefits affect my social security benefits?
  9. Is the insurance company allowed to follow me or conduct surveillance on me?
  10. Does the State Board of Workers’ Compensation investigate fraud? 

Exclusive Remedy, Third-Party Litigation, and Subrogation

  1. Can I get compensation for my pain and suffering?
  2. Can I sue my employer for my work-related injury?
  3. Can I sue a co-worker if he or she caused my on-the-job injury?
  4. Can I sue anyone for my on-the-job injuries?
  5. Can I receive workers' compensation benefits if the accident was my fault? 

Attorneys and Attorney Fees

  1. What are the benefits of having a workers' compensation attorney?
  2. Do you recommend getting an attorney even if the insurance adjuster has seemed helpful?
  3. When should I consult a workers' compensation attorney?
  4. Why should I hire The Bader Law Firm? 
  5. How much will a workers' compensation attorney charge to handle my case?
  6. Can I meet my lawyer before deciding to hire him or her?
  7. What sort of questions should I ask an attorney before hiring one?
  8. Do I need a workers' compensation attorney if my case goes to court?
  9. Is my attorney required to represent me if I want to file an appeal?
  10. What if I hire a workers' compensation attorney but later become dissatisfied with his or her work?  

Reporting Injuries and Filing Claims

  1. What should I do if I'm injured at work?
  2. When should I report my work-injury to my employer?
  3. What happens if I'm not able to report my injury? 
  4. How much time do I have to file a workers' compensation claim?
  5. How do I file a claim for workers' compensation benefits? 
  6. What happens after I file a claim for workers' compensation benefits? 
  7. What should I do if my workers' compensation claim is denied? 
  8. What should I do if the insurance company has not responded to my claim?  
  9. Am I required to provide my complete medical history to "workers' comp"?

Coverage Issues

  1. Am I eligible for workers' compensation benefits?
  2. How long do I have to work before I'm eligible for workers' compensation?
  3. Who is required to provide workers' compensation coverage?
  4. How do I know if the company I work for is covered by workers' compensation?
  5. Does workers' compensation cover government employees?
  6. What types of jobs are covered by workers' compensation?
  7. How does the law determine if I am an employee or an independent contractor?
  8. Can I receive workers' compensation for an injury resulting from carelessness?
  9. Can I receive workers' compensation if my injury resulted from employee misconduct?
  10. Can I be denied workers' compensation if I was drunk or on drugs when my accident occurred?  

Compensability of Specific Injuries and Occupational Diseases

  1. What types of injuries, illnesses, or diseases are covered by workers' compensation?
  2. Can I receive workers' compensation for an occupational disease?
  3. Can I receive workers' compensation for occupational lung damage or lung disease?
  4. Can I receive workers' compensation for loss of hearing or loss of vision?
  5. Can I receive workers' compensation for a heart attack?
  6. Can I receive workers' compensation for a stroke?
  7. Can I receive workers' compensation for a repetitive motion injury?
  8. Can I receive workers' compensation for an aggravation of a pre-existing condition?
  9. What is a catastrophic injury? 

Choosing a Doctor, Changing Doctors, and Getting Second Opinions

  1. What must I do if I need emergency treatment?
  2. Can I choose the doctor for my work-related injury?
  3. Do I have to go to the doctor that my boss tells me to see?
  4. How do I get my employer's list of doctors?
  5. What happens if my employer does not have a list of doctors?
  6. What happens if my employer does not tell me about its list of doctors?
  7. Can I change doctors?
  8. Can I get a second opinion?
  9. What is an Independent Medical Examination ("IME")?
  10. Am I required to attend an Independent Medical Examination set up by the insurance company? 

Medical Bills and Mileage Reimbursement

  1. Who will pay my medical bills?
  2. Do I have to pay any portion of my medical bills?
  3. What should I do if I receive a medical bill?
  4. Is my employer and its insurance company required to pay all of my medical bills regardless of how much they are?
  5. Can I get reimbursement for mileage or other expenses?
  6. How long do reimbursements take?
  7. What happens if I do not have a car to get to my doctors' appointments?
  8. Should I file a workers' comp. claim for a non-disabling injury if I have health insurance?
  9. May I receive additional medical treatment after I reach maximum medical improvement?
  10. Who will pay for my medical treatment in the future if I settle my case? 

Common Types of Medical Treatment and Diagnostic Testing

  1. What happens if I need surgery?
  2. What happens if I need physical therapy?
  3. Does workers' compensation cover prescription drugs?
  4. What happens if I need an X-ray, MRI or CT scan?
  5. What is an X-ray?
  6. What is a CT Scan?
  7. What is an MRI?         

Disability Benefits and Death Benefits

  1. What types of disability benefits are available under Georgia Workers' Compensation Law? 
  2. Is there a maximum weekly disability rate? 
  3. Is there a maximum number of weekly disability checks that I can receive? 
  4. What types of disability benefits can I get if I'm unable to work due to my work-related injury?
  5. What type of disability benefits can I get if I'm not able to perform my normal job and there are no light-duty jobs available?
  6. What if I am able to return to work, but can only get a lower paying job as a result of my injury?
  7. What happens if I become permanently disabled?
  8. What types of benefits are available in catastrophic cases?
  9. What types of benefits can the spouse, children, and dependents of a worker who was killed on the job receive?
  10. Under what circumstances might my disability benefits be suspended or terminated?

Workers' Compensation Hearings, Discovery, and Depositions

  1. Do I have to go to court?
  2. When will my workers' compensation case go to court?
  3. Where will my workers' compensation hearing take place?
  4. What is a workers' compensation hearing?
  5. Who participates in a workers' compensation hearing?
  6. What can I expect at a workers' compensation hearing?
  7. What is a deposition?
  8. What are the "ground rules" for a deposition?
  9. What will they ask me during my workers' compensation deposition?
  10. Do you have any advice regarding my workers' compensation deposition?

Settlement Mediations

  1. What is a settlement mediation?
  2. Can I request a settlement mediation?
  3. Is a settlement mediation the same as a workers' compensation hearing?
  4. How long will my settlement mediation last?
  5. Where will my settlement mediation take place?
  6. When will my settlement mediation take place?
  7. Who will attend my settlement mediation?
  8. Who will be the mediator at my settlement mediation?
  9. What should I bring to my settlement mediation?
  10. Am I required to settle my case at a settlement mediation? 

Workers' Compensation Settlements

  1. Am I entitled to settle my workers' compensation case?
  2. How much is my workers' compensation case worth?
  3. Who will pay for my medical care after I settle my case?
  4. How will settlement affect me if I'm receiving Social Security?
  5. Is there more than one kind of workers' compensation settlement?   

Employer Retaliation, FMLA, Unemployment, and Other Employment Issues

  1. Can my employer fire me while I'm receiving workers' compensation benefits?
  2. How does the the Americans with Disabilities Act affect workers' compensation claims? 
  3. Can my employer make me pay my group health insurance premium while I'm out of work and receiving workers' compensation income or disability benefits? 
  4. Can I receive unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits at the same time?