Every day, we take our lives in our hands. Between the car drive to the office and working all day, there are so many things that can happen to us. It’s nice to know that if we get hurt at work, we’ll be taken care of. We’re told when we first enter the workforce that the reason we have workers comp is in case we get hurt at work. And then, when we do actually get hurt, we’re told that our claim is denied. It makes no sense. You did nothing wrong and it seems like you’re being punished. Fair or not, not every employer pays their workers’ comp claims. Often times, workers comp insurance companies deny a certain amount of claims. Sometimes, there are legitimate reasons why a claim is denied. But other times, it seems as if the insurance company is just trying to save money. When this happens to you, it’s hurtful. It’s very frustrating. The only thing you can do is find out why your claim was denied. While you’re waiting for the denial letter, you need to contact an Albany workers’ comp attorney.
Workers’ Compensation Hearing
In Georgia, workers comp claims are handled a certain way. If your claim is approved, you’ll start receiving your benefits a couple weeks after the accident. If your claim is denied, however, there are a few things you need to do. The first thing to do is contact an Albany workers comp attorney. Let him know your situation and schedule your free initial consultation. The second thing you need to do is request that a hearing is scheduled on your behalf. The court won’t do this automatically. If you don’t request this hearing, your claim will be barred.
The court will determine a few things at your workers’ compensation hearing:
- Were you actually hurt?
- Were you hurt while performing your job and not while doing something else?
- Do your injuries prevent you from doing your job?
- Did you have any pre-existing conditions?
- Did you submit the correct earnings information?
You’ll get a chance to submit evidence supporting your claim. The employer will also get an opportunity to demonstrate why your claim should be approved. The court will weigh the evidence submitted by both sides. Their decision will usually be handed down the same day as the hearing. You will not get a second chance at this hearing. Make sure you have an experienced attorney by your side during the hearing.
Workers’ Comp Denials
Until you get your denial letter, you won’t have any idea why your claim was denied. You may have an idea why they did it, but you won’t know for sure. Your Albany workers comp attorney can also reach out to the insurance company and find out what’s going on. There are many reasons why your claim may be denied, including:
- Your attendance records are incorrect or incomplete
- Your paperwork has not been completed properly
- You didn’t include your medical records
All of these reasons are easy to overcome. Your attorney can find out what is missing and submit it to the insurance company. The real problem comes in when your claim is denied for a substantive reason. Some of these reasons are:
- The insurance company believes you got hurt intentionally
- You may have a pre-existing condition
- The insurance company doesn’t believe you got injured
- They believe your injuries happened somewhere outside of work
- You were behaving outside the scope of your employment
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your injury
It’s going to be a lot harder if your claim is denied for any of these reasons.
What are Workers’ Comp Benefits in Georgia?
Every state offers some sort of workers comp insurance. Georgia is no different. In Georgia, you are entitled to the following benefits under workers compensation:
- Medical benefits – In Georgia, you are entitled to medical coverage while on workers comp. You shouldn’t have to pay any fees or co-pays for treatment received while on workers comp. If this happens, make sure you call your Albany workers comp attorney right away.
- Wage Replacement Benefits – You are entitled to receive wages comparable to what you were earning when you were working. There are two types of wage loss benefits: temporary total disability benefits (TTD) and temporary partial disability benefits (TPD)
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits – If it is determined that you have suffered a permanent disability, you’ll be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits.
You have certain rights under Georgia workers compensation law. Make sure you have an experienced worker’s comp attorney by your side.
Workers’ Comp Death Benefits in Albany
Some work injuries are so serious that they result in death. Under Georgia law, the family members of the deceased are allowed to collect death benefits. In order to collect death benefits, you must prove the following:
- The death was an immediate result of the work-related accident. For a work illness case, the illness must have caused the death of the employee.
- Compensation is limited to the employee’s immediate family and dependents
The specific workers’ comp death benefits allowed include the following:
- Up to $7,500 to cover the employee’s funeral and burial expenses
- Employee’s dependents are entitled to collect two-thirds of the employee’s salary per week up to $575 per week
- The length of these benefits depends on the employee’s age
Rather than have the cases drag out for years, most attorneys try to settle workers comp death benefit cases. It’s easier on the family and the insurance company.
Are you Entitled to Permanent Disability Benefits in Georgia?
If your work accident leaves you permanently disabled, you may be entitled to permanent disability benefits in Georgia. It really depends on how severe your injuries are. It also depends on whether you qualify as permanently disabled. The court may believe that you are able to work. Even if you can’t do the same job as before the accident, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re disabled. You have to actually prove that you’ve lost the ability to use a certain part of your body.
You’re not entitled to permanent partial disability benefits until you’ve exhausted your temporary benefits. If you are awarded permanent disability benefits, you will receive the following:
- Up to 2/3 of your regular wages per week
- Helps cover the cost of living, medical bills, and lost wages
- Your doctors and the court will determine how many weeks of benefits you are entitled to
You have to remember – insurance companies are reluctant to award anyone permanent benefits. They would rather either settle your case or argue that you are not permanently disabled. Having an Albany workers’ comp lawyers by your side will give you a fighting chance. You don’t want to go up against the insurance company and their lawyer alone.
What Types of Injuries are Covered Under Your Workers’ Comp Claim?
Your Albany workers comp lawyer needs to know how serious your injuries are. He’ll hire doctors to examine you. He’ll have experts look at your medical records. There are dozens of types of work-related accidents. There are just as many types of injuries. Your Albany workers comp attorney needs to identify your injuries early on. This way, he can submit a claim for the maximum amount of compensation. If you wait months or years to get examined, you’ll have a hard time proving your injuries are work-related.
For this reason, we always say to get medical treatment right after your accident. Your Human Resources manager will help you do this. You do have to see a doctor that’s approved by workers comp. Don’t just go to your primary physician. If you do, you risk your claim being denied. If workers comp is going to pay for the doctor, they do have a say in who treats you. You don’t want to give the insurance company a reason to deny you coverage.
Some of the most common injuries from work-related accidents include:
Back injuries are very common in work-related accidents. This is because they can happen at any point. It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing. Whether you have a professional or blue-collar job, you’re prone to back injuries. You may accidentally pick up a box that’s too heavy and pull your back. A may suffer disc issues from moving a certain way. You may even suffer a fall. Falls can cause a lot of back injuries.
If you get hurt at work, make sure you report your injury to Human Resources immediately. They will send you for immediate treatment to one of their approved doctors. The same doctor will treat you throughout your workers’ compensation claim. He’ll decide if you need surgery, physical therapy or chiropractic care. You may need all three. You may even be put on a pain management program. All of these things will cause you to be out of work for quite a while.
Make sure you do whatever your doctor tells you to do. Don’t miss any appointments. If you’re advised to get certain tests, make sure you get them. If you don’t do this, you may compromise your claim. Make sure you let your attorney know about any appointments you have. He can follow up with the insurance company if there are any issues.
We don’t often think of eye injuries when we think of workers comp. Eye injuries are more common than you may think. In just a moment, we can go from perfectly fine to almost blind. Eye injuries can be caused by chemicals, bright lights, or sharp objects. If you get poked in the eye with something, you may end up with a scratched cornea. Most eye injuries can be treated with out-patient procedures. Some, however, may require surgery.
Another type of eye injury is a chemical burn. Some jobs are more prone to eye injuries than others. Depending on the type of work you do, you may expose your eyes to dangerous chemicals and fumes. Our eyes are very sensitive. Even if you wear proper protective equipment, you can still suffer chemical burns. These, again, can require surgery or long-term treatment.
There aren’t many work-related accidents that cause hearing damage. Usually, they’re caused by explosions or demolition work. These jobs put you at high risk of hearing damage. This goes for factory and warehouse workers as well. Anyone whose ears are subjected to constant noise all day can sustain hearing damage. Hearing damage isn’t as common as other work-related injuries but it can be just as serious.
Unfortunately, hearing damage is often permanent. It may not be reparable. It depends on how soon you catch the damage. Some injuries take years or decades to build up. If this is the case, there’s not much you can do to fix it. If your hearing loss is permanent, you may be entitled to permanent disability once your temporary benefits expire. Your Albany workers comp attorney can help you do this.
The problem with occupational diseases is that by the time you catch it, it may have progressed to a dangerous point. This is the case with illnesses such as mesothelioma. Exposure to certain toxins can cause different types of cancers. As much as cancer treatment has progressed, there is no illness more serious than cancer.
Certain workers are more susceptible to occupational diseases. These include builders, inspectors, and exterminators. If you do this kind of work, you should always get checked out periodically to make sure you’re not sick. The earlier you catch an occupational disease, the better your odds of beating it. This is especially true in the nursing and medical fields where you are constantly exposed to illnesses and disease,
If you suffer a serious blow to head while at work, you may be stricken with a traumatic brain injury. This is one of the more serious types of occupational injuries. Signs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) include:
- Memory loss
- Vision impairment
Brain injuries are serious. You need to see a specialist. If workers comp doesn’t cover this sort of treatment, have your Albany workers comp attorney contact the insurance company. If your Albany workers comp insurance won’t approve a specialist, your Albany workers comp lawyer will fight to get it approved. You don’t want to take any chances. If not properly treated, brain injuries can become permanent. They can even be fatal.
Hip injuries are more common than you think. Repetitive twisting and turning is usually a big cause. They’re also be caused by constant reaching and stretching while on the job. Some of the most common types of hip injuries include:
- Hip fractures
- Dislocated hip
- Labral Tears
- Muscle and tendon strains
Aside from back injuries, knee injuries may be the most common type of work-related injuries. Anyone who does physical labor is liable to develop knee injuries. Some jobs require employees to be on their knees a good part of the day. This includes workers in the sports fields, electricians, mechanics, and delivery people. Some knee injuries are more serious than others. The most common types of knee injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Tendon Tears
- ACL injuries
- Meniscal Tears
Most knee injuries require surgery. They also require physical therapy. You won’t be able to drive for weeks or even months. It can take quite some time to recover from a knee injury. It’s important that you don’t go back to work before you’re ready. All you will do is re-injure it and end out of work permanently.
Even minor neck injuries can be problematic. Some of the less serious neck injuries are neck strains and sprains. These injuries resolve themselves quickly and shouldn’t require you to miss too much time from work. Your sick time or vacation time will usually cover the recovery period. More serious neck injuries, however, require surgery or long-term care. These more serious injuries include:
- Herniated or compressed disc
- Muscle or tissue damage
- Broken neck
- Neck and spinal fracture
If you suffer one of these more serious injuries, you should expect to be out of work for several months or longer.
Repetitive Stress Injury (Carpal Tunnel):
Carpal tunnel is a very specific injury. It’s caused by repeated use of the tendon that connects the wrist to your hand. It’s common with secretaries, casino dealers, and electricians. Because of the work they do, they’re very prone to contract carpal tunnel disease.
The only real treatment for carpal tunnel is surgery. Given that carpal tunnel is almost always the result of a work-related accident or illness, workers comp insurance companies typically cover them without. However, your Albany workers comp lawyer will make sure you receive the care you need. He will also make sure you don’t return to work until you heal completely.
Contact an Albany Workers’ Comp Attorney Today
If you hurt yourself at work, you should contact an Albany workers comp attorney. You only have a certain amount of time to file your claim. Once you’ve received medical treatment, follow up with HR to make sure your claim is filed. Ask if they need any additional information from you. Ask them when you can expect to start receiving your benefits. If she thinks it may be denied, she may give you a heads up. This way, you can call an attorney right away.
You want to make sure you file your claim properly right away. If you make any mistakes in your paperwork, it will delay your claim. This means it will be even longer before you receive your benefits. Of course, you can always file an appeal if your claim is denied. But you don’t want to have to do this unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Albany today to schedule your free initial consultation. The consultation is free and you’ll get a chance to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. He’ll give you an idea of what your claim may be worth. He’ll also give you an idea of any issues you may encounter.