For the most part, if you work full-time, you’ll be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Georgia law provides for medical and financial benefits for legitimate work-related accidents. The purpose of these benefits is to help you survive while you’re waiting to return to work. A Columbus workers’ comp attorney can help you figure out if you are entitled to benefits.
In Georgia, anyone who is an employee of a company is protected under workers’ compensation. There is nothing in the law that states you must be a full-time employee. There are certain categories of employees who are not covered, including:
- Domestic servants
- Private nannies
- Farm workers
- Railroad workers
- Sports officials
- Partners or owners of businesses
As long as you don’t fall into one of these groups, you should be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia.
The other major distinction is between employees and independent contractors.
Your Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney Knows the Difference Between Employees and Independent Contractors
Only employees are protected under workers’ comp in Georgia. This means that independent contractors are not covered. When you file for workers’ comp, you will have to show that you’re an employee. This doesn’t mean you need a contract. As long as you can show you were hired as an employee, that will suffice.
Independent contractors are not covered under workers’ comp. This is because they don’t pay into workers’ comp insurance. As an employee, your employer is required to contribute to your workers’ comp insurance. Since independent contractors aren’t employees, these contributions are not made.
If you’re an independent contractor, you won’t be able to file a workers’ comp claim. You may be able to file for short-term or long-term disability instead. A Columbus workers’ comp attorney will still have to prove that you were injured and are unable to work.
Columbus Workers’ Comp Lawyers Know that Certain Companies Are Exempt
Not all employers are required to offer workers’ comp. Any company with three or less employees does not have to contribute to workers’ comp insurance. In fact, if your employer has this small number of employees, you won’t be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.
If you work for a company this small, a few things can happen. The employer may allow you to use all your personal and vacation time while you recover from your injuries. They could also offer to lay you off so you can collect unemployment. If they’re really kind, they’ll let you have time off with pay since it is their fault you got hurt.
Usually, what happens in these cases is that you’ll have to apply for short-term or long-term disability. A Columbus worker’s comp attorney can help. Depending on how serious your injuries, you may or may not qualify. It’s not easy to qualify for disability in Georgia. Your Columbus worker’s comp attorney will have to prove the following:
- You have to be unable to do your current job due to your injury or illness
- You must not be able to do any work you did previously
- You can’t do any work at all
- Your injury is at least semi-permanent
- Your injury or illness must be a qualifying condition
Disability actually lists the conditions that they consider sufficient for disability benefits. These conditions include:
- Respiratory illnesses (asthma, COPD, etc.)
- Mental disorders
- Senses and speech issues
- Kidney and liver disease
- Immune system disorders
- Cardiovascular conditions
If you’re suffering from any of these, you may qualify for disability. Talk to your Columbus workers’ comp attorney to help you apply.
Your Columbus Workers’ Comp Lawyer Will Help You Apply for Benefits
If you do qualify for workers’ comp, you’ll be entitled to certain benefits. A Columbus workers’ comp attorney can help you apply. In Georgia, you’re entitled to the following:
- Medical treatment including surgery, physical therapy and follow-up treatment
- Weekly benefits equal to 2/3 of your regular pay
- Your weekly benefits may not exceed $575
- You can only receive benefits for a maximum of 400 weeks
If you are a part-time employee on workers’ comp, the same rules apply. You’ll receive 2/3 of what you would have earned if you were working. Of course, you’ll receive less than a full-time employee. But this makes sense. You earned less than him before your injury.
Call and schedule a free initial consultation with a Columbus workers’ comp lawyer. Your attorney can review your work history and let you know if you qualify. If so, he can help you file your claim. If you don’t qualify, he can help you apply for disability benefits.