For the most part, if you get hurt at work in Georgia, you have to file a workers’ comp claim. Your employer pays for insurance to cover your medical care and replacement wages. You don’t have to worry about how you’ll take care of your family while you recover. As long as you qualify for workers’ compensation, your claim should be approved.
But what if a third party was responsible for your injury? For example, what if faulty equipment is what caused your injuries? Are you allowed to file suit against that third party? The short answer is yes. However, you won’t be filing suit against them for medical care and lost wages. You can’t be compensated twice for the same thing.
However, if your injuries go above and beyond what is covered by workers’ comp, you can file a third-party claim.
Knowing when you’re able to do this and when you can’t is complicated. This is why you need to call an Albany workers’ comp lawyer. They can help you determine who you may have a legal claim against.
How Do You Qualify for Workers’ Comp in Georgia?
In order to qualify for workers’ comp, you have to meet some basic requirements. They’re the same in most states, including Georgia. Here are the general requirements in order to have your workers’ comp claim approved in Albany, Georgia:
- The accident took place while you were on the clock
- The injuries took place on company property
- You were within the scope of employment at the time of your accident
- You were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident
- The accident wasn’t intentional
- You followed all company policies and procedures when it came to reporting your claim
- You were treated by a company approved doctor
If you meet all of these criteria, your claim will likely be approved. If approved, you’ll receive the following benefits:
- You have to be out for at least 7 days before you qualify for benefits
- You will receive ⅔ of your normal weekly wages
- The max you can receive is $575 per week
- You can’t collect for more than 400 weeks (this is about 8 years – very few people collect workers’ comp for this long)
- Your medical care (for the work related injury) will be covered as long as you are treated by a company approved doctor
The problem is, for some people, these benefits don’t begin to cover their damages. If your work injuries are very serious, you may have a claim against a third party.
What Third Parties Could be Liable for Your Injuries?
If you get hurt at work due to faulty equipment, you could end up with a third-party claim. Let’s say that you were run over by a forklift that malfunctioned. You could end up with serious injuries. Some of these injuries could include:
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Facial disfigurement
Any of these injuries could require surgery and long term physical therapy. It could even lead to long-term medical issues. You may end up permanently disabled. If this is the case, you could have a legal claim against the manufacturer of the forklift. Some of your damages will include:
- Medical bills (above and beyond what’s covered by workers’ comp)
- Pain and suffering (You cannot collect pain and suffering in a workers’ comp claim)
- Disability (If you end up on disability, you can demand damages for the difference between what you’ll earn on disability versus what you would have earned at your job)
For example, let’s say that you were earning $80,000 per year. You end up permanently disabled due to your work injuries. You will receive $30,000 per year on disability. That is a difference of $50,000 per year. You’re only 40 so you would have worked for another 25 years. That is about $1.25 million that you’ll be losing over your lifetime. Once you account for inflation, that’s about $1.5 million. Your Albany workers’ comp lawyer can file a claim for these damages.
Contact an Albany Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today
If you’ve been hurt in a work-related accident, you need to call an Albany workers’ comp lawyer today. Your lawyer can make sure you receive your workers’ comp benefits. He can also review your case to see if you have any third-party claims.
Call and schedule your initial consultation today. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you win your case.