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On The Job Injuries

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that guarantees payment of medical benefits and a portion of weekly earnings to employees who are injured while working. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system. It doesn’t matter whether you were responsible for the accident that caused your injuries. If you were hurt on the job, you are covered. Even if you had an injury from performing the same repetitive task or you were in a car accident while working for your employer.

Insurance adjusters are aware that an injured worker does not have the experience and education necessary to pursue a claim for all the benefits that may be available. Don’t be taken advantage of by an insurance adjuster. Allow Yates Law to represent you. Leave the legal issues headaches to us. Your only job right now is to get well!

Every employer in Georgia that has three or more employees is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for its workers.

Whether you injured your back or neck in a fall, while lifting a heavy object, in a motor vehicle accident or as a result of repetitive stress, we know how to help you get the medical and financial compensation that you deserve.

To receive your Workers’ Compensation benefits, however, you must properly file a Workers’ Compensation claim.

  • Report the Injury Immediately – It is important to report any on-the-job injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. If you fail to report the injury within 30 days, you may not be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Reporting the injury is NOT the same thing as filing a claim. We have had many people believe that they have properly filed a claim just by speaking with their boss, a company nurse or their supervisor. The State Board of Workers’ Compensation has to be notified. If your claim is not filed correctly and timely, you could suffer the loss of both medical and income benefits that are so badly needed at a time when you cannot work and you and your family need your benefits the most.
  • Select a Doctor from the Approved List – Ask to see your employer’s panel of physicians. This a list of doctors your employer has approved to treat injured employees. You must choose one of these physicians to treat your workplace injury. You cannot be treated by your personal physician, even if that physician is paid through your company health insurance. You must be treated by a physician on the list of doctors for Workers’ Compensation job injuries. If there is no list of physicians, you should always check to be sure that your medical expenses will be covered.
  • Obtain and Complete the Paperwork – Ask your employer for the paperwork it required to make a Workers’ Compensation claim. You must complete it promptly and forward it to the appropriate organization for processing. How can you be sure that your company is providing you with the proper paperwork? In most cases, you cannot know for certain whether the paperwork is current, correct or contains all of the needed information required by law for you to file a claim.

The insurance company must either reject your claim or begin paying benefits for your workplace injury within 21 days. If they fail to do so, they must pay penalties and your attorney fees. We urge you to contact us if there is a delay in paying your claim. Insurance adjusters tend to pay far more attention to lawyers representing injured workers than the injured workers who is not legally represented.

Depending on the type of work injury, you will be entitled to one of four categories of workers’ compensation income benefits:

Temporary Total Disability Benefits or (TTD) – This benefit is paid weekly to injured workers who are totally incapacitated from work. To be totally incapacitated means that you cannot perform your job duties because of your injury. These benefits amount to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $500 per week. Your average weekly wage will be calculated to determine the amount of benefits that you will receive. The average will be based on a period of thirteen weeks that you worked before you were injured. Workers with non-catastrophic injuries are limited to 400 weeks of benefits. Workers with catastrophic injuries receive workers’ compensation benefits for an unlimited period of time.

Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD) – This benefit is paid weekly to an employee who returns to work in a job paying less as a result of an on-the-job accident. Benefits are two-thirds of the difference between the employee’s average weekly wage before the injury and after the injury, up to a certain limit. These benefits are paid for up to 350 weeks.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – This workers’ compensation benefit is paid to an injured worker whose on-the-job injury results in a permanent disability. Your doctor will use AMA Guidelines to determine your percentage of disability. Your doctor may perform tests to determine whether you are disabled from your injury. Payment is based on the following formulas: your percent of disability times the Temporary Total Disability weekly rate.

Death Benefits – This benefit is available to a dependent spouse and minor children of an employee who dies due to an on-the-job injury. This workers’ compensation benefit is payable at the rate of two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage at the time of the accident, up to a maximum of $500 per week. Funeral expenses are currently paid up to $7,500. In total, a widowed spouse with no children will be paid no more than a $150,000 total in payments. A dependent child of a deceased worker is eligible to receive weekly payments through workers’ compensation until he or she reaches age 18 or 21 if the child attends college.

Medical Benefits – Medical treatment is covered by workers’ compensation but all treatment – except immediate emergency care – must be provided by a physician that is included on the employers’ panel of approved workers’ compensation physicians. This means that the injured worker must have their medical care administered by a doctor who is approved by the insurer for the employer. Any medical attention received from a non-approved physician will be the financial responsibility of the injured worker.

Third Party Claims

If someone other than your employer or co-workers caused your injuries, you may be able to recover financial compensation from that third party by filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. These so-called third party claims are generally more financially beneficial to injury victims. Third party claims allow injured people to recover compensation for pain and suffering as well as for medical expenses and lost wages. Workers’ compensation does not compensate injured workers for pain and suffering caused by an injury.

At Yates Law, we help our clients obtain ALL the benefits they are entitled to receive under Georgia’s workers’ compensation program. We carefully analyze the facts of your case to if we can file a third-party claim against someone other than the employer to get you the maximum compensation that you are entitled to recover under Georgia law.

Herniated Disk Injuries

A herniated disc is one of the most common and serious back injuries people experience, and it often happens as a result of on-the-job activity or from acute injury like an auto accident. When a disc is herniated, the center gel cushion is pushed out of its normal position between the vertebrae in the spine. Without the cushion of the disc in its proper position, when the gel lands on spinal nerves the resulting pain can be excruciating, with shooting pains down the arms or legs, and tingling and numbness in hands and feet. Left untreated, a herniated disc can result in a medical emergency called cauda equina syndrome, in which sufferers can experience numbness in the genitals, difficulty with bladder and bowel control, and progressive numbness or weakness in the legs that can be permanent.

A herniated disc can happen suddenly, such as in a fall, or auto accident. The herniation can also occur over time after repeated activities, such as bending and lifting, or putting recurring strain on the spine. Auto accidents or an injury can sometimes put a disc in motion, but the disc doesn’t actually become fully herniated or produce any symptoms of pain for days or even weeks afterward.

In workers’ compensation injury, the actual date of your injury is sometimes difficult to determine when the disk actually herniated. This is a favorite argument that the adjusters love to use against you to argue that because you were able to return to work that your herniated disk is NOT related to your injury at all. When a disc is herniated as a result of work activity – whether it is sudden or over time – it is coverable under Workers’ Compensation insurance.

Herniated discs can happen as a result of many types of job duties – from the more obvious ones in construction and warehouse work, to seemingly harmless tasks like filing papers or childcare. Following a physical examination and an MRI to diagnose a herniated disc, a doctor will recommend treatment which can include physical therapy, prescription medications, epidural steroid injections, and/or surgery.

Insurance companies and the adjusters who work for them typically delay medical treatment for herniated disk claims. This delay can result in further damage to your back that could become permanently disabling. Now is not the time to “wait and see” whether the insurance company is going to be fair with you. Assume that their primary concern is to save money on your claim by calling your condition a “soft tissue” injury. Ask yourself, “Is the adjuster medically trained to know what my diagnosis really is?”

Previous Injuries

At some time in your life, you may have suffered an injury to your back that you recovered from and that did not prevent you from performing your current job. Suddenly, you feel pain in the old area of injury that prevents you from working and you realize that you have re-injured your back. A re-injury may be fully compensated through Workers’ Compensation benefits. These are difficult claims and especially need the attention of a legal expert who will fight for your benefits.

At Yates Law, we have extensive experience investigating and proving that herniated disc injuries are the result of work accidents, job requirements or working conditions. We help our clients secure their Workers’ Comp benefits so that they can take the time they need to heal before herniated discs lead to permanent physical disabilities.

Denial or Controversion of your claim

If your Workers’ Compensation claim has been denied, do not give up. This does not mean that your chances for receiving medical and income benefits are over. Many insurance adjusters will lead you to believe that you have no chance of being compensated. Just because an insurance adjuster tells you that they have closed your file or are denying your claim, does not necessarily mean that you do not have a valid claim.  Insurance companies routinely deny valid claims for Workers’ Compensation benefits in the hope that you will take “no” for an answer and just go away. At Yates Law we will carefully analyze why your claim was denied and compile the facts and obtain the expert testimony required to show why your claim should be paid. We understand the difficulty caused by a claim that has been denied. You are injured without the ability to earn an income and are facing the huge expense of medical treatment. We are here for you 24/7 to provide the answers you need right now!

*HOME AND HOSPITAL VISITS ARE AVAILABLE AT YOUR CONVENIENCE

We know the healing process can be long and difficult. We are here for our client’s day or night. Call us about your case right now. The consultation is free, you pay us nothing unless we win. Your case is our cause.