How to receive workers’ comp when injured at a fast food restaurant
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 17,000 fast food workers in the state of Georgia. Among the biggest chains in Georgia are Chick-fil-a, Zaxby’s, Arby’s, KFC, Moe’s and McDonald’s.
In fact, several fast food chains actually got their start in the Peachtree State and are headquartered in Atlanta, including Moe’s, Chick-fil-a, Arby’s and Zaxby’s.
Georgia ranks #5 in the number of fast food cooks in the entire country.
With all these restaurants and employees, work-related injuries and illnesses are bound to occur.
What are your options for workers’ compensation?
Common work-related injuries in the foodservice industry
Fast food workers are susceptible to sustaining many types of injuries, one of the most common being severe burns when preparing orders. Other potential injuries include:
- Toxic substance exposure
- Repetitive movement and stress injuries
A number of factors may contribute to these injuries, including inadequate training and extended shifts that may result in greater worker fatigue. Fast food workers may also be more at risk of injuries when there aren’t enough workers and employees feel pressured, particularly from managers during busy periods in the restaurant.
Fast food workers’ compensation
When employees are injured at work, the restaurants are responsible for ensuring that injured workers understand their right to workers’ compensation. In Georgia, workers’ compensation benefits help to defray the costs associated with all medical treatment as well as lost wages.
In order to take advantage of these benefits, you should understand your rights to workers’ comp as well as when it may be necessary to consult a workers’ compensation lawyer. Most employers, including fast food restaurants, are required by law to carry this kind of insurance.
The first step you should take is to report your injury to your employer, and see a doctor. In some cases, this may mean going to the emergency room. Depending on the type of workers’ compensation policy carried by the fast food restaurant, you may be able to choose your own doctor or you may be required to see a doctor recommended by the restaurant.
In order for the injury to be covered, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim. After this step, the information from the claim will be reviewed by the insurance company. In some instances, the claim may be approved immediately. If you are unable to work, the claim may allow for temporary disability or permanent disability payments along with payment of medical costs.
Unfortunately, not all claims are paid immediately.
When to consult a workers’ comp attorney
When filing a claim for workers’ compensation, you should make certain you have taken every step to protect your rights and receive all the benefits you deserve. Consulting an attorney can be critical in such instances.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help by collecting the evidence and documentation necessary to prove that the injury was directly related to your work duties as well as help determine if the benefits being provided are fair.
In the event your claim was denied, an attorney can also help to file an appeal or even resolve a dispute over benefits. A common dispute that occurs could be the insurance company arguing whether treatment was actually necessary.
You shouldn’t hesitate to consult an attorney—even if you have a pre-existing condition or if your employer has denied that the injury even occurred in the workplace.
A pre-existing condition may be used by the insurance company to deny benefits. In fact, they might even try to claim that such a condition is what led to your injury, rather than a workplace accident. Even if you do have a pre-existing condition, it shouldn’t prevent you from receiving due benefits.
If your benefits were denied or delayed, it’s still possible to file an appeal with the help of a lawyer. In fact, an attorney can be instrumental in helping to gather the necessary documentation to overturn a denial of benefits.
Some employees may find that even if their injuries are covered, the benefits don’t provide sufficient coverage for their lost wages and medical bills. This can occur when your lost wages are calculated incorrectly. Rather than simply accepting an incorrect calculation, it’s important for you to make sure your rights are protected by having a lawyer review your claim.