How to apply for workers’ comp as a seasonal employee in Georgia
There are many reasons why someone would take a temporary or seasonal position. High school and college students may need to work during their summer break, or you may want to make some extra money to pay off debt. In addition, many construction companies hire temporary contractors to assist with a project.
Whenever you perform job duties, even if it’s a temporary or seasonal position, you run the risk of being injured while at work.
In Georgia, even if you are only employed temporarily, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Common examples of seasonal and temporary employment
Some of the most common seasonal positions in Georgia include:
- Camp counselors
- Carnival workers
- Concert staff
- Construction workers
- Marina workers
- Retail employees
- Restaurant staff
- Watersports guides
Many of these jobs can lead to workplace injuries. For instance, carnival workers must set up and break down rides or booths that may be extremely heavy. A watersports guide could be involved in an accident with another watercraft. Slip and fall accidents are common in the restaurant industry.
In one instance, Gerber & Holder Law was able to secure $115,000 for a 59-year-old temporary laborer who fell off a scaffolding and fractured his ankle. This injury required his ankle to be fused.
Workers’ compensation laws for temporary and seasonal workers in Georgia
As a temporary or seasonal employee in Georgia, you may believe you are ineligible for workers’ compensation. You may even have been told that by a coworker or your employer. The fact is that workers’ compensation in Georgia is meant to cover all employees, including those who work part-time or on a temporary basis.
Therefore, if you are injured while performing your job duties, you should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. You must have suffered the injury while at work and you must have been performing your regular duties when the injury occurred.
Because Georgia’s workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance plan, even if you were at fault in the accident that caused your injury, you are still eligible—with a few exceptions.
If you violated the law or a known safety rule, or your actions constituted willful misconduct, your claim could be denied. If your injury was self-inflicted or you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the claim may not be approved.
How to file a work injury claim
You should file a claim with your employer immediately to document that you were injured while at work. In fact, an injury that isn’t claimed for 30 days or more may lead to your claim being denied. Your employer is permitted to provide you with a list of doctors you must visit to further document your claim.
Be sure to follow the instructions of the doctor. Failure to do so could result in your injury worsening. If the insurance company can prove that your failure to follow doctor’s orders led to a worsening injury, they could halt your benefits. Never exaggerate your injuries either, as some insurance companies hire investigators to follow employees who they believe are not as injured as they claim.
If you believe your injury was minor, filing a claim is still important as even a minor injury can lead to costly medical bills. Your health insurance may not cover an injury sustained at work and, if you have not filed a claim with your employer, you could be facing significant medical costs.
It’s your responsibility to file the claim with the insurance company, not your employer.
What benefits could you receive?
Workers’ compensation coverage will pay for your hospital bills, doctor visits, medication, physical therapy and even travel expenses to and from treatment. If you will be out of work for more than 7 days, you are eligible for lost wages up to a specific limit. Benefits may last for up to 400 weeks after the injury. If your injury is catastrophic, you also may be eligible for long-term medical benefits.
One common myth about workers’ compensation is that you will receive payment for pain and suffering. Unfortunately, workers’ comp does not cover non-economic losses like pain and suffering. However, if you believe a third party, such as a vendor or machine manufacturer, was responsible for your injury, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
When to consult a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney
As a seasonal or temporary employee, the best thing you can do when injured on the job is to talk to a qualified workers’ compensation attorney. Hiring an attorney doesn’t mean you plan to sue your employer. In fact, Georgia law doesn’t permit suing an employer for a workplace injury (in most circumstances).
You may file a lawsuit against a manufacturer, vendor, contractor or another third party to collect additional damages, but your employer is usually protected from civil proceedings.
An attorney will look out for your best interests and fight to get you the compensation you are entitled to under the law. For example, employers often miscalculate the amount you should be paid in lost wages. An attorney will review the calculations to be sure you are receiving the correct amount.
If you are a seasonal or temporary employee who has been injured on the job, contact our team at Gerber & Holder Law today to see what rights you may have. You can arrange for a no-obligation consultation by filling out the easy online form or you can give us a call. Our helpful staff will guide you through the process, so you are sure you are being compensated properly.
We will also review your claim to help you avoid denials or problems in the future. If your claim is denied, we will deal with the insurance company and their attorneys to try to get you what you are entitled to under the law.