Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guide
Georgia Workers’ Compensation law has strict guidelines determining how much you can get paid because of a workplace injury. If you think you are entitled to compensation, contact the Atlanta, Georgia, law firm of Gerber & Holder Law today for your free consultation with one of our lawyers.
Weekly Income Benefits
When you are not working at all – temporary total disability (TTD) benefits
You can receive benefits when the doctor says you cannot work at all or if the doctor has put you on light duty work and there is no light duty available. Once you have been out of work for a week, (the “waiting period”) you will be entitled to weekly lost income checks. If you are out of work for 21 days, you will be entitled to be paid for the waiting period as well. These checks are due 21 days after the injury.
These weekly checks will equal two-thirds of your pay to a maximum of $575, if you were injured on or after July 1, 2016. The maximum payment is $550 for injuries sustained from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, $525 for injuries sustained from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015, $500 per week for injuries sustained from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2013, $450 per week for injuries sustained from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2007, $425 per week for injuries sustained from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2005 and $400 for those injuries sustained from July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2003. These payments are not taxed.
Back to work at reduced pay – temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits
If you have some work restrictions and can return to work but you are earning less than you were earning when you were injured, either because you are making less per hour or because you are working fewer hours, you will be entitled to partial disability benefits.
These weekly checks will be equal to two-thirds of the difference between what you made before you were injured and what you make after you were injured, to a maximum of $383, if you were injured on or after July 1, 2016. The maximum payment is $367 for injuries sustained from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015, $350 per week for injuries sustained from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015, $334 per week for injuries sustained from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2013, $300 per week for injuries sustained from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2007, $284 per week for injuries sustained from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2005 and $268 for those injuries sustained from July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2003. These payments are not taxed.
Back to work with a permanent partial disability (PPD)
See below for computation. These payments are not taxed.
The insurer must pay all of your medical bills as long as you to go to the Workers’ Compensation (company) doctor. There is no co-insurance, no deductible and no time limit. The insurer will have to pay for your medical bills as long as the doctor says that the treatment is for your job-related injury. This can be a lifetime obligation. You have a right to see at least two doctors on the list of doctors that your employer is required to post. You have the right to ask the State Board of Workers’ Compensation to allow you to be treated by the doctor of your choosing. If you have received weekly benefits, you have the right to be examined by the doctor of your choosing within 120 days of your receipt of those benefits.
You are entitled to 40 cents per mile for going to and from the medical providers or to the pharmacy to obtain medications. You are also entitled for parking reimbursement. You should keep track of your mileage and parking receipts as soon as you start going to the doctor. The insurer must provide transportation if you cannot provide it for yourself. You only have one year from the date of the trip to submit your mileage and receipts for reimbursement. As of July 1, 2013, the insurer must pay within 15 days of receipt of proof of these expenses or be subject to late fees.
How long can my benefits go on?
For injuries prior to July 1, 2013, this is a lifetime benefit. For injuries occurring after July 1, 2013, your benefits can continue for 400 weeks from the date of injury, unless you have a catastrophic claim. If you have a catastrophic claim, you have a lifetime right to medical treatment.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits
For injuries occurring after July 1, 1992, your benefits can continue for 400 weeks from the date of injury, unless you have a catastrophic claim. If you have a catastrophic claim, you may receive lifetime benefits. Should you receive a light duty work release from your authorized doctor, these benefits may be limited to 52 consecutive weeks or 78 total weeks, in which case they would be changed and reduced to temporary partial benefits.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits
These benefits are limited to 350 weeks from the date of the accident.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits
These benefits are computed by multiplying the percentage of your impairment rating given by your authorized doctor by the number of weeks allowed under the law for the type of injury that you have.
Medical And Vocational Rehabilitation
Should you have a catastrophic injury, you will be entitled to medical and vocational rehabilitation benefits. Trained rehabilitation professionals assist the injured worker in medical care and in attempting to return to work. Rehabilitation benefits can include retraining, but rarely is that seen.
There is no recovery for pain and suffering
Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system. It does not matter whether it was the employer’s fault, your fault or no one’s fault. While you very well might be in pain and undoubtedly suffering, you cannot recover any money for this.
Workers’ Compensation claims are frequently settled. This means that the insurer, instead of paying all the benefits listed above, merely pays an amount of money and may agree to pay for medical benefits over a specified period of time, usually between three months and one year. While you may wish to settle, there is nothing that can be done to force the insurer to settle. The insurer cannot force you to settle, either. Employers rarely agree to settle with an employee who wants to continue to work for the same employer.
Can I be fired while I am receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits?
Yes. There is not a Georgia law that prohibits this. An employer who fires an employee while the employee is unable to work, however, runs the risk of having the employee receive Workers’ Compensation benefits for a longer period than otherwise should the employee not be able to find other suitable employment. Frequently an employer will wait until an employee receives a regular duty work release from the doctor and then fire the employee because the employee would not then be eligible for further Workers’ Compensation benefits. If this happens to you, please contact us and we may be able to assist you in obtaining further benefits.
If you think you’re entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, contact Gerber & Holder Law today.