Do you know your rights after a work-related injury or occupational illness?
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation has created a statement of worker rights that clearly spells out the rights and responsibilities of both employees and employers. You can find the full bill of rights on the State Board’s website.
In summary, if you’re an employee in the state of Georgia, you have certain rights and workers’ compensation benefits available to you in the event you’re injured on the job.
Any work-related injury is covered by law, whether it occurs on your first day on the job or after you’ve been there for years. In addition to this benefit, a number of other rights exist under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights.
These rights include:
- Employees who are injured on the job have the right to income, medical and rehabilitation benefits.
- Employers must provide a list of at least 6 doctors who are qualified to treat employees injured on the job. Employees may choose a doctor from this Georgia workers’ compensation panel of physicians and have the right to make one change to a different doctor on the list without the permission of their employer.
- Employees who are injured on the job have the right to medical benefits covering hospital stays, doctor bills, therapy or rehabilitation and prescriptions. These medical benefits also cover travel and fuel expenses related to the on-the-job injury. If the injuries occurred before June 30th, 2013, or if the injuries were catastrophic, these benefits will last a lifetime. Otherwise, the benefits will last up to a maximum of 400 weeks.
- Employees who miss more than 7 days of work due to injuries suffered on the job have the right to weekly income benefits that replace two-thirds of their average weekly wages. Employees should receive their first check within 21 days of the first day that they missed work due to their workplace injury.
- Employees who suffer catastrophic injuries on the job have the right to income benefits that replace up to two-thirds of their average weekly wages. These benefits remain in place for life in the case of total disability, or until the employee can return to work.
- Employees with non-catastrophic injuries have the right to income benefits that replace two-thirds of their weekly average wages for a maximum of 400 weeks.
- Employees who return to work in a lower capacity due to injuries sustained on the job have the right to income benefits for a maximum of 350 weeks.
- Employees have the right to assume that their dependents will receive death benefits that cover their burial expenses and replace two-thirds of their average weekly wage if they die from work-related injuries.
- Employees who are injured on the job have the right to additional benefits, in the form of a penalty paid by their employer, if they do not receive their workers’ compensation benefits when they are due.
Important legislative updates to Georgia workers’ compensation law
All businesses in the state of Georgia are required to post a notice regarding the revised Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker. The changes in employee rights are a result of Senate Bill 135. These updates are effective as of July 1st, 2019, and they include increases to certain disability rates and surviving spouse benefits.
The notice for the revised Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker reflects the following changes:
- Employees who suffer injuries on the job are entitled to income benefits that equal two-thirds of their average weekly pay, with a maximum weekly benefit of $675. The previous maximum weekly benefit was $575.
- Employees who must take lower-paying jobs due to work-related injuries are entitled to weekly income benefits with a maximum of $450. The previous maximum weekly benefit was $383.
- If an employee dies due to work-related injuries, the maximum total compensation for a widowed spouse with no other dependents is $270,000. The previous maximum total compensation was $230,000.
Let our Atlanta work injury attorneys explain your rights
If you’re injured on the job, the last thing you need to worry about is the compensation process. Receiving the benefits you’re entitled to should be simple and straightforward. Our Atlanta work injury lawyers have over 75 years of combined experience, and they’ve helped thousands of workers overcome obstacles in the workers’ compensation process.