The average length of workers’ compensation payouts in Georgia
Those who are injured in a workplace accident in Georgia will generally file for workers’ compensation for their injuries. Depending on the facts of each case, there are different rules regarding how much one can expect to get and how long they can expect to receive those benefits.
We want to take a look at what the state of Georgia says about workers’ compensation and how long a person may receive these critical financial benefits.
Weekly wages through workers’ compensation
The state of Georgia provides weekly compensation for those who have been injured on the job. The amount that a person receives is up to two-thirds of their average weekly pay from their employer. That amount gets capped at a maximum rate per week which is determined by inflation and cost of living, and changes annually.
Under a law passed in 2013 entitled O.C.G.A 34-9-200.1, a person may receive workers’ compensation payments for up to 400 weeks.
However, certain circumstances may allow an injured worker to return to work at least in some capacity. That individual may still be able to receive some of their workers’ compensation pay if they are able to go back to work but at a lessened capacity. In those circumstances, the individual may be cut off from their workers’ compensation benefits when they hit 350 weeks, but that is usually determined on a case-by-case basis.
How long does workers’ comp last in Georgia?
This is something that is determined based on a number of factors. Yes, the maximum is 400 weeks as previously mentioned, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will receive that full amount in every circumstance.
Determining this depends on some of the following factors:
- The severity of the injury
- One’s ability to continue working
- Disability considerations
The State Board of Workers’ Compensation will look at each case and determine just how serious a person has been hurt because of the negligence of their employer. They will take a look at how it has impacted the life of the worker and that person’s ability to contribute to their own livelihood going forward.
It’s always best to have an experienced lawyer standing by your side to make sure you get the best possible outcome in your workers’ compensation case.
Get medical help through workers’ compensation
Workers’ compensation can help pay for the medical costs that are associated with any workplace injury or occupational illness that you may sustain. Medical bills will pile up quickly and it often becomes increasingly difficult to afford them when one is unable to work. That is why the workers’ compensation system allows for medical bills to be covered, at least in part, through this program.
The most important thing to remember here is that there is a term known as “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). This is a level at which the state determines that additional medical intervention will not help with getting the patient any healthier.
The workers’ compensation fund will not pay out any additional money once the maximum medical improvement level is hit. It is at that moment the patient will be on their own to pay for any additional expenses.
Importance of selecting the right doctors
Georgia Code 34-9-201 requires that Georgia employers offer at least 6 physicians that an employee may choose from under the workers’ compensation plan. It’s important that you make sure you see a physician on the pre-approved list in order to ensure that you get the correct treatment from the correct doctors so that it is properly covered.
Those who neglect to look up the doctors that they are supposed to go to may not have their bills covered for those treatments. Always check with your employer before seeking medical treatment.
Can you be fired for filing a workers’ comp claim?
Understand that Georgia is an “at-will” state. This means that an employer can decide to terminate anyone who works for them. In fact, they don’t have to provide any particular reason for doing so. That leaves a lot of people worried when they are trying to get workers’ compensation. The concern is that they may be fired because they have filed a claim for this program.
Let’s be clear:
Being fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim is not legal in the state of Georgia. However, proving that you were fired for this reason and not another unrelated factor can be challenging.
Anyone who feels that they are being fired as a result of filing for workers’ compensation should seek an attorney right away.