On July 1st, 2019, a handful of major revisions were put into effect for the benefit of injured workers in the state of Georgia. The new laws, passed by the Georgia legislature and signed by the governor, traditionally go into effect on the same day every year.
In 2019, Governor Brian Kemp instated positive changes for workers’ compensation. The most noticeable of those benefits payable for lost time working.
Temporary total disabilities
In the event a worker is injured on the job and must take time off to recover as part of the treatment plan, they are entitled to receive compensation each week to help cover medical treatment and lost wages. This is called temporary total disabilities (TTD). TTD is most often paid as two-thirds of the average weekly wage the worker earned prior to their injury.
On July 1, 2019, the maximum rate rose to $675 per week — the largest increase in 20 years.
Unfortunately, Georgia’s disability rate is still one of the lowest in the country.
Temporary partial disabilities
Along with the increase in TTD, temporary partial disabilities (TPD) benefits have also increased by $67 to a maximum weekly payment of $450.
When a worker is injured on the job and returns to that same position following the recovery, but is receiving a lower income, they are entitled to compensation. These are also capped at two-thirds of their total weekly income received prior to the injury.
Of course, changes in TTD and TPD benefits also mean changes in the medical treatment Georgia workers receive and the costs of those treatment plans. The time for recovery and to receive benefits at the same time was capped at 400 weeks in 2013. Before that, it was unlimited, and this was disheartening to many Georgia workers. Six years later, the recovery time is still 400 weeks, but there’s an exception to the rule.
If the treating physician declares the injury is “catastrophic,” a term which is reserved for the most serious injuries such as amputations or spinal cord injuries, and the injured worker receives a medical device within the first 400 weeks from the date of the injury, then they can receive compensation for replacement and maintenance for that device for life.
How are Georgia workers affected?
While Georgia workers have happily received these changes, there is still doubt as to whether they are substantive or procedural in nature, which can affect those who might receive these benefits.
Depending on the type of law, this can negatively affect Georgia workers and the compensation they receive in the event of a workplace accident, injury or illness. However, since it was also applied retroactively, most workers and advocates are pleased with this change as it means those who suffered prior to the law can now receive the necessary treatment they deserve.
If you or a loved one are struggling with a workplace accident injury, you are entitled to seek professional legal assistance. Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys are committed to representing injured workers and their families with quality expertise and over 50 years of combined experience.
Don’t hesitate to call our offices today for your free consultation to begin the process of getting the compensation you deserve.