Answers To Your Workers' Comp & Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Doubt, uncertainty, and confusion can quickly cause painful situations to escalate into catastrophic traumas. Personal experience has taught us that when an accident victim allows his concerns to overwhelm his determination for justice, he neither gets relief nor justice. This is why we feel that getting answers to your injury questions are extremely important not only to relieve stress, but also to build a stronger injury claim. Allow us to address your concerns and come see for yourself how a simple answer can make a difference.

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  • What's my workers' comp claim worth?

    Workers' Comp Claim ValueThe injuries sustained in on-the-job accidents can be painful both physically and financially. Injured workers may face unexpected debt while they are unable to work as they wait for their injuries to heal.

    Fortunately, in Georgia, injured employees are eligible for workers' compensation benefits, which includes temporary disability payments and payment of related medical expenses.

    Determining The Value Of A Claim

    Workers' compensation settlements have to be agreed upon by the injured worker and the employer and their insurer.  If all parties don't agree, then there is no settlement.  The value of workers' compensation claims varies and depends on a number of factors, including:

    • Severity of the injury
    • Amount of the injured employee's weekly benefits
    • How long the employee is expected to be disabled from working
    • Past and estimated future medical costs
    • Age of the injured worker

    The more serious an injury, the more likely it is to require continuing medical treatment and significant future time off from work. The greater these anticipated costs, the more valuable the claim. As a result, workers with claims involving severe or catastrophic injuries tend to receive larger settlements than employees with relatively minor injuries.

    Temporary Total Disability Benefits 

    Under Georgia's Workers' Compensation Law, injured employees are entitled to collect temporary total disability benefits equaling two-thirds of their average weekly pay (before taxes are deducted) each week for as long as their injuries prevent them from returning to work.  The injured worker can receive these benefits for up to 400 weeks, or for the rest of their life if their claim has been deemed catastrophic.  Again, the longer you and the insurer believe you will be entitled to continuing income benefits, the more the case will be worth in settlement.

    An injured worker's average weekly wage is calculated based on the employee's pay for the previous 13 weeks. Individuals employed fewer than 13 weeks are compensated based on the average weekly wage of a similar employee who works in the same position for the employer as the injured worker. The maximum benefit rate is set by the Georgia legislature. Currently, the maximum benefit payable to injured workers in Georgia is $575 per week.

    Consult an Experienced Workers' Compensation Lawyer

    If you were injured on the job, you may have questions about the value of your case or the workers' compensation benefits to which you're entitled. The knowledgeable workers' compensation lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak have extensive experience helping injured workers. Our skilled legal team is happy to answer your questions and address your concerns to ensure you understand your rights, as well as all the options available to you.

    Contact our Atlanta law office today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.

     

  • What's the process for filing a workers' compensation claim in Georgia?

    Victims of workplace accidents often face medical bills they can't afford and time away from work that further strains financial resources. But workers injured during the regular scope of employment are usually eligible for benefits through the state workers' compensation system, such as medical benefits, rehabilitation support, and supplemental income.

    Workers Compensation Process in Georgia

    In Georgia, the process for filing a workers' compensation claim isn't difficult. However, employers and their workers' compensation insurance carriers don't always treat injured individuals or their claims fairly. Having an experienced workers' compensation attorney by their side can help job accident victims level the playing field and receive the benefits they deserve.

    Complete a Form WC-14

    workers comp processThe first step of the process is to file a completed Form WC-14 with the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation and send a copy to the employer and its workers' compensation insurance carrier. An attorney can file this claim electronically.

    An injured worker and his or her attorney can request a hearing if the employer and its insurer fail to provide the appropriate benefits.

    The Discovery Process

    Then, both parties move through the discovery process, during which each side can request documents, and serve one another with written questions called interrogatories. The worker may be asked to provide a deposition, also known as an oral testimony, which typically takes place in the attorney's office.

    In cases where there's a dispute regarding the injured workers' medical treatment, he or she may be asked complete an independent medical examination. This request may be issued by the insurer to get another opinion about the injuries, as well as the victim's attorney to bolster the case.

    Ultimately, the case is heard before an administrative law judge. However, most workers' compensation cases are settled long before they reach a courtroom.

    Speak To an Atlanta Workers' Compensation Attorney Today

    If you were injured on the job, the knowledgeable Georgia workers' compensation attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help ensure you receive the benefits you need and deserve. To schedule a free consultation right away to discuss your legal options, use the convenient contact information below.  

     

  • How long will my case take?

    One question often asked by accident and injury victims concerns how long a case will take. Accident victims may be in the midst of lengthy medical treatment and unable to work, leaving them exhausted both physically and financially. This can make them hesitant to take on a long legal battle. While the experienced lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak understand that frustration, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how long a case will take to resolve. Every legal case is unique, and each lawsuit will depend on dozens of factors. Cases can be resolved in as little as a few months, or they may take much longer to conclude.

    Factors That Affect the Length of a Lawsuit in Georgia

    Legal cases are dependent on many factors working in combination. Some things to consider when trying to estimate how long a lawsuit may take include:

    • Severity and nature of the injuries. More severe injuries typically result in more complicated cases. Some injuries develop into further health problems. It may be beneficial for the victim to wait until the full extent of the injury can be determined before agreeing to a settlement.
       
    • Conditions of the accident. How and why did the accident occur? If fault is clear, the case will likely move quickly. If there is a dispute determining who is at fault, or there are multiple parties involved, the case may take longer.
       
    • Parties involved. Some parties are more likely than others to dispute responsibility for the accident or injury. Large corporations and insurance companies may be less likely to offer a fair settlement quickly. They may refuse to offer a settlement at all.
       
    • The failure of pre-trial negotiations. If the parties involved cannot reach an agreement suitable to both sides, the case may have to go to court. This will extend the lawsuit, as it will then also be at the mercy of the court’s schedule.

    Talk To A Lawyer Today

    While it is difficult to say just how long any case will take, a skilled injury attorney can examine the details of your case and offer a more educated estimate. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, the knowledgeable attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak can help you learn more about your rights and understand what to expect moving forward. Chat live with a member of our team today to get started.

  • How can I maximize my workers’ compensation claim?

    Workers’ compensation benefits provide a vital safety net for employees who’ve been injured on the job. However, it’s crucial that you actively advocate for your right to a fair settlement.

    Report Your Accident Immediately

    work work injury claim form

    Even if you’re only mildly uncomfortable, report your accident as soon as it happens. It’s quite possible that your initial discomfort may turn into something more serious. If this happens and your employer has no record of your accident, they will likely argue that you were hurt outside of the workplace. When it comes to your workers’ compensation benefits, a “wait and see” approach should be avoided at all costs.

    Many employers have internal deadlines regarding accident reporting, with some being as short as 24 hours. Georgia law requires that the report must be made within 30 days of the event. When you report your injury, provide as many details as you can regarding the circumstances of the accident. Ask any coworkers who saw the incident to verify that your account is accurate.

    Create a Detailed Paper Trail

    Once you’ve reported your injury, keep detailed records regarding the progress of your claim. Ask for copies of medical exams and test results as well as any other expenses you’ve incurred as the result of your injuries. Keep an appointment log noting the date, time, and name of every contact person you speak to regarding your case.

    Lining up witnesses to testify on your behalf can also be useful in boosting your compensation. For example, you might ask friends or family members to provide statements regarding the effect your injuries have had on your daily activities.

    Listen to Your Doctor

    Refusing to follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your medical care may result in your benefits being denied. You’re within your rights to ask for information regarding treatment side effects and any potential risk, but skipping appointments altogether will send the message that you’re not fully invested in your recovery.

    Listening to your doctor also means following any recommendations regarding what activities you can and can’t do. If you’re not supposed to be lifting anything heavier than 25 pounds, don’t decide to use your time off work to landscape your front lawn. Many insurance companies will use private investigators to verify that you’re being truthful about your injuries, so being seen engaged in unauthorized physical activity will severely damage your case.

    Remember That the Insurance Adjuster Isn’t Your Friend

    An insurance adjuster's job is to make decisions that are best for the insurer's bottom line. He doesn’t care if you need a settlement to help pay your mortgage or student loans. The first offer you receive will likely be much less than what your claim is truly worth. Negotiating for the compensation you deserve is a must.

    Be Persistent

    One common mistake that injured workers make is assuming that a denied claim is final. A large number of claims are initially denied, but an experienced workers' compensation attorney can turn that denial into a settlement on your behalf.  Don't give up if your claim is denied.  Instead, you should immediately contact an attorney for a consultation.  

    Seek Legal Assistance

    It’s difficult to be objective about your claim when you’re focusing on recovering from your injuries and worried about how to pay your bills. Our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys can help prepare your case and advocate for the highest settlement available.

    Your attorney will take into consideration factors such as:

    • Your work restrictions.
    • Your permanent partial disability rating.
    • Your previous earnings.
    • Past medical expenses.
    • Future medical expenses.

    Your workers' compensation attorney can also investigate the possibility of third-party claims. If another party’s negligence caused or contributed to your injury, this can substantially increase your compensation. For example, you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of faulty equipment or the driver of another vehicle that caused your work-related accident.

    Rechtman & Spevak is dedicated to helping Georgia residents receive fair and timely workers’ compensation settlements. Please call 404-355-2688 or fill out our online contact form to get started with a free, no-obligation consultation.
     

  • How much does it cost to hire a workers' compensation lawyer in Georgia?

    After a job-related accident, an individual may be seriously injured; temporarily—or even permanently—unable to work; and face an onslaught of unexpected medical debt. Fortunately, in Georgia, employees injured in workplace accidents or within the scope of their regular employment are often entitled to workers' compensation benefits.

    Workers Compensation Program Overview

    The workers' compensation system is an accident insurance program paid for by employers. The system's benefits cover authorized medical expenses, lost wages, and temporary disability payments for individuals injured on the job.

    cost to hire workers's comp lawyerWhile workers' compensation claimants aren't required to prove negligence in order to collect benefits, this doesn't mean they don't need an attorney. Some workplace accident victims may be hesitant to hire a workers' compensation lawyer out of concern fees are beyond their financial means.

    What Do Workers Comp Lawyers Charge?

    Financial woes should never prevent a victim from fighting for the justice and the benefits they deserve.

    That's why many workers' compensation attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means they provide victims with legal services for little or no upfront costs, and instead take their fees out of the settlement the victim receives when their cases are resolved.

    Advantage of Hiring A Workers Comp Attorney

    In Georgia, workers' compensation attorneys are paid up to 25 percent of a successful settlement—this amount is regulated by state law. Though some accident victims may be tempted to handle their own cases in an effort to save money, it can actually end up costing them in the long run. Multiple studies show that injured workers represented by experienced workers' compensation attorneys tend to receive larger settlements than those who choose to represent themselves.

    Consult a Knowledgeable Georgia Workers' Compensation Attorney

    On-the-job accidents and injuries can threaten to cause a lot of upheaval in your life, but an experienced workers' compensation lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, look out for your interests, and maximize your claim.

    To request a free consultation, contact Rechtman & Spevak today using the phone numbers on this page, or complete the brief online contact form.

     

  • What is my car accident case worth?

    Victims who've sustained injuries, property damage, and other losses in car accidents caused by someone else's negligence often seek to collect compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

    However, the value of a car crash claim varies dramatically from case-to-case. This makes it difficult for personal injury attorneys to provide an accurate estimate of worth without first reviewing all of the relevant information.

    Factors that affect the value of a car accident claim include:

    Personal injury attorneys are often hesitant to offer an estimate of a case's value immediately after a car accident, simply because many of the factors that so heavily influence a claim's worth may not yet be known.

    car_crash_injuryFor example, even if the victim was diagnosed with injuries right after the accident, how those injuries will affect the victim's life—including what medical treatment they'll require and how long it will take them to recover from their injuries—usually isn't fully understood when a case is in its early stages.

    The value of most car accident cases is determined by three components:

    1. Accident-related medical expenses
    2. Lost wages
    3. Pain and suffering

    To build a strong case, it's important to ensure these losses are documented well. Detailed medical records, past pay stubs, and daily journal entries discussing how accident-related injuries affect the victim on a day-to-day basis can serve as powerful evidence.

    Consult an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

    If you suffered injuries and losses in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. The knowledgeable car accident attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can review the facts of your case, and help you understand your legal rights and options.

    To schedule a free initial case consultation, contact our Atlanta law office today using the numbers on your screen, or complete our online contact form.  

     

  • What kind of compensation can I obtain after a car accident?

    There are several categories of compensation available for car accident lossesThe time after a car accident can be very difficult. Many times, victims are faced with the physical pain of injuries, the mounting pressure of medical and household bills, and the emotional stress that can follow a crash.

    Fortunately, the law provides an outlet for the injured to obtain compensation and ensure their physical care and financial stability.

    Victims in car accident cases can seek compensation to cover…

    • Medical costs. Victims can be compensated for any medical costs related to the accident. This includes medications, hospitalizations, doctors’ appointments, therapy, and necessary modifications to the home or vehicle.
       
    • Future medical costs. In some cases, the injury sustained in the accident can develop into a larger health issue or is severe enough to require long-term care. Compensation can be obtained to cover future treatments, therapies, and other necessities related to medical care.
       
    • Lost wages. Often, the injuries suffered in an accident prevent a victim from working. It can be difficult for a family to maintain their lifestyle without that income. Victims are entitled to reimbursement for earnings lost due to the accident, as well as for permanent disabilities that will limit future earning capacity.
       
    • Property damage. If your car or any belongings are damaged in the accident, the cost of repairing or replacing the item can be covered.
       
    • Pain and suffering. Victims can be awarded compensation for physical and emotional pain they experience after an accident. These damages can include stress and anxiety, as well as future physical pain stemming from the accident injuries.
       

    There is a wide range of compensation that is available for accident victims. Every case is unique, and money is awarded based on the specific circumstances of each case.

    Get Help From An Atlanta Accident Attorney 

    Insurance companies will try to minimize the amount they pay out, so victims should be careful after an accident. Don’t discuss any aspect of the case with insurance representatives without first speaking to an auto accident attorney. A skilled lawyer can help victims protect their rights and seek the maximum amount of compensation.

    If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a car accident, the car accident attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak may be able to secure you the compensation you deserve. Call our Atlanta office today at 888-522-7798 to learn more and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • Why should I hire Rechtman & Spevak as opposed to any other firm for my injury claim?

    There are two main reasons why you should choose Rechtman & Spevak.  First, the attorneys have over 50 years combined experience handling workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.  This experience allows us to provide you the best possible representation, and will result in you getting the maximum financial recovery on your claim.  Secondly, the personal attention that you will receive from your attorney is greater than you would receive from most firms that you see advertising on television.  Your attorney will personally meet with you at your initial consultation, which is not what typically happens when you hire an injury attorney.  Many firms will have you meet with an investigator or intake specialist, as opposed to the attorney that will actually be handling your case.  In addition, the customer service experience that you will receive after hiring us will be second to none.  We will make sure that you are well informed and comfortable throughout the pendency of your case.

    Browse Our Case Results

     

  • If I refuse light duty work, can my employer say I voluntarily abandoned my job?

    What to do when offered light duty work while on workers' compAfter a job-related injury, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, including temporary total disability (TTD) payments if you're completely unable to work for a period of time. However, your employer and its workers' comp insurer will likely want you to return to work as soon as possible so that it can stop paying you these benefits.

    To that end, your employer may offer a light duty position that allows you to work within the limitations set by the doctor who's treating your injuries.

    Georgia law requires your employer to draft a written description of this new light duty job, and send it to your doctor for approval. Sometimes, even when a physician approves your return to light duty, you may not feel ready or able to go back to work. How you handle this situation can have a lasting impact on your ability to continue to collect TTD benefits.

    Generally, it's best to at least attempt the offered light duty position. If you refuse to even try, your employer may fire you or claim you voluntarily abandoned your position, which could cause your TTD payments to stop. That's the last thing you want—which is why it's essential to contact an experienced Georgia workers' compensation attorney if you feel you're being sent back to work before you're physically ready.

    A workers' comp lawyer can help you understand your rights, including how to get TTD benefits reinstated if you try the light duty position, but are unable to continue performing the job.

    Consult a Skilled Georgia Attorney About Your Workers' Comp Claim

    At Rechtman & Spevak, our accomplished attorneys help injured workers protect their rights and fight for the workers' compensation benefits they deserve. If you were offered light duty work, but don't feel you're capable of performing the job asked of you, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your legal rights and options, and how to avoid being terminated and having your income benefits stopped.

     

  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected workers' comp claims for warehouse workers in Georgia?

    Not only have warehouse and distribution center workers been deemed essential by the state of Georgia under the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, but there is also a demand for more workers to staff these services. Warehouse and fulfillment center workers were overworked and suffering high rates of injury before the COVID-19 outbreak, so it’s likely they will struggle even more with debilitating injuries during the crisis. These workers are entitled to Georgia workers’ comp benefits if they are unable to work because of a workplace injury, but the process of applying has been complicated by closed offices and unprecedented circumstances.

    Warehouse employees face workers' comp hurdles during the COVID-19 pandemicWarehouse Workers Face Hazardous Conditions in Ordinary Times

    As non-essential workers across Georgia are ordered to stay home during the pandemic, many are turning to delivery for the groceries and other goods they need. This has placed a heavy burden on online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart.

    In order to stock their warehouses and fulfill orders, the companies have passed that burden on to workers. Amazon didn’t have a great safety record before the crisis, and workers often experienced serious back injuries, traumatic brain injury, sprains, strains, and repetitive stress injuries caused by:

    • Falling objects
    • Lifting and carrying heavy objects
    • Stretching and twisting to reach objects
    • Repetitive motions, such as loading boxes and stocking shelves
    • Forklift accidents

    Now that warehouse employees are working longer hours, filling more orders, taking on unfamiliar duties, and working with inexperienced new-hires, injuries are even more likely than they were before. However, just like before the pandemic, Georgia workers are entitled to file for workers’ comp benefits if they are unable to work due to an on-the-job injury.

    Filing a New Claim for Georgia Workers’ Compensation

    If you are injured at work in a warehouse, do not hesitate to pursue workers’ comp. New claims are being accepted, but the process may be more complicated than it was before. Regardless, you should first report the injury to your manager and then get medical treatment. You can see any doctor the first time if it is an emergency, but after that, you will need to see a doctor from your employer’s panel of physicians, if you can get an appointment. At this time, you may only be able to get a telephone consultation.

    Even if you do get a consultation, you probably won’t be able to follow through on all of the treatment recommendations. You can and should still file a claim with Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation and send copies to your employer and their insurance company. It’s hard to say how quickly things will move after that. However, you can make sure you are doing all you can to get the compensation you deserve by talking to one of our workers’ compensation attorneys before filing a claim. In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to have an advocate on your side to protect your rights.

    People Currently Collecting Workers’ Comp May Also Have Problems

    If you are currently collecting Georgia workers’ comp, you will also face some challenges. You might not be able to get the treatment you need to recover from your injury, which will affect your recovery timeline. If your light-duty assignment was eliminated, you might now need income benefits. While all hearings have been postponed due to judicial order, some workers’ comp issues are still being resolved by judges via teleconference. Now is the time to consult our experienced legal team to find out what you should do to protect your benefits.

    Call Us to Today for Honest Answers to Your Questions

    As a warehouse worker, you probably never thought of yourself as an essential member of the community before. Now, however, thousands of people depend on you to get the supplies they need to comply with Governor Kemp’s order. We want you to know that the lawyers and staff at Rechtman & Spevak are available to help you with your legal matters. We are offering free virtual consultations via video conference in lieu of in-person meetings, and we are also accessible through e-mail, text, and phone. If you have a question about a new or existing workers’ comp claim, please reach out to us as soon as possible.