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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  • How much is my Workers' Comp case worth?

    How much a workers’ compensation case in Georgia is worth depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the injury, the duration of time off work, and past and projected future medical costs. In Georgia, an injured worker is entitled to benefits equaling 66 2/3% of his average weekly wage during the time that he or she is out of work. The current maximum benefit payable to injured workers in Georgia is $575 per week, although this figure is subject to change by the Georgia legislature. The average weekly wage of an injured worker is calculated by looking at the 13 weeks prior to the date of the injury. In instances where an employee has not been on the job for 13 weeks, he or she should be paid benefits based on the compensation rate of a similar employee with a similar job.

    You can use our Workers’ Compensation Calculators to determine the following:

    • How many weeks of workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to
    • How much your impairment rating is worth
    • The present value of future benefits
    • How many more years the insurance company is considering regarding their future exposure in your claim

    Please don't hesitate to call our Workers' Compensation lawyers in Atlanta if you have additional questions at 404-355-2688.

  • What is the process involved in filing a workers’ compensation claim?

    In order to initiate a workers' compensation claim, your attorney will electronically file a Form WC-14 with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.  If a hearing is requested, which will be done if we feel that the employer and its insurer are not providing you with all of the benefits to which you are entitled, then the insurer will assign the file to an attorney to defend the claim within a few weeks of us filing the hearing request.  The parties will then go through a discovery process in which each side will serve typewritten questions called interrogatories as well as requests for documents upon the opposing party.  The defense attorney will also likely want to schedule your deposition, in which you will provide oral testimony about your claim.  The deposition will typically take place at your attorney’s office, and there will be a court reporter present who will take down your testimony.  If there is a dispute regarding medical treatment, the insurer may schedule you for an independent medical examination (IME) to get another opinion.  Under certain circumstances, we also may send you for an IME to get an opinion to bolster your case.  Ultimately, your case will proceed towards a hearing before an administrative law judge.  However, most cases reach a settlement prior to you ever having to appear in court.

  • 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.

    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. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney 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 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 is it going to cost me to hire an attorney on my workers’ compensation claim?

    No matter what attorney you hire on your Georgia workers’ compensation claim, the fee is going to be the same.  All lawyers who handle these types of claims will charge you 25% of the income benefits that they obtain on your behalf.  This amount is regulated by state law.  This fee only applies to money that your attorney gets for you.  If you are already receiving benefits prior to hiring your attorney, or if the benefits are started voluntarily by the insurer, then your attorney doesn’t get any part of that.  Attorneys usually earn their fee out of a settlement at the end of your case.  However, you shouldn’t worry about having to pay a percentage of your settlement to your attorney.  This is because an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will get you significantly more in settlement than the insurer would pay you if you were unrepresented.

  • How much is my auto accident case worth?

    It is very difficult to assess the value of an injury claim right after an accident.  That’s because we don’t know how serious the injuries are, nor do we know how much medical treatment our client is going to need.  What we can tell you is that the value of most cases comes from three components: the amount of your medical bills, your lost wages, and an additional amount for pain and suffering.  The medical treatment needs to be reasonable and necessary, and if you have lost wages, your disability needs to be documented by your doctor and the missed earnings need to be documented by your employer.  It is very difficult to place a specific dollar amount on your pain and suffering.  Both the insurance company and your attorney will estimate this value based on their expectation of how a jury would value your pain and suffering if your case ever went to trial.

  • How long do I have to file a claim after a car accident in Georgia?

    Your time to file a Georgia traffic injury claim is already ticking awayAlthough it lasts only a moment, a car crash is a scary experience that often has consequences that can affect victims for weeks, months, and years to come. In addition to the physical and emotional healing that has to occur, victims often also have to deal with legal and insurance issues that result from the accident.

    Though it can be frustrating—even overwhelming—to address those matters while still recovering from an accident, state laws and insurance company policy provisions establish time limits for victims to make their claims. These time limits seek to promote timely filings and eliminate the threat of litigation to the involved parties after some substantial amount of time. Victims must be mindful of these timeframes to ensure they can obtain the compensation they deserve after a car accident.

    How Does a Statute of Limitation Apply to Georgia Car Accident Cases?

    Legal statutes of limitation specify how long a victim has to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. In Georgia, statutes of limitation can vary, depending on the nature of the case. For car accident cases, victims typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. For claims against counties, cities, or the State of Georgia, there are also time limitations within which you must provide notice to of your claim in order to maintain your right to file suit within the two year statute of limitation. The notice requirement for claims against these entities are as follows:

    • Georgia counties: Victims are required to present their claims within 12 months of their injury.  
    • Georgia cities: Claims against a city require written notice within 6 months of the date of injury.  The notice must specify the time, place, and extent of the injury, as well as the negligence which caused the injury.
    • State of Georgia: Notice of a claim must be provided in writing within 12 months of injury, and sent by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, or delivered personally to and a receipt obtained from the Risk Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services. 

    It is essential to meet these deadlines. Typically, the court will refuse to hear your claim if it is filed outside the statute of limitation or you fail to meet the notice requirement if your claim is against a government entity, eliminating any chance you may have of obtaining justice or compensation. 

    Insurance Companies Have Their Own Deadlines After an Accident

    In addition to strictly legal considerations, insurance companies often have their own rules about how and when to file a claim. This can be true for both medical insurance and auto insurance companies. Many car insurance companies require notification within 24 hours of the accident.

    Though Georgia is a fault state, meaning victims can pursue compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company, some additional factors to consider after your accident:

    • Vehicle damage. Opposing insurance companies will typically dispute auto accident claims as much as possible. However, if your vehicle was significantly damaged in the accident, you may need a rental car or a company to authorize repairs; your own insurance company may be able to do this for you while you are waiting on the responsible party.
    • Uninsured motorists. If the party responsible for your accident does not have adequate insurance coverage, you may be forced to file a claim with your own insurance company. You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible following an accident of a potential uninsured motorist claim.
    • Medical expenses. Medical care is expensive, and the bills can begin to pile up quickly. Notifying your insurance company quickly may help offset some of the costs and help you avoid mounting debt.

    Act Quickly to Achieve the Most Favorable Outcome

    If you’ve been injured in a car accident, pursuing legal action as quickly as possible will give you the best chance at success. Even though it may be difficult and overwhelming to consider your legal options while still recovering from the physical and emotional wounds of the accident, it is necessary. The sooner you retain representation and file a claim, the more evidence can be collected and preserved. It can be more difficult to demonstrate to the court that you deserve compensation for your injuries as time passes. Swift action also ensures your claim is filed within the statute of limitations and can be heard by the court if necessary.

    If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Georgia car accident, don’t wait to seek legal help. Call the Atlanta law office of Rechtman & Spevak today at 888-522-7798 to learn more about your rights and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • 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.

    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 lawyers 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.

  • Who is responsible for damages in a multi-vehicle accident?

    Multi-vehicle accidents present special issues in a personal injury claim because it’s not always immediately obvious which driver—or drivers—may be at fault

    How Fault Is Determined

    In any accident, the first priority is attending to the immediate medical needs of injured drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. After arrangements have been made for this care, law enforcement officers begin their investigation.

    Evidence gathered can include:

    • Testimony from drivers.
    • Testimony from passengers.
    • Witness testimony from pedestrians or people who were nearby when the accident occurred.
    • Traffic camera footage.
    • Notes and photos regarding location and type of vehicle damage.
    • Past driving records to see if anyone involved has a history of reckless driving, DUI, or other unsafe behavior.
    • Black box data.

    Fault Options in a Multi-Vehicle Accident

    In a multi-vehicle accident, there are three possibilities for who is responsible for damages.

    • Single at-fault driver. In most cases, a multi-vehicle pileup happens when one driver makes a mistake that begins a chain reaction. This may include turning the wrong way down a one-way street, running a red light, or abruptly stopping.
    • Multiple at-fault drivers. Although the driver who sets off the chain reaction is primarily responsible for the accident, it’s likely that other drivers may also share some degree of fault. For example, consider an accident where driver A is tailgating and rear-ends driver B. If driver C was speeding, he could easily strike the back of driver A’s vehicle. Driver D might hit the back of driver C’s vehicle because he was distracted by texting and driving. In this case, everyone is partially at fault except for driver B.
    • No at-fault driver. In very rare cases, an accident may be determined to be nobody’s fault. For example, a driver who loses consciousness due to a genuine medical emergency can’t be held responsible for the damages that result. 

    Collecting Compensation as an At-Fault Driver

    When more than one driver is at fault, Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence system for assigning responsibility for accident related expenses. This means you can still collect compensation as an at-fault driver, but only if you were 49% or less at fault for the accident. If you are 50% or more at fault, you can’t recover any accident-related expenses.

    Additionally, your percentage of fault proportionally reduces your ability to recover damages. For example, if you were 25% at fault for the accident, you’d only be able to recover 75% of the damages you’d receive if the other driver was 100% at fault.

    How Policy Limits Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

    Unfortunately, policy limits often play a big role in personal injury settlement for multi-vehicle accidents. Since accidents of this type often involve multiple people with serious injuries such as organ damage, traumatic brain injury, or paralysis, medical bills can be substantial. Lost wages can also add significantly to the settlement, especially when more than one person has been left with a permanent disability that prevents him or her from returning to work.

    Although drivers are generally encouraged to take out substantial liability coverage to protect themselves in the event of an accident, most drivers only carry the state-mandated minimum insurance. Georgia’s minimum car insurance requirements are:

    • Bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person.
    • Bodily injury liability of $50,000 per accident.
    • Property damage liability of $25,000 per accident.

    If an accident exceeds the policy limits of the people who are at fault, you may then go after any uninsured motorist coverage that you have on your own policy.  If there is not adequate insurance coverage, then you will need to try to collect from the at-fault driver(s) personal assets. This can be a difficult and time-consuming task.

    How Rechtman & Spevak Can Help

    Maximize your available compensation in a personal injury settlement by hiring an experienced attorney to line up the necessary evidence to document your expenses and negotiate on your behalf. The dedicated team Rechtman & Spevak serves clients throughout Georgia, advocating for the funds they need to recover from their car accident injuries. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.