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.

  • Page 1
  • 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.

    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.

    work_injury_formThe 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.
     

    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.

    Consult an Experienced Workers' Compensation Attorney

    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.


    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 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 experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will get you significantly more in settlement than the insurer would pay you if you were unrepresented.

  • What is my car accident case worth?

    Victims who've sustained injuries, property damages, 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 treatments 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.  

     

     

  • 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.

    Free guide for car accident victims in Georgia

    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. Our car accident attorneys are ready to help.
     

  • 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

     

  • Who's liable when a driver hits a pedestrian who was distracted while texting?

    distracted_pedestrianThe dangers associated with distracted driving are better known, but many people don't realize that distracted walking can also have serious consequences.

    Distracted walking accidents and injuries are on the rise, according to the National Safety Council. Pedestrians who text, play mobile games, or surf online while walking are most at risk.

    Pedestrian accidents are also on the rise, as noted by the Governors Highway Safety Association in its 2016 and 2017 reports, and distracted walking—particularly texting while walking—may be at least partially to blame.

    When pedestrians are struck by vehicles, the injuries they sustain can be absolutely devastating.

    Even in cases where the driver was traveling at a relatively slow speed, victims may require extensive medical care and time off from work. Pedestrian accident victims may be entitled to compensation from the driver who hit them. However, if the pedestrian was distracted and texting at the time of the accident, he or she may share in liability, which could potentially affect their financial recovery.

    Fortunately, Georgia is a comparative negligence state. This means personal injury victims may still be entitled to compensation, even if they were partially responsible for their accidents and injuries. Georgia courts use modified comparative negligence rules, which allow for personal injury claimants to collect damages if they were up to 49 percent responsible for the accidents in which they were injured.

    Consult an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney

    If you were seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, but are worried that your role in what happened may affect your ability to recover compensation, it's vitally important that you understand your legal rights and options.

    The knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you build a strong case and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case analysis.