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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If I refuse light duty work, can my employer say I voluntarily abandoned my job?
After 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 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.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Georgia workers’ comp claims for nurses and first responders?
Healthcare workers on the front lines have always risked their own health and safety to help the patients who need them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, nurses and first responders are at greater risk than they have ever been. Both of these groups of essential workers are at high risk for a workplace injury, but what options do they have if they can no longer work because of an injury? We take a look at the current status of Georgia workers’ compensation for healthcare workers on the front lines.
Filing a New Claim for Workers’ Compensation
First things first: if you are a nurse or first responder who was injured on the job, don’t be afraid to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation. New claims are being processed; however, you will face some challenges.
After reporting the injury to your employer, you need to get medical treatment. If it is an emergency, you can see any doctor but, otherwise, you will need to see a doctor from your employer’s panel of physicians. During the COVID-19 crisis, you might not be able to get an appointment with one of these doctors, or if you do, it may only be 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. How quickly things move after that is anyone’s guess right now.
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. Now more than ever, it’s important to have an advocate on your side to protect your rights.
What If You Have an Existing Claim?
If you are currently collecting 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. Your light-duty assignment may have been eliminated, and you now need income benefits. While all hearings have been postponed by judicial order, some workers’ comp issues are still still being resolved via teleconference with the judges. Now is the time to consult our experienced legal team to find out what you should do to protect your benefits.
What Risks do Nurses and First Responders Face During the Pandemic?
The work that nurses, EMTs, police officers, and firefighters do has always carried risk. These brave men and women willingly take those risks to serve the public. However, they are facing even greater dangers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Nurses. In ordinary times, many nurses experience repetitive stress injuries, slip and falls, exertion injuries, chronic back pain, needle pricks, and exposure to infectious disease. In the current crisis, hospitals are understaffed, and nurses are working longer hours and dealing with increased patient loads. Many nurses have been called to work outside of their normal areas of expertise at Emory Healthcare, Northside Hospital, or Piedmont Healthcare, and their inexperience puts them at risk. Exhaustion, exposure to the coronavirus, unprecedented death rates, and the lack of clear procedures have created an incredibly stressful environment for Atlanta nurses, increasing the likelihood of a serious injury or occupational disease.
- First responders. Typical causes of injury for first responders normally include violent attacks, vehicle accidents, exertion, exposure to toxins and infectious disease, and hazardous surroundings. As most of us are asked to stay home to stay safe, first responders are required to risk their lives responding to emergencies. EMTs working for companies such as Metro Atlanta Ambulance Service are at high risk for contracting the coronavirus as well as sustaining other serious injuries.
If you are an essential worker on the front lines of this crisis, we are here to help.
Call Rechtman & Spevak With Your Questions
We applaud the work our nurses and first responders are doing—you are our heroes during this uncertain time. 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.
How can I protect my right to recovery after a train crash?
Train accidents happen more frequently than one might expect and when they do, victims are seriously injured, unable to go to work, and facing mounting medical and household debt. If you were involved in a Georgia train crash or lost a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation.
However, obtaining a fair financial recovery requires taking immediate steps to protect your rights.
Here's what you can do to help build a strong claim for damages:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. In some cases, train accident injuries may require on-the-scene emergency care but, even if yours didn't, it's crucial to see a doctor right away. Not all traumatic injuries are immediately apparent and should you experience symptoms later on, you'll want to be able to connect them to the train crash. A doctor can help.
- Document your injuries. Make sure to discuss all body parts that may have been affected in the accident with your doctor. Be thorough and honest, providing a detailed account of how your injuries impact your ability to work and complete other daily activities. Photos of your train crash injuries can also serve as powerful evidence.
- Gather evidence of your losses. Speaking of which, save medical bills and receipts, documentation of work absences and wage losses, costs of medically-necessary assistive care or devices, and home modifications.
- Talk to an experienced train accident attorney right away. Train crashes often result in catastrophic injuries and damages and the greater the damages, the greater the potential compensation—and the bigger your claim, the greater the certainty that the at-fault party's insurance company will fight it. A skilled attorney will investigate the crash, gather and preserve valuable evidence, handle communications with insurance companies and defense attorneys, and maximize the value of your claim or lawsuit.
Let Our Seasoned Georgia Attorneys Handle Your Train Crash Case
Contact Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your rights and options. Don't wait—Georgia's statute of limitations restricts how long you have to take legal action after a MARTA or other train accident.
What happens in a free consultation for a workers' compensation case?
Workplace accidents happen every day in the Atlanta area and throughout Georgia, and injured employees are usually entitled to workers' compensation benefits. If you were seriously injured on the job, one of the wisest things you can do is contact an experienced workers' comp attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options—and the sooner you consult an attorney, the better.
Fortunately, most (if not all) workers' compensation attorneys in the Peach State offer free initial consultations, which can be conducted in person at their law offices, at your home or other convenient location, through an online video conference, or over the phone.
During an initial consult, an attorney will ask you a number of questions about your work history, similar past injuries, wages, and how the on-the-job accident occurred, including details such as time and place, general work conditions, when you notified your employer of the injury and who you reported it to, and what medical treatment you've received thus far—all with the goal of identifying the potential strengths and weaknesses of your case.
It's important to provide the attorney with as much information as you can, including:
- Medical records
- Pay stubs
- Written accident reports
- A list of your medical providers and their contact information
- Names and contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident
- Contact information for your employer and its workers' comp insurer
- Any correspondence that you have received from your employer's insurance company
While this information and documentation can be extremely helpful, there's no need to worry if you don't have it—an attorney can still help you.
In addition to reviewing your case and discussing your legal rights and options, the attorney should also explain the firm's contingency fee agreements. Attorneys who work on a contingency basis take their fee out of the compensation they recover for you, rather than charging you upfront. This ensures that even workers of modest financial means have access to quality legal representation. Any attorney you hire on a Georgia workers' compensation case can only charge you 25% of what they recover for you.
You'll also have the opportunity to ask the attorney questions about their knowledge, experience, and past cases to help determine whether they're a good fit for your workers' comp case.
Request Your Free Initial Consultation Today
The idea of talking with an attorney can be daunting but, if you're sweating your initial consultation, don't. We're here to help. Contact Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary consult.
Can I seek compensation for a foot drop injury?
The type of muscle tearing or nerve compression that leads to foot drop is common among victims of car collisions, truck crashes, and motorcycle wrecks.
If the nerves in your knees or back were damaged in an accident you didn't cause and you began experiencing foot drop symptoms, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party.
Foot drop is characterized by the inability to lift the front part of the foot. While that may not sound particularly dire, it can have wide-ranging consequences. In order to help a dropped foot clear the floor, you may find yourself lifting your knee or thigh—or swinging your foot side to side—every time you take a step.
Unfortunately, rather than helping, these modified gaits create problems of their own. For example, the foot will often strike the floor with considerable force, which can make walking extremely difficult or painful.
If your foot drop is severe, it can be a significant disruption to your life. Not only can foot drop seriously limit your mobility, but it can also restrict your occupational opportunities. If you're injured, unable to work, and drowning in medical debt after being hurt in an accident caused by another person or company's negligence, we can help you seek compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, and more.
Consult an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
At Rechtman & Spevak, our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys fight to help injured Georgia residents obtain the compensation and the justice they deserve. We may be able to help with your case as well. Interested in learning more about our firm and how we handle personal injury cases? Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation. We look forward to reviewing your case and discussing your legal rights and options.
Does there have to be a collision in order for me to recover damages for a pedestrian injury?
No. Contrary to popular belief, a vehicle doesn't actually have to hit you in order for you to be eligible to recover damages for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. If you fell or collided with something else while taking evasive action to avoid being struck by a negligent motorist, you may still have a case and be entitled to financial recovery. An experienced personal injury attorney can review your case, and help you understand your legal rights and options.
Damages in pedestrian accident cases often include monetary recovery for accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning potential if the accident leaves you unable to work, physical pain, emotional anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and other losses.
Also, thanks to Georgia's comparative fault rules, you may even be entitled to compensation if you were partially responsible for the accident that injured you. Under this legal standard, victims can still recover damages as long as they're less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
However, their recovery may be reduced to reflect the percentage of fault a judge or jury assigns. For example, if your financial award is $100,000 and you're found to be 10 percent at fault for the accident, your award would be lowered to $90,000. A skilled attorney will help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Let Our Accomplished Attorneys Handle Your Georgia Pedestrian Accident Case
When you're grappling with serious injuries, unscheduled time away from work, and unexpected medical expenses after a devastating pedestrian accident, there's far too much at stake to go it alone. With the dedicated team at Rechtman & Spevak by your side, you don't have to. Our adept personal injury attorneys help accident victims throughout Georgia fight for a fair recovery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.
What workers' compensation benefits am I entitled to if my workplace injury resulted in total blindness?
If your Georgia workplace injury resulted in total blindness, you may be entitled to more than the standard workers' compensation benefits. Here's what you need to know about on-the-job eye injuries and vision loss, and how our adept attorneys can help you fight for the maximum workers' comp benefits you deserve.
Workplace eye injuries are a lot more common than most people realize. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20,000 eye injuries happen on the job each year, many of which require the injured worker to take one or more days off to recover.
Common causes of workplace eye injuries include:
- Sparks or burns
- Flying or falling objects
- Swinging objects, such as ropes or tools
- Chemical exposure
- Dust particles
- Small bits of metal, glass, or other debris
- Radiation exposure
Research shows that 10-to-20 percent of work-related eye injuries lead to blindness. Any serious on-the-job eye injury may entitle you to workers' comp benefits like medical treatment, temporary disability payments, and vocational rehabilitation. However, total blindness is recognized by the State of Georgia as a catastrophic workplace injury and, as a result, you may qualify for additional benefits.
For example, although total disability payments are capped at 400 weeks for most injured workers, individuals with catastrophic injuries such as total blindness can collect these benefits indefinitely—unless they're able to return to work.
If you lost your vision due to a workplace injury, you need a knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney to protect your rights and ensure you receive the appropriate benefits.
Let Our Skilled Georgia Attorneys Handle Your Workers' Comp Claim
Total blindness can turn your entire world upside down. If you suffered an on-the-job eye injury that led to a complete loss of vision, the experienced workers' compensation attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary initial consultation. Don't wait: the time to file a claim is limited.
What are the differences between a criminal case and a civil case against a drunk driver?
Drunk driving is a serious crime that can lead to devastating crashes, injuries, and deaths. When drunk drivers cause accidents, they may face criminal charges for their actions. These charges are brought by public prosecutors for the purpose of holding defendants accountable for breaking the law.
Depending on the circumstances of the crash and the severity of the charges, a drunk driving defendant could face community service, fines,
or even jail or prison time if convicted.
While criminal charges play an important role in the justice system, they do nothing to compensate victims for their losses and make them whole.
That's where civil cases come in. Unlike criminal cases, which are brought by the government against victims accused of crimes, civil cases are brought by victims (or victims' families) against individuals or companies whose negligent or malicious actions resulted in physical, financial, or other damages.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court allows victims of drunk driving accidents to seek compensation for quantifiable economic losses like medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and even the loss of earning capacity if the crash-related injuries are expected to have long-term negative effects on earning potential. Victims can also pursue damages for intangible losses that are more difficult to quantify, such as physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and reduced quality of life.
Let Our Experienced Georgia Attorneys Handle Your Drunk Driving Personal Injury Case
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a tragic accident caused by a negligent drunk driver, the skilled legal team with Rechtman & Spevak can help you fight for the damages you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to learn about your legal rights and options, how criminal drunk driving charges and convictions can help your civil case, and how working with our accomplished attorneys can help you maximize the value of your claim.
Will workers' compensation benefits cover alternative medicine?
After being hurt on the job, Georgia workers may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, including medical treatment for the injuries they sustained. Unfortunately, not all types of treatment are covered. The state's workers' compensation law limits coverage to medical treatments that are considered “reasonable and necessary.”
While what constitutes “reasonable and necessary” medical care is debatable, it's generally thought to mean treatment that meets the accepted standard of care for your injury or condition. Emergency room visits, doctors' appointments, basic diagnostic tests, some physical therapy, and prescription pain medication are just a few examples of the types of treatment commonly covered by workers' compensation.
While evidence-based Western medicine is often acceptable, getting coverage for alternative treatments like chiropractic care, acupuncture or acupressure, massage, homeopathy, and biofeedback can be much more difficult. Insurers are often reluctant to pay for even valid treatments, but they're especially resistant to footing the bill for treatments they don't believe are effective.
However, that doesn't necessarily mean that all alternative treatments are out of the question—but it does mean you need high-quality and aggressive legal representation. An experienced Georgia workers' compensation attorney may be able to prove that the desired treatment is, in fact, reasonable and necessary. And if the alternative treatment isn't approved by the insurance company, you can opt to undergo it and pay for it yourself.
Georgia workers' compensation may be a no-fault insurance system, but that doesn't mean you'll receive the maximum benefits to which you're entitled without a fight. Your employer and its insurer want to cut costs—and if you don't have strong legal representation, they may do so at your expense. After a workplace injury, the sooner you involve an attorney in your case, the better.
Consult an Experienced Workers' Compensation Attorney
At Rechtman & Spevak, our skilled attorneys help injured Georgia workers collect the benefits they deserve. Find out how we can help you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free, initial case review.