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 should I do to protect my rights after a personal injury accident?
A car or truck crash, slip and fall, or another personal injury accident can leave you seriously hurt, unable to work, and wondering how you'll keep up with mounting medical and household debts.
If the accident that caused your injury was caused by another person or a company's negligence, you might have grounds for a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit.
However, what you do in the minutes, hours, days, and weeks that follow the accident can have a significant impact on your ability to collect compensation.
Here's what you can do to protect your right to a fair financial recovery:
- Gather evidence. This includes photos and videos of the accident scene, your injuries, any property damage, and contact information for involved drivers and witnesses. This type of evidence can be integral to building a strong case for compensation.
- See a doctor right away. Prompt medical attention protects both your physical health and the health of a future personal injury claim or lawsuit by ensuring that accident-related injuries are documented in your medical records.
- Continue your medical care. Following your doctor's treatment plan—including attending all scheduled follow-up visits—is essential to secure a successful outcome in your case.
- Document your accident-related expenses and other losses. Careful documentation is needed to ensure a fair recovery. Save all medical bills and receipts, property damage repair estimates or invoices, wage statements, and other relevant documents.
- Consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. An attorney will review your case, advise you about your rights and options, and help fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
Additionally, when it comes to protecting your rights, knowing what not to do after a personal injury accident can be just as important. For example, it's best to avoid:
- Apologizing at the accident scene.
- Providing an insurance adjuster for the at-fault party's insurance company with a recorded statement or broad medical release.
- Accepting an early settlement offer without first speaking with an attorney.
Request More Information
If you were hurt in a personal injury accident, the skilled attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you fight for justice and compensation. Schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation or request a free copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in Georgia, for additional information.
How do I know if I have grounds to pursue a personal injury lawsuit?
If you were hurt or suffered significant property damage in a Georgia car crash, truck wreck, or another type of personal injury accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and other losses you sustained. It's vital to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights, options, and whether you have grounds to take legal action.
In the meantime, here's a quick overview of some of the factors that affect your ability to file—and win—a personal injury lawsuit.
Comparative Fault Liability
Who was at fault for the accident plays a big role in whether you can collect compensation. However, in Georgia, being partially at fault for an accident doesn't necessarily preclude you from making a financial recovery.
Because the state follows what's known as comparative fault rules, as long as you were less responsible for the accident than the other party, you could potentially recover damages—although the amount you receive may be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if the other party was 85 percent at fault for an accident and you were 15 percent liable, your monetary award of $100,000 would be reduced to $85,000.
Statute of Limitations
Statutes of limitation laws restrict how long you have to file a lawsuit against someone. In Georgia, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of the accident or injury. If the two-year statute of limitations expires, you won't be able to file a lawsuit or pursue compensation.
Elements of a Personal Injury Case
In order for your accident case to have a favorable outcome, you and your attorney must prove the following points, which are often referred to as the elements of a personal injury claim:
- Duty of care. This means the other party had a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure your safety. For example, all drivers must drive safely in order to reduce the risk of causing a crash.
- Breach of duty of care. Once duty of care is established, you must show the defendant breached that duty in some way. In our car accident example, this could mean driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or texting behind the wheel.
- Causation. Next, you must prove you sustained injuries, property damage, or other losses as a direct result of the defendant's negligent action.
- Damages. Finally, you must demonstrate that the harm in question resulted in actual damages, such as medical expenses, property repair or replacement costs, lost wages, and other relatable losses.
Contact Us Now to Request a Free Initial Consultation
Make an appointment with the experts at Rechtman & Spevak for a free consultation, and we'll review the details of your case and discuss the options. Don't wait—contact us today!
What can I do if I was hurt at work because someone removed a safety guard or device?
Safety guards and devices are designed to help prevent on-the-job accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, when businesses prioritize profits over safety, these devices may get removed for the sake of expediency—and workers can suffer serious injuries or even death as a result.
If you were hurt in a workplace accident caused by a missing safety guard, you may be entitled to compensation.
However, the route you take to seek damages varies depending on the circumstances of the accident. For example:
- If the safety guard was removed by your employer or a co-worker, and you were injured as a result, you may qualify for workers' compensation and should file a claim with your employer. Workers' compensation is a no-fault system that provides medical treatment and wage replacement benefits to qualifying workers who were hurt on the job. In Georgia, workers' compensation is the sole legal remedy for workplace injuries caused by an employer or co-worker.
- If an independent contractor or a worker from another company removed the safety feature, leading to your accident and injury, in addition to a workers' compensation claim with your employer, you may also have grounds for a third-party personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. Personal injury lawsuits allow you to pursue compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages, as well as for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and other subjective losses.
Hurt in a Georgia Workplace Accident?
If you were hurt on the job, it's important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak have extensive experience handling both workers' compensation and personal injury claims. We'll review the details of your case, help you understand your legal rights and options, and fight for whatever compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.
Are temporary employees eligible for workers' compensation benefits in Georgia?
Usually. Workers' compensation is a no-fault insurance system that provides medical treatment and wage replacement benefits to workers who were injured on the job.
Georgia law requires most employers to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees, and doesn't distinguish between traditionally-hired workers and those hired on a temporary or seasonal basis.
Contrary to popular belief, temporary and seasonal workers are often eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
However, where they should submit their claims depends on whether they were hired by a staffing agency or by the company directly.
Temporary workers assigned through a staffing agency are considered employees of the agency, rather than employees of the business where they work. As a result, they should report their injuries to their supervisor at the staffing agency to start a workers' compensation claim.
The claims process is slightly different for seasonal workers the company hires directly. When they're injured in an on-the-job accident, they can report claims to their supervisors to jump-start the process and receive prompt medical attention.
Other temporary and seasonal workers who may not qualify for workers' compensation benefits include independent contractors and migrant farm workers. However, because workers are often misclassified, it's important to speak with an experienced attorney if you think you might actually be eligible for benefits.
Hurt on the job? You might be eligible for compensation for reasonable and necessary medical treatment, including ambulance transportation, emergency care, hospitalizations, surgical procedures, medication, and more. Additionally, if you've missed work while recovering from your injuries, you may be able to collect compensation for lost wages.
Help for Your Georgia Workers' Comp Case
Are you a temporary or seasonal employee who was injured in a workplace accident? Not sure if you're eligible to collect workers' compensation benefits? The skilled workers' compensation attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak will review your claim, and outline your legal rights and options. Contact us today to schedule a free initial case consultation.
How long do I have to file a workers' compensation claim in Georgia?
If you were hurt on the job in Georgia, the time you have to file a workers' compensation claim is limited—and if you wait too long, you could be barred from receiving the benefits you otherwise may have deserved.
Don't let this happen to you. Act quickly to protect your right to recovery.
Georgia law requires injured workers to notify their employer of an injury within 30 days.
However, it's best to report your injury as soon as possible.
How long you have to file a claim is determined by the state's statute of limitation laws. In most cases, you have just one year from the date the injury was discovered to file a claim for workers' compensation wage benefits. There are some notable exceptions. For example:
- If you're receiving medical treatment provided by your employer's workers' comp insurer, you have until one year following your last employer provided medical appointment to file your claim.
- If you have received weekly temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits, you have two years from the date your benefits stop to file a claim for a resumption of your income benefits if you have experienced a change in condition for the worse.
- Once you are no longer receiving TTD or TPD, you have four years following the last payment to file a claim for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.
Filing your claim means that you will need to complete a Board Form WC-14 and file it with the State Board of Workers' Compensation. You should send copies of this form to all of the parties in the claim, including your employer and their workers' compensation insurer.
Request a Free Initial Consultation
After sustaining a workplace injury, it pays to speak to an experienced Georgia workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. At Rechtman & Spevak, our attorneys have helped countless injured workers obtain the benefits they deserve.
Have questions about your case? We'll help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
What do I need to know about returning to work with restrictions?
After an on-the-job accident, workers in Georgia may be entitled to collect temporary total disability (TTD) workers' compensation benefits while recovering from their injuries.
These benefits are designed to help injured workers get back on their feet, back to work and, as the name suggests, they don't last forever.
If your treating physician releases you to return to work with restrictions, your employer may offer you light duty work, and be able to stop paying you TTD benefits.
Common restrictions and limitations can include:
- Limited hours
- Physical restrictions against heavy lifting or repetitive motion activities
- Light duty work only
- Prescribed breaks to get up and move around
- Required use of supportive equipment, such as an ergonomic keyboard or back support
If your doctor recently approved a light duty job for you to return to work with restrictions, keep the following in mind:
- Returning to work can be a positive development. You get a paycheck and back into the swing of things while your employer regains a valued worker. Win-win.
- It's unwise to simply refuse. Under Georgia law, if your employer comes up with a light duty job, and your doctor approves it as being suitable to your restrictions, AND the insurer gives you 10 days written notice of the job offer, your failure to attempt the job will jeopardize your ability to collect further workers' compensation benefits.
- TTD benefits may restart if you're not up to the task. If you try to return to work for at least 8 hours or one work shift (whichever is longer), but no more than 15 scheduled work days, and are unable to continue performing the job, you will be entitled to a resumption of your TTD benefits.
Consult an Experienced Workers' Compensation Attorney
Deciding whether to return to work after an on-the-job injury can be one of the most challenging aspects of the workers' compensation process—especially when restrictions and limitations are involved. If you have questions about your Georgia workers' compensation case, call Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.
Can I get workers' compensation benefits for an amputation injury?
Yes. Because the loss of a limb is one of the most catastrophic injuries someone can suffer in the workplace. Amputation of an arm, hand, foot, leg, or other body part may not be life threatening, but it's often life changing.
While amputation injuries can happen to workers in a wide range of industries, those in manufacturing and construction—as well as those in which employees routinely operate heavy machinery—are most at risk.
Though severed limbs can sometimes be successfully reattached, and prosthetics can help victims regain some use of a lost limb, people are still likely to experience limited mobility. This impacts their ability to hold a job or complete other daily tasks.
The ongoing costs of treating an amputation injury can quickly mount, especially when the limb loss prevents someone from returning to work. Fortunately, in Georgia, workers who've lost limbs while completing job-related duties are often entitled to workers' compensation benefits, such as:
- Coverage of past and future medical expenses related to the amputation
- Ongoing disability payments up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage
- Prosthetics and other necessary assistive equipment
- Vocational therapy
Georgia categorizes the loss of major limbs as catastrophic by law: which means that workers who suffer such injuries will be eligible to collect workers' compensation medical and income benefits indefinitely.
Let Us Help You Obtain the Workers' Compensation Benefits You Deserve
Navigating Georgia's complex workers' compensation system in pursuit of the benefits you deserve can be both frustrating and confusing.
At Rechtman & Spevak, our skilled attorneys know the system—and its pitfalls—inside and out. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you. Do you have questions about your workers' compensation amputation case? Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation.
Will my workers' compensation settlement or financial award cover counseling for pain?
In Georgia, people injured on the job or while performing duties within the course and scope of their employment are often eligible for benefits through the state's workers' compensation system.
These benefits can include lost wage and temporary disability payments if the injury keeps the employee out of work for seven or more days, as well as coverage of reasonable and necessary medical treatments.
People hurt in the workplace often suffer from chronic pain as a result of their injuries. The National Institutes of Health defines pain as chronic if it lasts for more than 12 weeks. Depending on the severity of the injuries, this pain may be nagging, persistent, excruciating, debilitating, or even disabling. Though medications and surgeries are considered front-line treatments for chronic pain, more doctors recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) counseling programs to help patients cope.
However, even though research suggests that CBT may be more effective than opioids for relieving chronic pain—and without carrying the dangerous potential for addiction—some workers' compensation insurers may be reluctant to cover the treatment. Fortunately, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you fight for the care you need.
Our Skilled Workers' Comp Attorneys Can Help
If you're living with chronic pain caused by an injury you sustained at work, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, including coverage of necessary medical treatments to help you manage the pain more effectively.
The seasoned workers' comp attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak understand that a serious on-the-job injury can be devastating to an employee and his or her family. We're here to help.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your case with a knowledgeable member of our legal team. We'll walk you through the workers' compensation claims process, and help you better understand your legal rights and options. Don't wait—the time to file your claim is limited.
What are the pros and cons of accepting a workers' compensation settlement?
If you were hurt on the job or while performing duties within the course and scope of your employment, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, including coverage for reasonable medical expenses and lost wages.
Once you've filed a Georgia workers' compensation claim, you may be faced with the decision of whether to accept a settlement or to take your chances in court.
Before making your decision, consider the most important pros and cons of accepting a workers' compensation settlement:
- PRO: an end to litigation. Litigating a workers' compensation claim in court can be lengthy, expensive, and emotionally grueling. Accepting a settlement allows you to bypass the uncertain trial process and collect a lump sum of money.
- CON: you may get less than you deserve. Insurance companies and their attorneys know just how frustrating litigating a workers' compensation claim can be, which is why they may offer an unfairly low settlement amount with the hope you'll be tempted to take it.
An experienced Georgia workers' compensation attorney can help you determine whether accepting a settlement is in your best interest.
Our Legal Experts Will Help You Make the Right Decision
While a lump sum may mean having access to more money more quickly, it may not be sufficient to meet your needs if you're suffering from a long-term injury or illness. Additionally, accepting a lump sum settlement can also be problematic if you haven't yet reached maximum medical improvement, as it is sometimes difficult to estimate the amount needed for future medical expenses.
Do you have questions about a settling a Georgia workers' compensation case? Contact Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case with a member of our knowledgeable legal team.
After a workplace injury, can I be forced to take PTO for related doctor visits and physical therapy?
The answer to this question depends on many factors, including company policies and, if you're in a union, what's spelled out in the union contract.
Employees hurt in the workplace—or while performing duties within the course and scope of employment—may be entitled to a range of workers' compensation benefits. For employees out of work for seven or more days due to their injuries, these benefits can include temporary total disability payments of two-thirds their weekly wage. This is up to a maximum of $575 each week. Individuals receiving these benefits receive workers' compensation for their time, including whatever is necessary for related doctor visits and physical therapy.
Georgia workers approved for light duty may receive temporary partial disability payments through workers' compensation to make up for lower wages. People receiving these benefits are often still recovering from their injuries, necessitating periodic doctors' appointments and physical therapy visits. In such cases, this time away from work is often covered by workers' compensation.
However, employees with work restrictions who can return to work full time are often at the mercy of company policies regarding medical appointments and time off. As a result, employees may be forced to use PTO for workplace injury-related appointments or take the time unpaid.
Additionally, employees who were off work for fewer than seven days and ineligible for workers' compensation temporary partial or total disability payments, will likely be expected to use PTO for their doctors'
and physical therapy appointments, or take time off without being paid.
If you're part of a union but not familiar with the particular contract guidelines regarding workers' comp and medical appointments, your union steward should be able to answer any questions.
Consult a Knowledgeable Georgia Attorney About Workers' Comp
If you were injured in a Georgia workplace accident, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The skilled attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you understand your legal rights and options, and ensure you receive the proper benefits.
Do you have questions about your workers' compensation case? Contact us today to arrange an appointment for a free initial consultation.