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 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.
How much does it cost to hire an accident attorney in Atlanta?
People injured in car accidents, truck crashes, motorcycle wrecks, and other personal injury accidents caused by someone else's negligence can often file an insurance claim or lawsuit to seek compensation for related injuries and losses.
However, many accident victims worry they won't be able to afford an attorney to help guide them through the personal injury litigation process.
Fortunately, when it comes to personal injury law, not having a thick pocketbook doesn't have to translate to a denial of justice.
Many personal injury attorneys work on contingency. This means their fees depend on how much they're able to recover for the client. Under a contingency fee arrangement, rather than having clients pay fees for legal services up front, the attorneys instead receive a percentage of the clients' settlement or financial award. This percentage varies, but in Georgia, it's often one-third of an accident victim's recovery—potentially more if the case goes to trial.
Some personal injury victims may be hesitant to part with one-third of their settlements. However, numerous studies show that victims represented by attorneys receive significantly larger settlements than those who choose to handle their personal injury claims without legal representation.
Personal injury attorneys can help people seek compensation for a wide range of financial issues, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Consult a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia
If you were hurt in a personal injury accident that wasn't your fault, the seasoned attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can answer your questions, and help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your case and learn more about our firm, how we handle cases, and our contingency fee agreement.
Can I get out of my workers’ compensation settlement after I sign the papers?
This is one of the most common questions workers' compensation attorneys receive. While there are many reasons why injured workers might want to revoke or get out of a settlement agreement after signing the papers, not only is that easier said than done, but it's only possible in a few specific circumstances.
Knowledge of the settlement process is vital to understanding just why revoking a workers' compensation agreement can be so difficult.
- Once the involved parties agree to a settlement, they sign a stipulated settlement agreement, which is then sent to the State Board of Workers' Compensation (SBWC) for approval.
- After the board approves the agreement, the settlement is final, parties are locked in, and the case can't be reopened—not even if the claimant's injuries were worse than initially realized.
However, there's a short window of time—after the stipulation settlement agreement is signed and before it's approved by the SBWC—during which it may be possible to back out of a workers' compensation settlement agreement.
For example, an insurance company may withdraw from a settlement if the claimant died before the board approved an agreement. Likewise, a claimant could potentially get out of a workers' compensation settlement agreement during this same brief window if the doctor treating his or her workplace injuries determines the need for different or additional treatment.
Consult a Skilled Georgia Workers' Comp Attorney
If you were injured in the workplace, you might be counting on a workers' compensation settlement to help you get back on your feet and back to the job. The experienced attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can investigate your Georgia workers' compensation claim, and guide you through each step of the settlement process. They can even help you determine the best time to settle, so there are no nasty surprises or a reason to get out of an agreement.
Were you hurt on the job in Georgia? Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.
How long will my case take?
Victims of accidents caused by another person or entity's negligence may be left with severe injuries, costly property damages, insurmountable medical debt, and other losses.
So it's no wonder that “How long will my case take?” is one of the first questions most people ask when consulting a personal injury attorney.
Unfortunately, there's not a simple answer to this question, as various factors influence case length, and can be as different as the cases themselves.
Elements that affect how long it takes to resolve a personal injury case can include:
- Accident liability or cause of injuries is in question
- The case involves significant injuries and losses and consequently, substantial damages
- The length of time that the injured party undergoes treatment
- An accident victim hasn't reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI)
How quickly a case concludes is also affected by whether the injured party chooses to settle the case out of court or take it all the way to trial. Most personal injury plaintiffs opt to settle out of court, which allows for a faster financial recovery.
It's essential for personal injury plaintiffs to wait until they've reached MMI before accepting a settlement offer. This means their condition and prognosis are understood, and the injuries have healed as much as they're expected to, according to medical experts. Settlements are final, and victims who settle before reaching MMI may miss out on receiving a financial recovery that fully covers ongoing accident-related medical issues.
Settling may allow plaintiffs to resolve their cases more quickly. But sometimes, going to trial may be necessary in order to secure a fair award for damages. Personal injury plaintiffs often receive more money in cases determined by judges and juries than what's traditionally offered in out-of-court settlements.
Get the Experienced Legal Help You Deserve
Negligence-related incidents can deal harsh physical and financial blows to people. If you were hurt in an accident that wasn't your fault, you might be entitled to extensive damages and, as a result, be bombarded with short settlement offers.
Don't accept less than you deserve. The savvy personal injury attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you understand your rights and options, and determine whether accepting the settlement offers you receive are in your best interest. Contact us today to request an appointment for a free case consultation.
Can I file a wrongful death claim if my loved one died in a train accident?
Possibly. Train accidents can be catastrophic and sadly, they happen far more often than most people realize.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), approximately 10,000 train-related accidents or serious incidents are reported to the Department of Transportation (DOT) each year. These include mechanical malfunctions, derailments, and collisions. These reported incidents result in thousands of injuries and roughly 700 deaths each year—some right here in Georgia.
Pursuing A Train Accident Injury Case
If you lost a loved one in a train crash caused by another person or company's negligence, you might have grounds to file a wrongful death claim that allows you to seek compensation for losses related to their death. However, Georgia law limits the ability to file a wrongful death claim to select individuals, such as the victim's surviving spouse, children, parents, or personal representative.
The surviving spouse has the first option to file a wrongful death claim, and must also represent the interests of any minor children of the couple. Additionally, in most cases, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of your loved one's death; otherwise, you risk forfeiting your right to pursue a legal remedy.
Types of Wrongful Death Suits
Wrongful death claimants in Georgia can bring two different types of suits: one to attempt to establish the full value of the victim's life, and another to compensate for financial losses related to their death.
Potential damages in the first kind of claim include lost wages and benefits the victim would have earned, as well as loss of care, companionship, and support for surviving family members. Common damages in the second type of claim include:
- Medical expenses incurred during the victim's final injury or illness
- Reasonable funeral and burial or cremation costs
- Pain and suffering the victim experienced before death
Consult an Experienced Attorney About Your Wrongful Death Case
No amount of compensation can replace a lost loved one, but a wrongful death settlement or financial award can help families gain closure and heal financially after an unexpected loss. If your loved one died in a negligence-related train accident, the knowledgeable attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you investigate your rights to compensation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.