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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  • Is it okay to talk to an insurance company after my car accident?

    Shortly after an accident, your phone may start ringing. The insurance company who covers the other person involved in your accident will likely contact you seeking all sorts of information.

    Be very cautious when talking to an insurance adjuster after your accident

    An important fact to remember when this happens is that the insurance adjuster is not working for you. Even if you are an honest, fair person and you feel you have a solid claim, the adjuster is out to protect the interests of the insurance company and minimize any money they might have to pay. He may seem friendly and understanding on the phone, but he will certainly use any information he is able to learn from you to his company’s advantage if possible.

    Sometimes, it is difficult to avoid these calls. If you find yourself on the other end of the line with the opposing insurance adjuster, follow these helpful tips to protect your rights and preserve your claim.

    DON’T…

    • Discuss your medical care. Do not elaborate on your injuries. It is possible that you will not fully understand the nature of your injuries until later, so do not offer details that could hurt your case in the future. If pressed, tell the adjuster you simply do not know the full nature of your injuries and that you are seeking medical treatment.
       
    • Give details of the accident. The adjuster can find the basic information from police reports or his own insured driver. Do not offer your version of events to the adjuster at this time.
       
    • Sign anything. Never sign anything, no matter what the adjuster says. This applies to a medical release as well as documents related to fault. If you sign a medical release, the insurance company will have free reign to examine the full scope of your medical history, and may try to use your past medical records against you.

    DO…

    • Be polite. You may be feeling angry about the accident or suffering from the physical consequences of the crash, but taking your frustration out on an insurance company representative will not help. The adjuster will play a role in your case, so it is best to stay on civil terms.
       
    • Remain vague. Offer the adjuster only basic information, such as your name, address, and birthdate. You may share the minimum details about the accident. Where it occurred, what day and time, and what vehicle you were driving.
       
    • Identify the person to whom you are speaking. Take note of the date and time of the call, the name of the insurance company, the name of the representative, and how to contact him if necessary. Make sure to keep your notes.
       
    • Tell the adjuster to contact your attorney if further information is necessary. It is a good idea to only talk to insurance companies in the presence of an experienced accident attorney. The attorney can help you understand what information can and should be shared and when.
       

    In some cases, such as in accidents where the at-fault driver is uninsured, the victim may have to pursue a claim with his own insurance company. Victims are required to cooperate more fully with their own companies, so you may have to offer more information to the adjuster in those situations. A skilled attorney can help victims understand their rights and obligations and make decisions on how best to move forward.

    If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, and a member of the car accident attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak will help you learn more about how to proceed after an accident.

  • What are the minimum car insurance requirements in Georgia?

    Car insurance in GeorgiaEvery state sets different rules about car insurance—rules about fault, minimum insurance limits, and penalties for failure to comply with the laws. The state of Georgia is no different. Drivers are required to carry insurance to cover any property damage or personal injury that may occur in a car accident. Georgia is a fault state, meaning that blame is assigned after an accident and the party responsible for the crash must pay for the damage. Auto insurance covers these costs, up to a certain limit.

    The state requires every vehicle to carry minimum coverage. In Georgia, the state mandates:

    • Bodily injury liability:  $25,000 per person. $50,000 for multiple people in an accident.
    • Property damage liability:  $25,000 for one incident.


    Bodily injury liability covers the injuries suffered by a person in an accident. It could cover medical expenses, lost income, as well as pain and suffering. Property damage liability provides compensation for the damage done to another person’s property, such as a car, bicycle, mailbox, home, and more.

    These amounts are the minimum amounts required by Georgia law, though many drivers elect to purchase larger policies in order to further protect themselves from the possibility of personal financial responsibility in the case of a serious accident. Drivers who fail to secure the appropriate levels of insurance can be penalized. Uninsured motorists are subject to fines, the loss of driving privileges, and the revocation of vehicle registration. Driving an unregistered vehicle is a misdemeanor in Georgia.

    Additional Coverage Available to Georgia Motorists

    State law requires only bodily injury and property damage coverage, though many drivers opt to purchase additional insurance to offer further protection from accidents. Most insurers also offer policies that cover:

    • Medical payments. This coverage can provide payment for medical expenses due to injuries as a result of an accident.
    • Collision. Collision coverage can pay for the replacement or repairs to a vehicle after a crash.
    • Comprehensive insurance. This coverage offers protection from damages or losses not related to road accidents, such as theft or weather damage.
    • Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. If a driver with no insurance or not enough insurance is at fault for an accident, this coverage can cover the expenses related to the accident.


    If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation, even if the driver responsible doesn’t have auto insurance. Call the experienced car accident attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak at 888-522-7798 to learn more about your options and find out what we can do to help, and download our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in Georgia.
     

  • Do I need to see a doctor after an accident?

    Many people are reluctant to seek medical help after an accident or injury. They may think a doctor visit is unnecessary because they feel fine, they aren’t sure where to go, they are worried about the cost, or for any number of other reasons. However, if you’ve been involved in an accident, it is very important to have your health evaluated by a physician. Seeing a doctor will strengthen any lawsuit you may wish to bring in the future, and, more importantly, promote recovery and ensure your continued well-being.

    Protect Your Health Even If You Feel You Have No Symptoms

    Often, accident victims downplay the severity of the symptoms and injuries. Even if you feel like your injuries are minor or non-existent, visit a medical provider to get checked out. This visit is important because:

    • Doctors are trained to recognize symptoms patients easily overlook. Medical professionals can identify signs of health problems that a victim may not even think are related to the accident. They are trained to recognize concussions, soft tissue injuries, internal injuries, and more.
       
    • The body may still be on a “high” after an accident. An accident can be a high energy time for the body. Typically, the body’s response to the high stress situation is to release endorphins. Accident victims will experience a rush of endorphins that evoke extra energy and block the feelings of pain. Once this feeling subsides, which can take time, the true nature of any injuries will be revealed.
       
    • Minor injuries can develop into more significant health concerns. In rare circumstances, a seemingly minor injury can progress into a much more serious health problem. If the problem can be addressed early, accident victims may be able to avoid future suffering. Additionally, if the future issue cannot be avoided, the insurance company will have documentation that the problem is related to the accident.

    The Legal Effects of Seeking Medical Treatment

    In addition to addressing important health concerns, seeking medical treatment helps to add credibility to a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation case related to the accident or injury. Today, insurance companies gather as much information as possible. They calculate what they think is an appropriate settlement offer based upon a number of factors, including how quickly a victim saw a doctor. If the victim sought medical treatment within 72 hours of the accident, this adds significant value to the claim.

    Additionally, those involved in workers’ compensation claims need documentation from a doctor to prove the injury has negatively impacted their health and their ability to work.

    Where To Seek Medical Help in Georgia

    For some people, doctor’s visits are rare. Many victims don’t seek treatment because they simply aren’t sure how or their employer is preventing proper medical treatment. If you are concerned about finding the right treatment, try:

    • Calling your family physician. Most general practitioners can easily see a patient before the 72 hours are up. If your doctor is particularly busy, explain the situation to the office staff. They will work with you to find a good time or set you up with a partner in the practice.
       
    • Visiting an urgent care facility or emergency room. These are set up to see patients short on time or for injuries that need immediate attention.


    Hospital emergency rooms are obligated to evaluate everyone who comes to them for help following an accident, regardless of whether they have insurance or the ability to pay. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an accident, the experienced lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak may be able to help. Call our Atlanta office today at 888-522-7798 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • How will I pay my bills if I am unable to work after a workplace injury?

    If you’ve been hurt at work and you can’t go back to your job, or if you can’t earn the same income that you did prior to the accident, then you are understandably concerned about how you are going to pay your bills and afford medical treatment.

    Workers’ Compensation Can Help

    If you are eligible for workers’ compensation in Georgia, then you may get help paying your bills in the following ways:

    • You may be eligible for income benefits. Once you have been out of work because of your workplace injury for seven days, then you become eligible for income benefits. More specifically, you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly pay up to the statutory maximum. Income benefits should start within 21 days of your first missed day of work. If you are out of work for more than 21 consecutive days, then you will also be paid for the first seven days of work that you missed.
       
    • You may have your medical bills paid. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer should pay your injury-related medical bills directly to the provider so that you don’t have to worry about paying these expenses. You are required, however, to use a medical provider from a list provided to you by your employer.
       
    • You may be entitled to more than the amount you are receiving. Just because your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer has started paying you income benefits, it doesn’t mean that you are being paid the correct amount. Calculating the correct benefit rate can be complicated in some situations, and the insurer will not always go out of their way to make sure that it has been done right. Sometimes, your past earnings are not as important as what a co-worker earned if you haven’t been on the job that long. Tips, bonuses, and meal allowances can also be factors. The only way to know for sure if you are being paid the right amount is to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

    This Can Change If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied

    If your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim, then you will not be paid income benefits while your claim is disputed. However, you may qualify for unemployment if you can show that you were not fired for cause. If you receive unemployment benefits, and then subsequently are awarded workers’ compensation for the same period, then your employer will be able to take a credit for the amounts previously paid in unemployment. This is because under Georgia law you are not entitled to a double recovery of benefits.

    An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you get the benefits that you deserve so that you can pay your bills during this difficult time. For more information, please contact us via this website today.

  • Am I going to lose my job if I file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia?

    Many employees who have been hurt on the job are concerned that their employers will fire them for making a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if your employer is going to terminate your employment because you assert your right to file a workers’ comp claim after being hurt on the job.

    In Georgia, employees are hired on an employment at-will basis unless there is a contract that says otherwise. That means that your employer can fire you at any time for cause—or for no cause at all—so long as the employer does not fire you for a reason that is protected by federal or state law. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is not a reason that is protected by federal or state law.

    Three Things You Need to Know

    If you’ve been hurt at work and you are concerned about losing your job, then it is important to know that:

    • You may lose your job regardless of whether you file a workers’ compensation claim.   However, a workers’ compensation attorney will be able to give you advice which may help you keep your job.
    • You may file for workers’ compensation even if you are fired.
    • You have the right to contact an attorney to discuss whether or not you should pursue a workers’ compensation claim. You and your lawyer can discuss whether workers’ compensation benefits are worth pursuing given your unique injury and employment situation.

    If you are disabled or you can’t work because of your workplace injuries then you need help. You need information that you can trust so that you can make informed decisions about exercising your rights and protecting your future. Please start a live chat with us today to learn more.

  • Should I go back to work if my employer offers me a light duty job?

    You should not just rush back to work.  It is best to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your rights prior to returning to light duty work.  There are legal ramifications of returning to work following your injury, and you don’t want to do something that will be harmful to your workers’ compensation claim.  Although you ultimately will probably need to go try the job, it is important that the position be presented to you in a legally sufficient manner.  An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can tell you if the job has been offered properly, and will go over what can and will occur once you attempt the job. Read more about returning to light duty work after a work injury in Georgia.

  • Can I get workers’ compensation if I am injured in a fight on the job?

    In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia, you must show that your injuries arose out of and in the course of your employment. In other words, if you were injured while doing something work-related and during work hours, you are typically covered by GA workers’ compensation. However, you are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits if your injuries were the result of your willful misconduct. For example, if you get into a fight at work unrelated to the performance of your job, and suffer injuries as a result, you are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits in Georgia.

  • Can my Workers' Comp claim be denied for lying on my application?

    Georgia workers’ compensation laws allow employers to deny work injury claims based on certain conduct on the part of the injured worker. This includes instances in which an injured employee lied about his medical condition on his job application if the new injury is associated with the worker’s misrepresentation. Called the “Rycroft defense,” the employer must prove the following three elements in order to properly deny your claim:

    • The employee knowingly and willingly made a false representation as to his physical condition
    • The employer must have relied on the false representation, and this reliance must have been a substantial factor in the employee’s hiring
    • There must have been a causal connection between the false representation and the injury

  • Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits If I Re-injure A Body Part I Hurt Previously?

    In Georgia, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you aggravate a preexisting injury or condition on the job. In some cases, workers with preexisting injuries or illnesses are still able to perform their duties at work. However, if your job exacerbates your condition and you become unable to work or you need medical treatment, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

  • How long can I get workers’ compensation benefits?

    Unless your work injury is deemed “catastrophic,” you can only collect Georgia workers’ compensation benefits for a maximum of 400 weeks from the date of your injury. Unfortunately, few injured workers receive benefits for the full 400 weeks, as workers’ comp insurance carriers typically do everything in their power to limit or discontinue benefits for workplace injuries. For catastrophic injuries however, a worker may be able to receive lifetime weekly wage benefits in return for their inability to return to work or gain an income. You can use our  Georgia Workers’ Compensation Calculators to determine  how many more weeks of workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.