Paying close attention to state deadlines is crucial in ensuring that you're able to maximize your workers' compensation benefits. Under Georgia workers' compensation law, an injured worker has one year from the date of the accident to file a notice with the State Board of Workers' Compensation. However, if your employer has provided medical treatment for your workplace injury, this deadline may be extended.
Reporting a Workplace Injury to Your Employer
Ideally, an injury should be reported immediately after it happens. This helps guarantee that evidence is preserved to support your claim and that you receive the medical care you need. You can notify your employer orally or in writing, although written documentation is preferable as a way to build a paper trail for your case.
Of course, not all injuries can be reported immediately. Although cuts and broken bones from a fall leave no doubt as to the fact that a worker has been hurt, injuries such as sprains and strains are less apparent. For this reason, Georgia law allows you 30 days to provide initial notice to your employer. If you fail to report the injury within this timeframe, you risk losing your right to benefits.
When you notify your employer of your injury, you'll be asked when the accident happened, what caused you to hurt yourself, and what symptoms you are experiencing. You may also be asked if anyone witnessed the incident who can be called upon to support your statement. Be as accurate as possible in completing your report, but avoid unfounded speculation.
After your injury has been reported, your employer should provide you with a list of doctors that you can choose from for any necessary medical treatment. Instead of seeing your regular doctor, you'll need to obtain treatment for your work-related injury from one of the providers listed on your employer's panel of physicians.
At this time, your employer should also contact its workers' compensation insurance company to open a claim regarding your work accident. If your claim is approved, you may be entitled to Temporary Total Disability (TTD) or Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits.
Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim
It's a common misconception that reporting a workplace injury is the same as filing a workers' compensation claim. Your employer's workers' compensation insurer may begin providing you with medical treatment immediately, but that is not the same as filing notice with the state.
A formal claim isn't filed until you submit a Notice of Claim (Form WC-14) to the State Board of Workers' Compensation. A copy of this form must also be submitted to your employer and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. Submitting this form in a timely fashion is a crucial step in protecting your legal right to benefits.
You have one year from the date of the accident or the date you last received medical treatment provided by your employer or its insurer within which you may file a Notice of Claim if you did not receive any weekly income payments.
Paying close attention to the statute of limitations for your workers' compensation claim is vital. If you miss the deadline that applies to your case, the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation will have no legal jurisdiction to review your claim.
Obtaining Legal Representation
The deadlines and documentation requirements for Georgia workers' compensation benefits may seem overwhelming when you're struggling to recover from an on-the-job injury. Retaining skilled legal representation is the best way to make sure that your claim is handled in a timely manner.
Please contact the legal team at Rechtman & Spevak for a free, no-obligation case review. We are committed to helping employees of FedEx, Delta Airlines, Emory University/Emory Healthcare, Kroger, Publix, Northside Hospital, Piedmont Healthcare, Walmart, Lowes, Waffle House, Chick-fil-A, Randstad, and other local businesses receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives after a workplace injury.