An on-the-job accident can leave victims seriously injured, unable to work and without a steady income, while drowning in unexpected expenses. Fortunately, Georgia's workers' compensation system serves as a vital safety net for injured workers.
In addition to providing coverage for reasonable and necessary accident-related medical expenses, people who were injured in the workplace may also qualify to receive income benefits payments.
However, the way these benefits are calculated can be complicated. Here's an overview of workers' compensation income benefits that may be available to injured workers in Georgia.
Georgia Workers' Compensation Eligibility
Most businesses that employ three or more people are required to carry workers' compensation insurance on their workers so they can provide them with compensation in the event they're injured on the job.
There are some exceptions. For example, domestic workers, gardeners, agricultural workers, railroad employees, independent contractors, and some other types of professions might not be covered by Georgia's workers' compensation system.
However, if you feel you've been misclassified as an independent contractor, it's important to speak with a workers' compensation attorney who can help you understand your rights.
If you're covered by workers' compensation and on-the-job injuries keep you out of work for seven days or longer, you may be entitled to weekly income benefits of up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage. In most cases, you should begin receiving these payments within three weeks of the first missed day of work.
Available Workers' Compensation Income Benefits
There are three types of workers' compensation income benefits that may be available to injured workers after a Georgia workplace accident. The amount of your weekly payments and how long you can receive them varies by the type of income benefit and your average weekly wage, and may be subject to a maximum cap.
Here's what you should know:
- Temporary total disability benefits (TTD). TTD benefits are intended to replace a portion of your lost income if you're not able to work at all as a result of your workplace injury. These benefits pay two-thirds of your average weekly wage, and were capped at a maximum of $575 per week for accidents that occurred between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2019. The maximum weekly payment amount for accidents that occurred between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2022 was $675. The maximum benefit rate increased to $725 for accidents that occur on or after July 1, 2022. TTD income benefits may be available for up to 400 weeks.
- Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD). TPD benefits are designed to help replace a portion of income lost if you to return to work under light duty restrictions, and work fewer hours or are placed in a lower-paying position. These benefits pay up to two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wage and the amount you're currently earning. TPD benefits were capped at $383 per week for injuries that occurred between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2019, and increased to $450 per week for accidents that occurred between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2022. For accidents on and after July 1, 2022, the maximum TPD rate is $483. These benefits may be available for up to 350 weeks.
- Permanent partial disability benefits (PPD). PPD benefits are payable once TTD or TPD benefits stop, and you're assigned a permanent partial impairment rating by your treating physician. These benefits are payable at the same rate as TTD benefits (two-thirds of your weekly wage, subject to a maximum cap) and are available for a varying number of weeks, depending on the specific body part that was injured. For example, a disabling injury to the arm or leg entitles a claimant to PPD benefits for up to 225 weeks, while a disabling injury to a hand entitles a claimant to PPD benefits for up to 160 weeks. Learn more about PPD benefits here.
Consult a Workers' Comp Attorney About a Workplace Injury Claim
The Georgia workers' compensation system can be complicated, which is why it's important to have a knowledgeable attorney looking out for your best interests. Have questions about available workers' compensation income benefits after an on-the-job injury? Contact Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.