By Cheryl Roy
Workers’ compensation insurance is a safety net that every worker should benefit from but hopefully never have to use. However, if you have suffered a work-related injury, here is what you need to do to receive benefits. There are some variations between states for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, you will be pleased to know that in Georgia, the process is quite simple.
Time Is of the Essence
Each state is governed by its own workers’ compensation laws and statute of limitations, which vary somewhat. In Georgia, employees have a 30-day deadline to report a work injury to their employer in writing. While the statute on filing a claim is one year. The time starts ticking from the date the injury occurred. If these deadlines are not met, the employer can risk losing the benefits.
Report the Accident to Your Employer
An employee must inform the administrative department in writing about the accident that led to the injury. The employer will then provide the necessary documentation and the next steps to follow. Make sure to mention the following when reporting the incident:
- Date and time.
- How the accident happened.
- Type of injury.
Regarding work-related illness, the employer should notify the administration as soon as the first symptoms occur. Many of these take years to manifest and after prolonged exposure to the harmful substance.
Fill Out a Form WC-14
Next, fill out a WC-14 form and submit it on time. This form is often used to request a hearing to resolve controversies between the employee and employer/insurance company regarding a compensation case.
This can be acquired from the State Board Workers’ Compensation. You can access it through their website or by contacting the Board via phone or in writing. Once completed, copies of the form need to be forwarded to the employer and the Board. Make sure to keep a copy for your records.
The Discovery Process
The following stage consists of the discovery process, during which the submitted WC-14 claim will be analyzed. Depending on the specifics of the case, either side can ask for additional documentation and information. For example, if there is any concern regarding the employee’s medical profile, they might be asked to take an independent medical examination.
In very few instances will a case end up before an administrative law judge. The majority of workers’ compensation cases settle before things escalate further. A report by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that in Georgia $375,101,222 has been paid this year in total compensation and medical bills.
Consult A Qualified Attorney
If you are having difficulty with the process or any concerns regarding your case, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta. However, before retaining their service, make sure to have an initial in-person consultation. This is a valuable opportunity for both the client and the legal expert to learn about each other. Many Atlanta lawyers offer a free consultation, so make sure to take advantage of this.
Having a legal expert on your side is especially useful when your case does not fit the mold. They can help guide you through legal proceedings and adapt the course of action to the specifics. A lawyer can make sure that the deadlines are met and, if needed, pursue damages with a third-party lawsuit.
What is more, keep in mind that compensation lawyers will receive their fee based on the success of the case they represent. They will only get paid after the case is closed, and the amount they receive cannot exceed more than 25% of the workers’ compensation award received by the injured worker.
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, try to take the necessary steps for workers’ compensation as soon as possible. Make sure to report the injury to your employer within 30 days of the incident. They will provide you with a list of forms that need to be filled and steps to follow.
Make sure to file a WC-14 in a timely manner. A discovery process will ensue, during which the case will be analyzed more in-depth. Remember that you always have the option of contacting a lawyer if things get too complicated.
Cheryl Roy has built a successful legal career over the years. However, she wanted to reach out to people beyond her practice and decided to do so by writing. Cheryl took it as a personal mission to make legal information more accessible to the public. Therefore, she started sharing her expertise with individuals and businesses facing a legal dilemma. Now she has branched out to many online and offline platforms and works as a collaborative editor for Bader Scott Injury Lawyers.