After being hurt on the job, the last thing you want to think about or deal with is the technicalities related to Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. However, even though it can be an overwhelming situation, one of the best things you can do is speak to an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney at Hines Law right away. Our legal team can help with every step of the claims process and ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.
Along with providing you with the legal representation you deserve, our team at Hines Law can also answer any questions you have about workers’ compensation and your rights in Georgia. Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here.
What exactly is workers’ compensation?
In Georgia (and most other states), workers’ compensation is insurance that provides financial benefits for injured workers to cover lost wages, medical costs, and rehabilitation expenses. The injury or illness must occur or be caused by their job and what they do in the course of their employment. It will also pay death benefits to an employee’s family if they are killed while on the job.
The development of the workers’ compensation system was to offer fast payment for medical bills and income without having to prove who was at fault for the injury or illness a worker experienced. In most cases, the employer will buy a workers’ compensation insurance policy that will then be used to cover these costs.
Will you be covered by the workers’ compensation law in georgia?
Usually, if your employer has three or more employees and you are injured while doing something within the course of your employment, then you will be covered. However, if you aren’t sure of your rights or if you are having trouble receiving the benefits you believe you are entitled to, contact our legal team at Hines Law.
Do you really need to hire an attorney for workers’ compensation cases?
Trying to enforce your workers’ compensation rights in some situations can be challenging. There are complex procedures and forms that must be used, filed, and followed. In most cases, having an attorney represent you and advocate for you will be necessary. Our legal team has decades of experience. We understand the process and what needs to be done to ensure you receive the maximum benefits possible for your workers’ compensation claim.
What does it mean if the insurer wants to create a medicare set-aside account as a part of the settlement?
The MSA or Medicare Set-Aside account is used if you are eligible or if it appears that you are going to be eligible for Medicare benefits because you receive Social Security Disability Income benefits. It’s worth noting that Medicare is not supposed to cover the treatment that you receive due to your work-caused injury or illness. The total amount of money that is put into the MSA is usually an estimate of the amount that your future medical treatment will cost.
After you receive this type of settlement, it is required that you put the money provided for the MSA in a separate account and only use the funds for medical treatment and expenses related to the work-caused injury or illness. If you don’t use the funds properly and provide an account of how it is spent, it may mean that your Medicare benefits for other medical treatments that aren’t related to your job are being denied.
If you haven’t gone back to work and your weekly checks are reduced, is this legal?
The answer to this isn’t simple. It all depends on your situation. If your doctor released you back for light-duty work and the insurer complies with the law’s requirements, then your benefits may be reduced from temporary total down to temporary partial. However, this is only possible after a year has passed. You would need to provide our attorneys with all related paperwork for us to determine what is legal for your case and situation.
Is it required that you stay in the state of Georgia to continue receiving workers’ compensation benefits?
The answer to this is no. You can still receive your weekly benefits no matter where you go or where you decide to live. Also, it’s necessary for the insurer to provide you access to a doctor who is located near your new residence.
When is it possible for the insurance company to stop your benefits?
This is a more complex question than it may seem. There are specific limits in place related to how long you can receive workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia. With no regard to the set time limits, there are three situations when an insurer has the right to halt your temporary total benefits without having to request permission from the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Keep in mind there are other situations where the State Board and halt your benefits.
These situations include:
- The physician who is treating you releases you back to work with no restrictions.
- If you go back to work and make the same amount of money that you did before, you were injured.
- If the insurer follows the rules related to offering light-duty work and you do not attempt it.
Can the insurance company “watch” you while you are receiving benefits?
It is legal for insurance companies to perform surveillance. In most cases, when this is done, the insurance company is trying to determine if your restrictions are less than what your doctor has reported. Try to avoid doing any type of strenuous acidity outside. If you do, the insurance company may try to make it seem as though there is nothing wrong with you. Even if you can bend over to pick something up off the ground, it doesn’t mean that you can or should be doing this throughout the day. A single action like this caught on video can be extremely misleading. You should make sure you are smart when on workers’ compensation and take steps to protect your rights to these benefits.
Let our legal leam help with your workers’ compensation claim in georgia
When it comes to workers’ compensation benefits, there are more than a few factors to consider. It is important that you keep the information here in mind, which is going to ensure that you can protect your rights. While workers’ compensation laws can be complex and confusing, our legal team is here to help. We can review the facts of your case to help ensure you get the benefits you deserve. Being informed and working with our team at Hines Law is a great way to ensure you are protected as an injured worker in Georgia. Contact us today!