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How long do you have to be off work to collect workman's comp?

The rules governing workers’ compensation benefits are so complicated that people are often confused about how long they have to be out of work before they can get benefits. The simple answer: seven days. Also, if you’re going to miss seven or more days of work, your employer must notify the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation within 21 days.

It is common for injured workers to have a lot of questions about their right to benefits after a workplace accident. Unfortunately, you should not rely on your employer or the insurance company to look out for your best interests. You need an experienced workers’ compensation law firm on your side to help you pursue the full benefits you deserve.

At Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, we stand up for workers’ rights. We will make sure all your paperwork is filled out properly and filed on time to meet rigid deadlines. We will also negotiate assertively with the insurance company to demand the full and fair benefits you need. To learn more, set up a free consultation with an attorney now.

How Is Workers’ Compensation Handled in Georgia?

Workers’ compensation exists to help those who are hurt on the job in Georgia, even for relatively short-term injuries or illnesses. If you’ve let your employer know that you’ve been injured on the job and are expected to miss more than a week of work, the employer has 21 days to get in touch with the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation.

Once your employer has notified the Board of Workers’ Compensation, your employer can decide on one of two methods for its insurance company to determine what benefits you are owed. Those two methods are:

  • A traditional panel of physicians: This is a panel of six doctors who aren’t associated with your case, one of whom will be an orthopedist. State rules say that no more than two of these doctors can be from “industrial” clinics, and at least one doctor should be a minority, if possible.
  • A workers’ compensation managed care organization: This is a group certified by the Workers’ Compensation Board to put together a plan to deliver and manage your treatment under the state Workers’ Compensation Act. This group would also be required to include minority medical providers.

There are tight deadlines for filing workers’ compensation claims in Georgia, so it’s important to avoid any delay. Generally speaking, you have a year from the date of your injury to file a claim, though you should notify your employer as soon as possible after you are hurt to start the process.

Is There a Limit on the Amount of Workers’ Comp I Can Receive?

If you are ruled eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, your employer will be required to pay two-thirds of your average weekly pay (based on your pay for the 13 weeks prior to your injury), with a maximum potential benefit of $675 per week. You can receive this weekly benefit for a total of up to 400 weeks from the accident date.

In addition to this weekly wage benefit, there are other types of benefits you can receive in workers’ compensation cases. They are:

  • Medical expenses: Any medical treatment requested by the authorized doctor handling your on-the-job injury will be paid by your employer’s insurance carrier.
  • Temporary partial disability benefits: If you are deemed able to work in a lesser capacity, leading to a reduction in pay, you may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. These cover two-thirds of the difference in your pay for a limited amount of time, a maximum of $450 per week, up to 350 weeks from the accident date.
  • Permanent partial disability benefits: If you suffer a permanent partial disability, such as the loss of use of your hand, the doctor leading your treatment will assign you a rating as part of your workers’ compensation case. This rating will determine the full benefits you are entitled to receive.

Do I Have to Go Back to Work as Soon as I Am Able To?

The short answer here is “yes,” but only if you are able to work within whatever restrictions your doctor has set. Once you have been evaluated by a doctor, the physician will let your employer know what work you will be able to do, what kinds of hours you can handle, and so on.

If your employer has work for you that falls within these restrictions, you are required to show up to work. However, this does not mean that your medical treatment ceases or that your benefits end. If your condition worsens, you may find yourself unable to work again, in which case you would not have to go back.

If you are working but are receiving fewer hours or less pay than before, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits, which cover two-thirds of the difference in your pay.

How Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The first step is to let your employer know as soon as possible that you are injured. Your employer must then notify the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation, which kicks off the formal workers’ compensation process. You will then want to gather any medical records you have that might help support your case. It would be wise to speak with an attorney, as well, to handle all the paperwork and make sure you do not do anything that might accidentally jeopardize your case.

Talk to a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Now

Do not take the chance of having your workers’ compensation claim denied by doing it alone. Instead, talk to the dedicated attorneys at Adamson & Cleveland, LLC. We have extensive experience successfully handlings workers’ compensation claims, and we will fight aggressively on your behalf.

Our lawyers work on a contingency basis, so you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. To learn more, call us for a free, no-obligation case review.