How Long Does Workers' Compensation Last?
If you’ve been injured at work or suffered an occupational illness, you could be eligible to claim Georgia workers’ compensation benefits. In most cases, your employer pays premiums for an insurance policy to cover work-related injuries and illnesses. Unfortunately, if you don’t notify your employer and begin the workers’ comp claim process, you could lose the benefits you’re entitled to.
The opportunity to claim workers’ comp benefits in Georgia doesn’t last forever. Under Georgia state law, you only have one year from the day you were injured to initiate your claim. There are some exceptions, like if your employer paid for your treatment or if you kept working after you were hurt.
The law also sets time limits on how long you can receive certain benefits from the workers’ compensation system in Georgia.
The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act is complicated, so contact a qualified lawyer to help you get full benefits.
At Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, our skilled workers’ comp lawyers in Norcross will help you navigate the bureaucratic process. Contact us now for a free consultation.
Is There a Time Limit on Workers’ Comp Benefits?
In short, yes. According to the current workers’ comp laws in Georgia, you have to file an official notice of your claim within one year of your injury. If you miss the deadline, you may not be able to receive the full workers’ comp benefits you would otherwise qualify for.
Once your claim is processed, your employer’s insurance company will assign benefits to you. The compensation you receive will follow the legally mandated benefits periods for different kinds of injuries.
Under the law, an injured worker can receive up to 400 weeks of compensation, or lifetime benefits in certain circumstances. Some kinds of injuries result in benefits for a significantly shorter period of time.
Do Some Workers’ Compensation Benefits Last Longer Than Others?
The length of your workers’ compensation benefits depends on how you were injured. For example, a person who suffers an amputation because of an injury on the job will receive weekly benefits for a certain period of time, depending on the appendage they lost. Someone who loses a toe may receive benefits for less time than someone who loses an arm.
The maximum benefit period for almost all injuries is 400 weeks. If your injury was catastrophic, you may be able to receive benefits for life. Usually, your workers’ comp will be lowered or cut off if your doctor says you can go back to work. Don’t skip work because you’re hurt if you’re cleared to return, since that can cause your benefits to stop.
If you’re concerned that your workers’ comp period is shorter than it should be, a qualified attorney can assess your case. Insurance companies often bury complicated language in their contracts, and they aren’t eager to spend their money. Lawyers are trained to understand their rules and pursue maximum benefits on behalf of injured people.
Our lawyers at Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, can help you understand your appeals options and whether you may have other avenues available to improve your compensation.
Can I Refile for Workers’ Compensation If Mine Runs Out?
You probably can’t extend your workers’ compensation benefits for an injury you’ve already filed a claim for. The benefit periods are set by Georgia law. However, if the facts of your case change, like if another doctor’s appointment reveals that your injury was more serious than initially thought, you may be able to appeal your benefits award.
A lawyer can evaluate your existing workers’ comp benefits to see if your case was undervalued, in which case you may have cause to appeal. If you’re injured again or discover another injury, you may be able to file another claim. It’s a good idea to contact a lawyer to discuss your case if you think you’re owed workers’ compensation benefits that you haven’t received.
Will My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Stop Automatically If I Get Fired?
In Georgia, your employer can fire you for any reason or no reason, but they can’t legally retaliate against you for applying for workers’ compensation.
If you were injured on the job, you should still be able to get the workers’ compensation benefits you need. In some cases, you may be required to look for work after you lose your job before your workers’ comp benefits continue. If you’ve been fired and injured at work, you may need an attorney to evaluate the facts and help you navigate the complicated process.
Can I Receive a Lump Sum Settlement for my Workers’ Compensation injury?
It depends. Your employer’s workers’ comp policy administrator will need to agree to pay you the lump sum. Since you’re not suing for pain and suffering damages, as you would in a personal injury claim, you generally can’t force the insurance company to pay you everything all at once. Your attorney can discuss whether a lump sum settlement may be possible for you.
Whether or not you get your workers’ comp benefits in one payment, you should receive full and fair compensation for your injury. If your claim is denied or undervalued, Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, can help you appeal. You may need additional documentation to substantiate your claim. Since we have years of experience, we can quickly assess what steps you should take.
Do I Have Any Other Assistance Options If My Workers’ Compensation Runs Out?
If your injury was caused by someone other than your employer or co-worker’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a third-party personal injury claim against the at-fault party for your pain and suffering damages. This isn’t always the case, since you would need to document how your injury should not be covered by workers’ comp.
For example, if you were hit by a car while working, you may be able to initiate a third-party injury action against the driver. You can’t pursue this kind of claim against someone you work with or your boss. That’s what workers’ compensation insurance is for.
If you’re eligible, you may be able to seek Social Security Disability benefits. These can sometimes be combined with your workers’ comp benefits, but it may lower your SSD benefits. If you have questions about your rights after an injury, our lawyers can answer them.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Contact Adamson & Cleveland, LLC in Norcross and Athens, GA, to discuss how to get the workers’ compensation benefits you need. We’re always available for a free initial consultation.
Kevin Adamson is a former college baseball player who brings a competitive spirit to personal injury trials and settlement negotiations. Kevin played baseball at LaGrange College and went on to earn his MBA from Lynchburg College and his J.D. from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Since 2001, he has focused on personal injury law and secured numerous six- and seven-figure results for his clients. He is also a registered arbitrator and mediator with extensive experience handling contract negotiations for a variety of professional services, including athletic contracts. Kevin also owns his own airplane and makes frequent use of it for his law practice, which has taken him to 18 states.