GEORGIA WORKERS COMPENSATION laws protect you in the event you are injured on the job. Georgia worker's compensation is often referred to as Georgia workman's comp (or Georgia workmans comp or even Georgia workman comp). Georgia Worker's Compensation laws were changed several years ago by the Georgia legislature to recognize that these statutes clearly should apply to both men and women who are injured on the job. Your employer is required by law to have workers comp insurance if he employs more than three workers. You have an absolute right to claim workers comp benefits if you are hurt while on the clock. Don't let your employer tell you otherwise.
The law does not require you to prove that someone was at fault in causing your injury. Unlike negligence claims such as automobile accidents, slip and fall injuries or medical malpractice, an injured worker should be paid benefits if he/she is injured while "on the clock" as long as he/she is acting in the interest of the employer. Georgia courts have interpreted the "arising out of and in the course of employment" language of the staute to mean that you cannot claim benefits if you are injured coming to or leaving from work, or if you are injured on a break from work.
Similarly, the workers comp laws do not allow you to claim benefits for pre-existing conditions; however, you can claim benefits for the aggrevation of a pre-existing condition if you had previously revealed the pre-existing condition to your employer.
Our state's laws also generally limit claims to physical injuries. Emotional distress without an accompanying physical injury is most likely not compensable.
It has been our experience that the workers comp system can be very frustrating and even unfair. If you file a claim, your employer and their insurance company can fight you and try to prevent you from collecting. In many cases, a major issue involves who will provide you with medical care. The employer/insurer usually tries to push you to go to conservative doctors who are most likely to limit treatment and release you to return to work. As your attorney, our job is to help you find quality medical care with the best available physicians and to force the insurance company to pay for all necessary care as well as needed rehabilitation. In some cases, the question of who will treat you will come before an adminstrative law judge. Even if you win on this issue, however, the insurance company can appeal and delay needed treatment for months,all to your detriment. Our job is to keep winning these appeals along with penalties and assessed attorney's fees. This is truly an area where we fight for your rights!
If your injury is such that you are unable to work for more than a few weeks or months, it is likely that your employer will not want you to come back to work. In their eyes, you are a risk since you might get hurt again and that you will file another claim. In many cases, the employer/insurer will agree to "settle" your claim by paying you a lump sum along with a limited time for medical treatment with an agreed upon doctor. One of the biggest advantages Ginsberg Law Offices brings to you at settlement time is our experience as on-the-job injury lawyers. After representing many hundreds of claimants, we can tell you when the settlement value of your case is at its highest. We also take seriously our responsibility for explaining to you the risks of settling (i.e., that your condition may get worse) as well as the danger of letting your workers comp case grow stale (i.e., waiting until the company doctor releases you to return to work).
In our experience, the best time to settle a claim is when the uncertainty factor is at its highest - nobody knows for sure whether you will be collecting benefits for years to come or whether you will be able to return to some type of work.
Our firm can also represent you in a Social Security disability claim for monthly benefits. Thus, if you qualify for Social Security, you can "trade" away your workers comp benefits in settlement with less risk.