No one plans to get hurt on the job. Sudden injuries can be debilitating, life-altering, career-threatening, and even catastrophic. The uncertainty of job security and being able to work in the only industry you know, exasperated by the decrease in income for an unforeseeable amount of time; causes anxiety, fear, and depression for injured workers and their families.
The workers’ compensation process can be difficult to navigate. Waiting on a benefits check or that large settlement check can feel like an eternity.
We’ve answered some common questions injured workers asked about the payment process in Georgia.
Question: My workers’ comp check isn’t here yet, but my attorney doesn’t seem concerned. When can I expect my workers’ comp benefits check?
Answer: In Georgia if you are unable to work for more than 7 days due to an injury sustained on the job, you are entitled to weekly income benefits. Your first check should be mailed to you within 21 days after the (1st) first day you missed work. If you miss more than 21 consecutive days, you will be paid for the first week.
For settlements – Once a case is settled, the employer/insurer has 20 days from the date the board approves the settlement documents, to remit settlement checks.
Question: My medical and travel-related expenses have been approved. How will I be reimbursed and how long will it take?
Answer: Approved expenses will be reimbursed within 15 days of submission. If reimbursements are not paid within fifteen (15) days of receipt of documentation requesting reimbursement, penalties shall be added in addition to the reimbursement amount. (Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Employee Handbook)
Question: How long do I have to submit my expenses?
Answer: Submit your approved expenses within a year’s time of the date of service otherwise you will have waived your right to collect such charges from the employer of workers’ compensation insurer.
Question: My case has been settled, and it’s 10 days later. Why haven’t I received my check yet?
Answer: Georgia law requires the employer/insurer to remit settlement checks at a maximum of 20 days from the date the board approves the settlement documents.
Question: What can I do to speed up the reimbursement process?
Answer: Keep details of all records and receipts from doctor’s visits. Make sure you see a physician on the Panel of Physicians posted by your employer.
Question: What can I do to guarantee reimbursement?
Answer: Make sure all doctors, treatments, and expenses have been pre-approved.
Question: How do I know if the company I work for is covered by workers’ compensation?
Answer: Georgia law requires any business with 3 or more workers, including regular part-time workers, to have workers’ compensation insurance. Verify coverage at www.sbwc.georgia.gov. Click the “Verify Workers’ Compensation Coverage” link.
Question: How long do I have to work to be covered under my employer’s workers’ compensation?
Answer: In the state of Georgia, you are covered from the first day on your job.
Question: How long will I receive weekly benefits?
Answer: If your accident occurred on or after July 1, 1992, you are entitled to benefits for up to 400 weeks. If your injury is catastrophic in nature you may be entitled to lifetime benefits. In certain circumstances, your benefits may be reduced after you have been released to return to work with limitations or restrictions or suspended if you are released to return to work with no limitations or restrictions.
Question: What if I don’t apply for my workers’ compensation benefits at the time of my injury?
Answer: You must file a claim to protect your rights within one year from the date of your accident. This is accomplished by filing Form WC-14 with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Question: Do I need a workers’ compensation attorney?
Answer: You are certainly entitled to represent yourself in the state of Georgia in any workers’ compensation hearings, mediation, or formal proceedings. However, having an experienced, well-known workers’ comp attorney protect your best interests can help alleviate the stress and uncertainty of the process, and help get you the benefits your injury deserves.
If you have been injured at work, it’s important to have a qualified and experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Contact Benzo Law today at (404) 480-7000 for a free consultation. If you prefer email, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.