Some jobs are incredibly risky and the accidents that occur can cause devastating injuries. But workplace injuries can happen no matter what you’re doing. The worst part about getting injured at work often isn’t the injury itself but the amount of time it takes to recover. As you’re getting healthier so you can work again, you’re losing out on income.
That’s why workers’ compensation exists. If you’re injured while performing the duties of your work then it makes sense that you should receive compensation for it. After all, you wouldn’t have been injured if you hadn’t been doing that particular job. But is everyone eligible for workers’ comp and does it cover every possible injury?
How Does Workers’ Comp Work?
Workers’ comp is a type of insurance claim which an employee can file once they’ve been injured at work. Most workplaces across the United States are required to have workers’ comp insurance. In Georgia, employees can access workers’ comp starting on their first day on the job.
To receive workers’ comp, an employee must be injured on the job. This can be an immediate injury, such as a broken bone or a laceration, or it can be an injury that is caused by repetitive strain. Regardless of what type of injury it is, it must be shown to have originated from your work.
An injured employee must seek medical treatment for the injury so that the injury can be confirmed by a certified doctor. The best course of action is to report the injury to your employer as soon as it has happened and then to follow up with a medical appointment. If you wait more than a month, there is a very real chance that you won’t be able to seek compensation.
Workers’ comp will help you to pay medical bills or physical therapy costs. If you are unable to work because of your injury then you can get compensation to help make up for lost wages. In cases where your injuries will prevent you from returning to work, workers’ comp can help you pay for new skill training to seek different employment.
Can I File for Workers’ Comp?
If you have been injured at work then there is a good chance that you will be able to file for workers’ compensation but this isn’t always the case. We mentioned that most businesses are required to provide workers’ comp but this doesn’t mean every business does.
If you work for a company that employs less than three people, it might not have workers’ comp coverage. Chances are that if you’re working for a company that only has two people in it, you would know whether or not you had coverage because you would be a founder. But this isn’t always the case.
Not every worker is an employee. This is especially true these days in what we call the gig economy. Freelancers, consultants, and independent contractors aren’t employees of the company despite earning their wages from the company. However, being an independent contractor doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t eligible for workers’ comp either.
With independent contractors, the amount of work they do with the company, how much control they have over their work, and other details about how they interact with the company could be considered by the court and result in them declaring you eligible.
Likewise, volunteers aren’t typically covered by workers’ compensation but there are cases in which they could be. Some companies will choose to extend their coverage or, in specific cases, the law may make exceptions. Volunteer firefighters are an exception that many states make, which makes sense when you consider how dangerous the volunteer work they are doing is.
Besides just being an employee, you need to also show that you were injured and that the injury occurred because of your work. The injury must also prevent you from being able to work. You must also apply for workers’ comp within a thirty-day timeframe.
If you can put a checkmark next to each of these requirements then you can file for workers’ comp.
How Long Does Workers’ Comp Last?
Workers’ compensation can last up to 400 weeks. This means that it can last for roughly seven and a half years. But this doesn’t mean that you’ll be provided with the same amount of benefits throughout the period.
Often people will be able to return to work at a reduced rate or with limitations and restrictions. In these cases, their workers’ compensation benefits would be reduced. If you are able to return to work without restrictions then your workers’ compensation benefits would be suspended. If you can return to work but only in a lower-paying position then you could still receive benefits, albeit reduced, for up to 350 weeks.
In cases where you suffer extreme injuries that leave you permanently disabled, you could be eligible to receive workers’ comp for the remainder of your life.
In some cases, you may believe that you are ready to return to work but find out that you actually haven’t recovered enough and need to take more time off for healing. In these cases, you will need to contact the insurance company to see about having the benefits reinstated. If you act within thirty days then it is fairly easy to have the benefits reinstated but if you wait longer then you will most likely have to go through the application process over again.
Where Can I Get Help with My Workers’ Comp Claims?
The best way to get help with your workers’ comp claim is to work with an attorney that has a focus on workers’ comp cases. There are a lot of hoops that have to be jumped through in order to get your compensation in the first place and insurance companies have financial reasons to want to reduce claims or disprove them.
That’s why an attorney is necessary to fight against the insurance companies and prove that you deserve the compensation you seek. If you’re looking for help with your claims, give Angell Law Firm a call at (770) 217-4954 for a free consultation.
Bryce is considered a highly esteemed trial lawyer and a passionate client advocate amongst his peers in the Atlanta legal community. Never afraid to go the extra mile for his clients, Bryce Angell works tirelessly to ensure that each client’s personal injury case gets the attention that it deserves.