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Workplace Injury/Workers’ Compensation

Glass & Robson > Workplace Injury/Workers’ Compensation

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly three million workers are hurt or killed every year throughout the United States as a result of a workplace accident. Absent special circumstances, an injured worker cannot file suit directly against their employer in civil court for workplace injuries resulting from their job duties.  In most cases, when a worker suffers a workplace injury, the workers’ compensation system provides the exclusive remedy for pursuing a claim against the employer.

The attorneys at Glass & Robson can help you and your loved ones understand your options for receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws.  Our firm will also assist you and your family in pursuing a case against all third-parties who may be responsible for or who contributed to your workplace injury or a loved one’s death.

When Can Victims Receive Compensation for a Workplace Injury?

Under Georgia law, a person who suffers a workplace injury or is killed while acting in the course and scope of their employment is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  If a person suffers a workplace injury that results in their death, the victim’s family may be entitled to survivor benefits.  Virtually any workplace injury caused by the employee’s work activities is covered under the workers’ compensation system, including:

  • Repetitive-use injuries (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Head injuries and brain trauma
  • Electrocution and burn injuries
  • Toxic inhalation and exposure
  • Joint injuries (e.g., shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle)
  • Injuries to the spine (e.g., neck and lower back)
  • Paralysis or death

In fact, even if a worker has a pre-existing medical condition that is aggravated or made worse by their employment, the worker may still be entitled to receive benefits under the workers’ compensation system.  Unlike a negligence case, an injured worker who files a workers’ compensation claim is not required to prove that the employer was negligent or did something to cause the worker’s injury.  Instead, a worker must show only that the injury occurred while the worker was on the job and performing an activity in furtherance of the employer’s business (as opposed to a personal errand or activity outside the scope of their job duties).  So long as a person’s workplace injury or death was caused by a workplace accident, the injured worker (or their family) is entitled to benefits.

What Types of Compensation are Available in Workplace Injury/Workers’ Compensation Cases?

While the laws in Georgia are clear about what an injured worker is entitled to receive, many employers and their insurance company’s refuse to follow the law by paying injured workers what they are due.  Generally speaking, the workers’ compensation system in Georgia consists of four items of damages:

  • Medical expenses, including transportation and translation services
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent disability
  • Survivor benefits (if the injured worker is killed)

So long as an injured worker’s injuries were caused by their employment, the injured worker’s employer must pay 100% of the injured workers’ medical expenses for treatment related to the workplace injuries.  In addition to paying actual medical expenses, the employer must pay for the injured workers’ transportation costs to and from doctor’s visits as well as any translation services, if needed.

An injured worker who cannot work due to a workplace injury may also be entitled to wage benefits for the time they miss on account of their injury.  Such benefits are known as Temporary Total Disability benefits (“TTD”) and are based on a percentage of the injured worker’s average earnings for the thirteen weeks prior to the workplace injury.  If the employee did not work for thirteen weeks prior to their workplace injury, a similar employee’s average earnings may be used.  For all workplace injuries on or after July 1, 2016, TTD benefits are capped at $575.00 per week for a maximum of 400 weeks.

If an injured worker returns to work but at a reduced hourly rate or with a reduced work schedule, the workers’ compensation system requires the employer to provide the injured worker with supplemental wage benefits to partially offset the lost income.  These benefits are known as Temporary Partial Disability benefits (“TPD”).  For all workplace injuries on or after July 1, 2016, TPD benefits are capped at $383.00 per week for a maximum of 350 weeks.

When an injured worker loses a body part or suffers a permanent workplace injury to one, Georgia law also provides the injured worker with compensation for the total or partial loss of use of that body part.  Such benefits are known as Permanent Partial Disability benefits (“PPD).  To calculate the degree of impairment, the injured workers’ authorized treating physician (“ATP”) will calculate a rating using the American Medical Association’s Guides® to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.  The maximum PPD benefit for workplace injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2016, is $575.00 per week.  The maximum number of weeks an injured person may received PPD benefits is set by the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation and uses a formula based on the specific body part that is lost or damaged and the percentage of impairment assigned by the ATP.

Where an injured worker is killed in a workplace accident, the workers’ compensation system requires an employer to pay burial costs up to $7,500.00.  If there is a surviving spouse and/or surviving children, the employer may also be responsible for paying survivor benefits, which is a percentage of the workers’ wages prior to death.  For all deaths occurring on or after July 1, 2016, the maximum death benefit is $575.00 per week though the duration of payment can vary.

How can an Atlanta Workplace Injury Attorney Help?

In many cases, another individual or business may be responsible for a workplace injury or death.  When a worker is injured or killed by the negligence of a third-party, the injured worker or their family may pursue a separate claim for negligence or wrongful death in addition to seeking benefits under the workers’ compensation system.  Unlike a workers’ compensation claim where the types of damages are limited and do not include damages for pain and suffering, the compensation available in a third-party negligence or wrongful death claim is significantly broader where a third-party is partially or totally responsible for a workers’ injury or death.  There are many situations where the victim of a workplace injury can pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim under Georgia law.  Some examples include:

  • Tool and equipment malfunctions and failures
  • Car accidents while on the job
  • Injuries and illnesses caused by exposure to toxic chemicals and substances
  • Forklift injuries
  • Injuries caused by third-parties while loading and unloading equipment
  • Explosions caused by faulty equipment
  • Third-party criminal attacks while making deliveries
  • Slip-and-fall injuries caused by negligently maintained premises

The attorneys at Glass & Robson assist workplace injury victims and their families in identifying responsible third-parties who may have contributed to the victim’s workplace injury or death.  Our firm is well-equipped to pursue full justice against all responsible third-parties to recover lost wages and lost earning potential, necessary expenses including medical bills and medical equipment, damages for physical pain, disfigurement, and emotional distress, funeral and burial costs, and damages for the loss of a loved one’s companionship.

Consulting with an attorney at the outset of your case is essential to protecting your rights.  Every case has various time deadlines that apply to filing a claim, and failing to comply with mandatory deadlines can result in a legitimate case being time-barred by an applicable statute of limitations or statute of repose.  Therefore, it is crucial to speak with one of our firm’s attorneys as soon as possible to ensure compliance with these mandatory deadlines and to make sure you get your day in court.

Our firm works on a straight contingency, meaning we do not charge attorneys’ fees or expenses unless you are compensated for your losses.  In some cases, our attorneys have successfully gotten the defendants to pay our clients’ legal fees and expenses.

The lawyers in our firm have faced some of the biggest corporations and insurance companies in the country fighting on behalf of our clients for justice.  We are ready to help you get the money you need to move forward after you or someone you love has been harmed or killed in a workplace accident.  Please give us a call at (404) 751-4702 or  contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Contact us to see how we can help you.