The Georgia workers’ compensation program is designed to provide temporary benefits to injured workers while they recover from an on-the-job injury. In theory, the program works well for both employees – who do not have to about proving who was at fault for their injury – and employers – who are able to limit their own costs by purchasing a workers’ compensation insurance policy.
Most Georgia employers who have three or more employees are required to obtain a workers’ compensation policy. However, some employers are able to self-insure if they obtain prior approval. Many school districts across the state have chosen to self-insure rather than obtain coverage from an outside insurance company. Self-insured employers are essentially able to handle workers’ compensation claims as they see fit. A recent news article discusses the benefits and drawbacks to this self-insurance system for Georgia school district employees who are injured on the job.
Weekly Benefits Versus Lump-Sum Disbursement
The article details the account of a 50-year-old employee of DeKalb School District who was injured when a student pushed her down a set of bleachers almost two decades ago. After her accident, the woman suffered a serious injury to her spine and has since required a spinal implant. She still suffers constant back pain and only has the use of her left leg.
Sixteen years ago, she filed a workers’ compensation claim against the school district. However, rather than settle the woman’s case, the school district has opted to provide the woman with weekly benefits. While the benefits help cover the costs of her ongoing medical care, they are also problematic because she cannot return to work without fear that her benefits will be cut off. Additionally, since her workers’ compensation claim is considered to still be open, other employers may see her as a liability, decreasing her chances of securing another position.
Hundreds of Open Workers’ Compensation Cases
In DeKalb County alone, there are over 500 active workers’ compensation cases, some going back as far as 1984. Due to the nature of the district’s policy, payment on these claims will stop if the employee stops obtaining medical care, obtains another position, or settles the case. However, in many cases, it is cheaper for the district to pay weekly benefits than it would be to settle the case for a lump sum, even if this is against the injured employee’s wishes.
Any school district employee who has been injured while on the job should consult with a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney to discuss their case and which options may be available.
Have You Been Injured on the Job?
If you or a loved one have recently been injured while on the job, you may be entitled to temporary benefits while you recover from your injuries through a workers’ compensation claim. The dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at the law firm of J. Franklin Burns, P.C. have extensive experience handling all types of Georgia workers’ compensation claims, and they know how to pursue the benefits you need and deserve. They are also prepared to appeal any determination that is against a client’s interest. Call 404-303-7770 to set up a free consultation today.