In Georgia, we have a “right to work” State. You can be fired for any reason that does not violate Federal law, such as being fired because of your gender, race or religion. The Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) is a Federal law. This Act says that you cannot be dismissed for your physical limitations and that accommodations must be made for you if you are disabled. Even though we have Federal laws in place, your employer might fire you after you are hurt. Your company could dismiss you by finding a reason that has nothing to do with your being injured. If this happens, your workers’ compensation benefits should not be affected by your dismissal. This is one of the many reasons that having legal representation is so important. Back to Top
2. Can I Go To A Doctor that I Choose Or Do I Have To Go To The “Company Doctor”?
Your employer should have a list of physicians posted in a common work area to provide you with information about the doctors that treat employees when they are injured. You may choose a doctor from this list. If no list is posted at your workplace, then you may go to a doctor of your choice. But, you must be very sure that there is not a list posted at your place of work or you could be held responsible for the medical bills for treatment that you received from a doctor, not on the list. Back to Top
3. What if I Don’t Like The Doctor That The Insurance Company Sends Me For Treatment?
You are able to make a one-time change from one doctor on the list to another doctor on the list. We can help you with making this change. Back to Top
4. Do I Have To Have Surgery If I Don’t Want to?
No! You never have to have surgery in order for your income benefits to be paid. The law in Georgia does not require this. Back to Top
5. How Long Will My Benefits Last?
You are eligible for weekly income benefits for up to 400 weeks from the date of injury, if your doctor says that you are unable to work at all. You are eligible for benefits for up to 350 weeks if you return to work at a lower salary because you are unable to work a full work day or because you have to take a job that pays less due to your injury. Medical treatment related to your injury may be paid over the course of your lifetime. Back to Top
6. Can My Employer Make Me Work Even Though My Doctor Says I Shouldn’t?
NO. The employer cannot cut off your benefits or make you work if you are not capable of performing your duties. Your doctor will decide when and if you can return to work and what duties you are capable of performing. Back to Top
7. How Will I Pay To Travel To All These Doctor Visits?
The employer/insurer is responsible for reimbursing you for mileage at 40 cents per mile. You will have to save your odometer readings by writing them down and making a record of your mileage. If you take a taxi or bus, you must have a dated receipt to be paid back the money you have spent for transportation. Back to Top
8. What if I Don’t Have A Car To Travel To The Doctor’s Office?
The employer/Insurer is responsible for providing transportation to your medical appointments. Back to Top
9. Should I Sign “Paperwork” From The Employer?
Never sign any document that you don’t understand, or that you are pressured to sign without having the time that you need to think about it. Even if your employer or the Insurer tells you that it will not affect your rights, you should make sure of this by consulting with your lawyer. It would be best to have an experienced lawyer look over the paperwork to make sure that you are not giving up any of your rights or limiting the benefits that are owed to you. Back to Top
10. Do I Have To Go Back To My Job When I Get Well?
Your doctor is the one who will say what physical limitations you have suffered because of your injuries and whether you can return to work. In many cases, the employer may want you to resign from your job as a condition of settlement. You should have experienced legal representation to handle this very important issue. Back to Top
11. Is My Employer Responsible for Retraining Me To Do A Different Job?
The employer/insurer does not have to pay for vocational rehabilitation unless your injuries are designated as catastrophic injuries. Back to Top
12. What Will Happen To My Health Insurance While I’m Recovering?
The type of health insurance plan that your employer provides will determine whether your employer will continue your health insurance benefits. An experienced attorney should review your plan to advise you on what your options are. Back to Top
13. Will The Insurer Pay For Help That I Need At Home While I Recover?
The employer/Insurer is responsible for paying for someone to assist you, if your doctor says that you cannot perform your household duties. Back to Top
14. Is The Insurance Company Allowed To Have Me Under Surveillance?
Yes. An insurance company can pay a private investigator to put an injured worker under surveillance to try and prove that the injured worker is faking their injury or that the injured worker is capable of physically doing their job. It is common practice for many insurers to use surveillance. Back to Top
15. Should I Speak With The Adjuster At The Insurance Company And Try To Work This Out On My Own?
No. This is never a good idea. You are not familiar with all of the laws and the ins and outs of a workers’ compensation claim. The adjuster is highly trained in this area. This means that the adjuster knows far more than you do and that you will be at a disadvantage if you discuss your claim with an insurance company representative. This is why speaking to an attorney BEFORE talking with the insurance company is always best. Back to Top
16. How Long Before My Case Is Settled?
It is always best to wait until you have fully recovered from your injury before settling your case. When a complete recovery is not possible, the cost of your future medical care will have to be determined. The Insurer may agree to pay for future medical care for a fixed period of time after settlement is reached. This is another reason that having an experienced attorney on your side is best. Back to Top
17. Will I Be Paid For The Pain And Suffering Caused By My Injury?
No. In Georgia, the law does not require that you be paid for your pain and suffering as a result of an on the job injury. Back to Top
18. How Much Is My Case Worth?
The value of your case is based on many different factors. Some of these include your earnings before you were injured, the permanent physical disability that resulted from your injury, the cost of any future medical care that you require and your ability to work in the future. Back to Top
19. What About Paying For Attorney Fees?
We do not charge fees unless we settle your case. The fees are limited to 25% of the settlement amount by Georgia law. If for some reason you decide that you want another lawyer to represent you or that you want to represent yourself after we have worked on your case, we will ask for a fee based on the amount of work that we have put into your case before you dismiss us. Back to Top
20. Once My Case Is Settled, How Long Will It Be Before I Receive The Money?
The employer/insurer must pay your settlement twenty days after you sign the settlement agreement or there is a penalty against the employer/insurer. Back to Top
21. What Happens When The Case Is Settled?
A document will be prepared and signed by all parties, including all lawyers involved in the case. This document will be reviewed by the Georgia State Board of workers’ compensation. Back to Top