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The Georgia workers’ compensation program is supposed to provide financial support to residents as they recover from a workplace injury or illness. Yet, disputes about workers’ compensation claims and benefits can complicate an injured worker’s recovery.
A serious workplace injury or illness may leave you incapacitated for weeks or months. You may spend time in a hospital or rehabilitation center and require physical therapy once you’re home. You shouldn’t have to worry about paying medical bills, putting food on the table or arguing with insurance companies about workers’ compensation claims.
The Atlanta workplace accident lawyers at Bushnell & Drye, LLC can help you obtain your full workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury or illness. For a free evaluation of your workers’ compensation claim, please contact us online, or call us in Georgia at (404) 869-1201. We have more than 20 years of experience successfully fighting for the rights of individuals injured in the course of their employment.
How Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Affect Your Recovery
One of the most important steps to recovery after a workplace accident is choosing a doctor. You have a legal right to be treated by the doctor of your choice if he or she accepts workers’ compensation insurance.
Some injured workers mistakenly assume they can see their employer’s designated doctor. If your employer has a preferred provider plan, you will need to go to the employer’s doctor for your initial evaluation. Then you may choose the doctor who will oversee your recovery and decide when you are well enough to return to work.
The length of your recovery from a workplace injury and your time off work will depend on the type of workplace injury you have. Many injuries may require extensive physical therapy, such as:
- Neck and back injuries
- Foot and ankle injuries
- Knee, shoulder and elbow injuries
Some injuries require physical therapy and vocational re-training (another workers’ compensation benefit) if you are unable to return to your former duties, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Crushing injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
If your work-related injury results in a permanent loss of function, scarring or disfigurement, you may be entitled to compensation. Some injuries may be less visible but are no less serious, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Psychiatric injuries
- Closed head injuries.
Obtaining the full benefits for these types of workplace injuries may require a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to assert your legal rights and present medical evidence to support your claim.
How Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Paid
If the workers’ compensation insurer accepts your claim, you should start receiving checks within three to four weeks after your workplace injury or illness. If the insurer denies your claim, the insurer must inform you of the reason for the denial and your right to appeal.
In Georgia, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation serves as a court to resolve disputed workers’ compensation claims. If the insurer denies your claim or you do not receive all the benefits you should, a judge at the State Board of Workers’ Compensation will hear your appeal. The judge’s decision can be appealed further to a review board.
Once approved, workers’ compensation claims in Georgia include an oversight process. This is called “utilization review.” The goal is to monitor treatment for injured and ill employees and to determine whether the treatment is medically necessary and effective. The state also publishes guidelines for doctors, insurers and utilization review agents. These guidelines describe what falls within the scope of acceptable medical treatment.
Utilization review is used to decide whether the insurer will pay for treatment your doctor recommends. You and your doctor may appeal if the insurance carrier declines to pay for your treatment based on a utilization review determination. In some cases, the insurance carrier may negotiate what it pays.
Your compensation after a workplace injury is based on your degree of incapacity. You may receive one or a combination of the following:
- Temporary total incapacity benefits
- Partial incapacity benefits
- Permanent and total incapacity benefits
- Permanent loss of function and disfigurement benefits
- Medical benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
How Our Atlanta Workplace Accident Lawyers Can Help
Workers’ compensation law is complex. It’s important to have a knowledgeable workplace injury attorney advocating for your interests during this legal process. We can help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve after a workplace injury. For instance, there are ways to negotiate the payment of a costly surgery in the utilization review process, and a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer at Bushnell & Drye, LLC can assist you in that manner.
Keep in mind: When you hire a workers’ compensation attorney because you have been denied benefits, Georgia workers’ compensation law states that the workers’ compensation insurer will pay the majority of your attorneys’ fees.
While many Georgia lawyers practice several areas of law, the workplace injury lawyers at Bushnell & Drye, LLC in Atlanta concentrate exclusively in the area of workers’ compensation. Our experienced workplace accident attorneys have more than 20 years of successful experience in all types of workers’ compensation cases — and we can help you.
For a free, no-obligation evaluation of your claim, please call the workers’ compensation lawyers at Bushnell & Drye, LLC at (404) 869-1201, or contact us online.
We are ready to answer workplace injury questions from workers across Georgia, including but not limited to those in Atlanta, Roswell, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, and Duluth.