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Injured on the Job? Know Your Rights!

By Evan L. Kaine

Day in and day out we find ourselves hitting the alarm clock with annoyance as we want to avoid the inevitable work week. Whether it is the case of the Mondays or encountering a mid-week exhaustion point, we know that in order to make ends meet we have to go to work. However, an even greater avoidance should be something we may not even think about—a work related injury.

Many of us take for granted the fact we haven’t experienced an injury on the job. Unfortunately, not all of us are that lucky to dodge an incident that sidelines us from bringing home the bacon. In fact, did you know that 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in 2012 by private industry employers, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics? It’s true and sad. Some of us may not even fully understand our rights when enduring an injury on the job. Therefore, take some time and understand some key points regarding work related injuries.

In the state of Georgia, the workers’ compensation guidelines are clear and concise. Before starting employment, it is beneficial to take a quick peek as to what it states. Here are some examples of the rights of employees (O.C.G.A. § 34-9-81.1).

1. If you are injured on the job, you may receive medical, rehabilitation and income benefits. These benefits are provided to help you return to work. Your dependents may also receive benefits if you die as a result of a job related injury.

2. Your employer is required to post a list of at least six doctors or the name of the certified Workers’ Compensation Managed Care Organization (WC/MCO) which provides medical care. You may choose a doctor from the list and make one change to another doctor on the list without the permission of your employer. However, in an emergency, you may get temporary medical care from any doctor until the emergency is over; then you must get treatment from a doctor on the posted list.

3. Your authorized doctor bills, hospital bills, rehabilitation in some cases, physical therapy, prescriptions and necessary travel expenses will be paid if injury was caused by an accident on the job.

4. You are entitled to weekly income benefits if you have more than seven days of lost time due to an injury. Your first check should be mailed to you within 21 days after the first day you missed work. If you are out more than 21 consecutive days due to your injury, you will be paid for the first week.

5. Accidents are classified as being either catastrophic or non-catastrophic. Catastrophic injuries are those involving amputations, severe paralysis, severe head injuries, severe burns, blindness, or of a nature and severity that prevents the employee from being able to perform his or her prior work and any work available in substantial numbers within the national economy. In catastrophic cases, you are entitled to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to the maximum allowed under the law for a job related injury for as long as you are unable to return to work. You are also entitled to receive medical and vocational rehabilitation benefits to help in recovering from your injury.

As you can see, there are benefits and ways you can receive assistance if you have been injured on the job. We want you to understand and know that if you have been injured at your place of work, we are here to represent and help. Don’t let your road to recovery be harder than it needs to be!

For more information about this article, contact Kaine Law.

Published March 24, 2015
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