When a worker suffers an injury at work, he or she may likely have many concerns regarding the effects that the injury will have on his or her life. In addition to the possible stress and anxiety about paying for the necessary medical treatments and bills and whether a full recovery is possible, employees may also wonder how they will support their families if they were the primary wage earners in the households.
Many workplace injuries can fundamentally change workers’ abilities to perform their jobs, making it difficult or impossible to return to their previous positions. Although this is almost always the case with traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, it can be true of other conditions as well. For instance, if a job requires a worker to be in solid physical shape to carry or lift items and he or she sustains a shoulder, hip, back or neck injury, returning to work can be problematic. Similarly, if your job requires you to use a computer on a daily basis, developing carpal tunnel could signify the end of your career.
Workplace Accidents and Returning to Your Job
Employers in Georgia are legally obligated to provide workers with compensation for work-related injuries through the state’s workers’ compensation system. This type of insurance covers not only medical costs and expenses but also disability benefits for employees are unable to immediately return to work as a result of their injuries or complications.
If an employee needs to miss work due to an injury, he or she may be entitled to receive lost wages benefits as soon as he or she has missed seven days of work. Additionally, if a worker will be unable to return to work for several weeks or months, he or she may receive temporary or permanent disability benefits.
It is important to note that employees should not return to work after sustaining a job-related injury unless they are fully cleared by their doctors to do so. Additionally, if a healthcare provider restricts work duties, the employer is legally obligated to accommodate you in a lighter-duty position or they may be held responsible for compensating you until a position in which you can work becomes available.
What if You Cannot Return to Work?
If a worker is unable to return to his or her place of employment for a limited period of time, he or she may be entitled to receive temporary disability benefits by pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. Although every situation is different, disability benefits can typically last for up to 400 weeks. However, workers who have suffered from catastrophic or permanent injuries and are unable to return to work at all may be entitled to receive lifetime disability benefits.
In Georgia, the disability benefits to which an employee may be entitled following a work-related injury may cover partial or total disability. A worker may receive partial disability benefits if he or she can perform some job functions but not the job that he or she may have previously held. The amount of partial disability benefits equal to a specific percentage of the amount of lost income such as the difference between a worker’s current earning potential and his or her prior wages.
Total disability benefits may be available if a worker is unable to return to his or her job at all following a severe or completely debilitating injury. These benefits are typically equal to two-thirds of an employee’s previous weekly wage, and he or she may be entitled to receive a maximum of $500 per week in total disability benefits.
Seeking Legal Representation from a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in GA
Due to the complexity of workers’ compensation cases, it is important to seek legal counsel from an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. At Van Sant Law, we understand how frustrating it can be if an injury makes it difficult to return to work right way, particularly if you require that income to take care of yourself and your family. Our workers’ compensation attorneys will fight for your legal rights to ensure that you are paid the full workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled. Fill out our online contact form, or call us today at (404) 991-5950 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.