Workers' Compensation Law
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Laws
From Gainesville to Marietta, Augusta to Atlanta, members of Georgia’s workforce place themselves at risk of injuries and illness every time they step into their workplace. Whether it’s a slip and fall on a highly-polished floor, or a severe accident involving heavy machinery, the potential for life-changing injury is a part of every worker’s role.
Workers’ compensation exists to protect Georgia workers if this should happen. The state requires most employers to have workers’ compensation insurance, and has regulated the way that workers’ compensation is calculated and paid out to eligible employees. The process can be complicated, so it is important workers are aware of their rights under the workers’ compensation system.
What does Georgia’s workers’ compensation cover?
Workers’ compensation in Georgia covers injuries that a worker sustains in the course of their employment. This can include, for example, when someone is hurt in the office while carrying work papers, or when a worker injures themselves away from their workplace while on work business. It also covers an occupational disease that is directly connected with an employee’s work.
Workers’ compensation can cover:
- Medical expenses
- Disability benefits, covering a portion of lost wages after an injury or illness
- Death benefits, if an employee dies as a result of their injury or illness
- Support to retrain if an injury prevents a worker from returning to their previous role
If a workplace injury means that a worker can return to work, but not perform the same role for the same wages, disability benefits might cover some of the difference if they receive a lower wage.
There are some types of injuries that are not occupational diseases or injuries, unless they are a symptom of a separate occupational disease. These include:
- Psychiatric and psychological issues
- Heart and vascular diseases
Workers’ compensation insurance
Almost all employers in Georgia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover claims for benefits and compensation if an employee is injured or falls ill due to work.
An employer is required to specify a list of at least six physicians which employees are able to use for treatment of the workplace injury. An insurance company may also specify a doctor to undertake a medical examination of the worker’s injury.
Some categories of workers are not required to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia, including:
- Individual contractors
- Government workers
- Workers at companies with fewer than three employees within the state
What are the deadlines for making a claim for workers’ compensation in Georgia?
A worker must notify their employer of their injury within 30 days of an accident happening or of discovering their illness is connected to their work. You must then file a claim for workers’ compensation within one year of the work-related injury or illness.
Can you appeal if a claim for workers’ compensation in Georgia is turned down?
If you have a claim for workers’ compensation turned down, you can appeal the decision within 20 days. Many workers benefit from consulting an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, who can advise them on the process and represent them during the appeal hearing.