It is important to remember that in a Workers’ Compensation Case that you will be dealing with insurance companies that are in the business of paying you as little as possible for your injuries. Therefore, it is important that you have an advocate on your side so you can focus on what is most important and that is getting well again and returning to how you were before you were injured on the job.
What Causes Workplace Injuries?
Injuries can happen on the job for a number of different reasons including, but not limited to, falling items or objects, mechanical equipment failure, improper use/placement of support devices (ladders, scaffolds, etc.), slip and fall injuries, and office and professional on the job injuries. Although there may be a number of safety precautions and training put into place, there can be accidents on the job such as equipment accidents, vehicle accidents including car accidents on the job, crane accidents, construction accidents of many varieties such as scaffolding accidents, and, in the worst-case scenario, wrongful death and fatal accidents on the job.
If you suffer an injury, illness, or death due to an on the job accident, then you are most likely entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits. It is important to note, however, that the laws are very complicated and what might seem like an obvious on the job injury or accident in which you should be entitled to compensation, may be met with resistance when you begin to seek benefits. Therefore, it is imperative that you have a strong and experienced advocate in your corner to fight for you every step of the way.
If you suffer an Occupational Related Disease, then you may be able to be compensated if your employment caused the disease. In other words, it cannot be a disease that is a disease in life that we may all be exposed to regardless of our occupation such as diabetes, degenerative bone or joint diseases, heart conditions or musculoskeletal disorders.
The disease must be specific to and caused by your occupation to be considered an Occupational Related Disease that you would be compensated by law such as nerve damage (ulnar neuropathy, etc.), overexertion, or exposure to toxic substances or chemical inhalation or exposure on the job that results in a disease such as leukemia, mesothelioma and the like.
What Injuries Are Covered?
If you reinjure an already pre-existing condition or injury while on the job, then there are limits on what you may be compensated for in these events. If you aggravate an on the job injury, then you may be entitled to compensation if the aggravation is the cause of a disability or further injury. If, however, your condition is resolved and you return to the condition that you were in before the injury, then you will no longer be entitled to compensation.
If you have a repetitive motion or a trauma injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), then you may be compensated if the injury is the result of your employment.
If you suffer from a catastrophic injury on the job, then you will be entitled to Total Disability Benefits for as long as you are not able to work. When you are able to return to work, however, then your benefits will stop. If, however, you are able to return to work but in a lower paying position, then you will receive Total Partial Disability Benefits. After your Total Partial Disability Benefits have been paid in accordance with the law, then you will start to receive Permanent Partial Disability Benefits.
Catastrophic injuries are injuries that are extremely severe injuries that include, but are not limited to, injuries such as the loss of use of a body part, loss of a limb by amputation, loss of vision, loss of hearing, scarring, permanent disfigurement, and severe burns (flame or chemical). Any injury that is not deemed to be catastrophic is deemed non-catastrophic.
Non-catastrophic injuries may include, but are limited to, back injuries (strains, sprains, herniated discs, and the like), broken bones, bone fractures, closed-head injuries (post-concussion syndrome, etc.), cuts, lacerations, electrocutions, ligament tears, psychological injuries, shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff tears and other shoulder injuries, strains, sprains, tendon tears, and the like.
It is important to note that it is not always obvious what is a catastrophic injury and what is a non-catastrophic injury. Some injuries, such as internal injuries that fail to heal pulmonary and respiratory injuries that result in health issues that could even be terminal. It is important to have a strong lawyer to advocate for your position when the insurance company claims that you have a non-catastrophic injury or a non-work related injury when you do, in fact, have a catastrophic or work related injury.
For example, and this may come as a surprise, but under Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law, heart attacks and strokes are, generally, not considered compensable injuries under workers’ compensation even if they happen on the job. In order for a heart attack or a stroke to fall into the category of an injury covered by workers’ compensation, it must be shown by a preponderance of the evidence, in other words, more likely than not, that the heart attack or stroke was caused by the job in the normal course of doing that job. This can be shown by medical evidence and other evidence as well, but this is not an easy burden for the employee to meet in a workers’ compensation case, and this is where the assistance of legal counsel is of great benefit, if not irreplaceable in some cases.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, we are experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyers who have assisted hundreds, if not thousands, of employees seek the benefits that they deserve for on the job injuries in Georgia. Since many of our attorneys began their legal careers working for the same insurance companies that are trying to avoid paying you your Workers’ Compensation Benefits, we know the tricks of the trade and are able to aggressively seek the compensation that you deserve.
You may contact us anytime for your Free Legal, No Obligation, Consultation by phone at 770-865-8654, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on our contact form on our website. We are here to assist you, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!