Know your rights under the Georgia workers' compensation program

When you are injured on the job in Georgia, you have some very specific rights that are covered by the points in the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker. This document also contains the responsibilities that you have when you are injured.

Some of the rights that you have include the right to have the medical bills related to the injury paid for. The length of time for this coverage depends on the severity of the injuries, as well as the date of the injury. If you were injured on July 1, 2013 or later, you have a maximum benefit period of 400 weeks unless the injury was catastrophic, which can mean you are entitled to lifetime benefits. Injuries prior to that day automatically qualify for lifetime benefits.

You have the right to wage replacement if you have to miss more than seven days of work because of the work-related injury. The wage replacement is two-thirds of your average weekly salary with a maximum benefit of $575 per week. Your first check would be sent out within 21 days of missed work. If you miss more than 21 days consecutively because of the injury you suffered, you would get a payment for those first seven days.

If you are injured at work, be sure that you report the accident promptly. You only have 30 days to report the injury. You may have to submit to a drug test. Failing to take one could result in a denied claim.

No matter what, it is important for you to understand what rights pertain to your situation. In some cases, you might need to seek the assistance of someone familiar with workers' compensation to ensure that you are getting the compensation you deserve.

Source: Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation, "Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker," accessed Nov. 10, 2016

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