Know the limits and requirements for workers' compensation

When you are injured at work, you should take steps immediately to let your employer know about the injury. This notification is the first thing that you have to do. Even if you don't think the injury is very serious, you should still make a report just in case issues from the injury become apparent later.

After you report the injury to your employer, you have one year to file for workers' compensation benefits. If your employer provided some treatment, known as remedial treatment, you have one year after the date of that treatment to file your claim.

The filing requirements are a bit different if your claim is based on a workplace illness. One important time limit that applies to all claims except those for mesothelioma and asbestosis, is the seven-year rule. You can't seek workers' compensation for a workplace illness more than seven years after you were exposed to the workplace hazard that caused the illness. You have to file your claim within a year of the diagnosis or the date on which you should have reasonably known you had a workplace illness.

Even the length of time that you can receive benefits has limits. With the exception of certain catastrophic injuries, you can only receive up to 400 weeks of benefits if the injury or illness occurred after July 1, 2013. Injuries and illnesses prior to this date may qualify for lifetime medical benefits.

Handling workers' compensation claims can be difficult. It is imperative that you understand the process and how to appeal any decisions that you feel are incorrect.

Source: Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation, "Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation Employee Handbook," accessed Feb. 03, 2017

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