If you get injured at work or develop a work-related illness, you can file for Georgia workers’ compensation benefits. However, mistakes are easy to make in the workers’ comp process, and there are some things that you should do and some things that you should not do if you want to get your benefits. The best way to avoid pitfalls and get all the benefits you need is to talk to an experienced Georgia workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible.
Below are some important dos and don’ts.
DO report your injury to your employer
You must do this within 30 days of the injury. Sometimes it takes time for people to realize that their injury or illness is work-related. In any case, report your injury or illness as soon as possible to your employer. Also, do not downplay your injury or say that maybe it was due to something other than work. Just report the injury or illness to your employer and make it clear that the injury or illness is work-related.
DO NOT delay medical attention
When you get injured at work or start to believe that your gradual injury or illness is work-related, you should seek medical attention right away. This is important for your health, but it is also important for creating a medical record of your injury for the purpose of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Missing medical evidence is a common mistake in workers’ comp claims. Getting proper medical care creates the record you will need for your claim.
Note: If you are not happy with your workers’ compensation doctor, you are entitled to a one-time change of medical providers on your employer’s list of workers’ compensation doctors. Just going to an Occupational Clinic on the list is fine, but when you want to change to an Orthopedic Specialist, before choosing which one to go to on the list, it is always good to consult with a lawyer knowledgeable of the doctors in your area. Your selection of a treating Orthopedist can be the most important move in your case. You don’t want a doctor who is biased in favor of employers. You want an unbiased doctor who will treat you fairly and not be a pawn for your employer or their insurance company. So reach out to an attorney who might provide some insight about the doctors on the list. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you choose a doctor with the necessary skills and expertise to treat your specific injury.
DO file your claim within one year
To avoid losing your right to workers’ compensation benefits, you should file your claim within one year of the date of injury. If you don’t, your workers’ comp coverage could be denied. In fact, you should file your claim as soon as possible. Once you have filed a WC-14, you do not have to worry about the statute of limitations expiring.
DO NOT give a statement to the insurance company without an attorney to represent you
This is important. If you give a statement to the insurance company without an attorney’s counsel, your words could be used against you, likely resulting in fewer benefits or a denied claim. Insurance adjusters’ questions are designed to get you to say the wrong thing or suggest that the injury is not work-related or not as bad as it really is. Talk to a workers’ comp attorney before giving a statement to the workers’ comp insurance company.
To learn more about steps you should take after a work injury or illness, see our Georgia Workers’ Comp FAQ.