Articles Posted in Georgia Workers’ Compensation

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In order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia, the employee must have fallen ill or gotten injured while acting in the course and scope of employment. There are also allowances when some aspect of work exacerbated an existing condition. foggymorning

Usually, if an employee who is injured in an auto accident commuting to or from work isn’t eligible for benefits (this is called the “coming-and-going rule), but there are exceptions to this too.

The recent case of Kelly v. Blue Ribbon Linen Supply, recently considered by the Idaho Supreme Court, is an interesting one that involves all these elements. Justices were asked to consider whether a commute from an independent medical exam, requested by the employer as part of an earlier work injury claim, may be considered an action that is in the course and scope of employment. Continue reading →

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Settlement of a workers’ compensation claim should only be entered into by workers who have had time to consult with an experienced attorney. The reason is settlement agreements are binding contracts, and signing off on one may prohibit any future claim for injuries, even if the injury or illness worsens. cooking

Careful review of these documents is imperative so that the affected worker isn’t cheated out of future benefits to which he or she may otherwise be rightfully entitled.

A settlement may result in:

  • No more weekly benefits.
  • Continued medical payments.
  • A lump sum damage award.

All agreements must be approved by the state workers’ compensation board. Continue reading →

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In Georgia, as in most other states, almost all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which provides coverage to employees in the event of a work-related injury. The guideline here is that all companies with three or more employees must capaintingthesetrry this coverage.

There are state-issued penalties for companies that fail to comply with this order. However, these businesses sometimes aren’t identified until a work injury happens. So where does that leave the worker?

A couple of options may be available. The first is to petition the state board to issue an order mandating the company pay for medical expenses, lost wages, attorney’s fees and other civil assessments for violation of the law. The second is to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. Although employers are typically protected from litigation via the exclusive remedy provision of workers’ compensation law, those who break the law by not carrying insurance don’t have that protection. The caveat is that worker has to be able to prove the company was negligent in causing the injury. Finally, there may be an option for third-party litigation if some other person or entity was liable. Continue reading →

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It’s not highly unusual that a 16-year-old boy would inflate his athletic ability or academic prowess at some point. However, those alleged statements by one teen in Idaho appear to have cost him a higher disability rating that could have led to a greater sum of workers’ compensation benefits. teenwork

That’s because the state hearing officer and the courts took into consideration his credibility when weighing his work injury case. He was hurt in 2004 when he slipped and fell on a patch of ice while taking the garbage outside of the fast food restaurant where he worked at the time.

More than 10 years later, in continuing to seek permanent partial disability benefits, plaintiff appealed a whole body impairment rating of 3 percent to the Idaho Supreme Court in Fairchild v. Kentucky Fried Chicken. The state high court took note of the fact that plaintiff “appeared prone to exaggeration” with his doctors, had inconsistent testimony and seemingly was untruthful regarding the reason he was fired from the chain after his injury. Continue reading →

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The surviving family of a deceased worker may still collect workers’ compensation death benefits, even though he tested positive for marijuana.marijuanabud1

An appellate court in Louisiana ruled the family was entitled to benefits after the warehouseman for the Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper company was injured and killed while working the night shift. According to records of the case, the worker had been operating a truck lift, loading various materials onto trailers.

At some point past midnight, decedent suffered fatal injuries, though no one saw what happened. Based on evidence from the autopsy, it appears the worker sustained blunt force injuries to his head and chest. Investigators suspect decedent’s injuries may have been the result of being struck by the rear of one of the trailers he was loading. Continue reading →

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The question of whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee is a critical one in many Atlanta workers’ compensation cases. truckdriver1

While employees are entitled to the protection of workers’ compensation benefits in case of a job-related injury, independent contractors are not. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous employers wrongly classify employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying for the insurance. This can leave injured employees in an extremely tough spot, and it could result in severe fines and penalties for the employer. Still, some continue to do it because they are hoping to get away with it.

In the case of Max Trucking LLC v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Corp., a dispute arose between an employer and an insurance company regarding the classification of nearly two dozen truck drivers based in Michigan. The insurance company insisted the workers were employees and increased the company’s premium. Continue reading →

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When a work-related injury prevents you from being able to work, you may be qualified for workers’ compensation. wheelchair4

However, deciding how much you receive and for how long is a complex process. There are many different types of “disability” under Georgia workers’ compensation law. Those include:

  • Temporary Total Disability
  • Temporary Partial Disability
  • Permanent Partial Disability
  • Permanent Total Disability
  • Death Benefits

Each has a different proof burden that must be met, though there is often discretion granted to doctors, the state commission and the courts in deciding which category best describes your circumstances. Continue reading →

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Permanent partial disability in workers’ compensation cases are among the most common type of work injury claims. They are essentially a lump sum or structured settlement award for an on-the-job injury resulting in a disability that is partial, but permanent.concretetruck1

This figure can include money for medial and therapy bills, medications, costs for transportation to-and-from physician appointments and partial wage loss reimbursement. It is a determination – made by doctors and the industrial commission/courts – after an injured worker has attained “maximum medical improvement.” This is the point at which medical consensus is the worker is medically stable and isn’t going to improve with further treatment. It doesn’t mean treatments are complete, just that this is probably the best the worker is going to get.

So for example, a person who suffers a back injury may ultimately be assigned a permanent partial disability rating of 20 percent. That means his capacity to work is reduced by 20 percent, and he is thus entitled to compensation for coverage of all related medical bills and costs, plus a lump sum or structured payment that covers the wage loss difference of 20 percent.

Insurance companies usually dispute permanent partial disability findings, so it can often be an arduous process that involves independent medical examinations, meetings with specialists, administrative hearings and appeals. Continue reading →

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Sometimes, the question of whether an injury arose in the course and scope of employment is simple because of where it happened or how it happened. laserbeam

Other times, the issue is more complicated. Perhaps it didn’t happen at the job site or during normal working hours or while worker was engaged in an activity that is supposed to be considered “fun.”

In these situations, where workers participate and are injured during work-related activities outside of their normal, everyday duties, it can be more challenging to secure workers’ compensation benefits. Continue reading →

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A woman whose husband was killed on-the-job in Atlanta while working for the city is seeking to challenge Georgia’s sovereign immunity and worker’s compensation exclusive remedy provisions.accident1

When her husband was killed, he was riding in the cab of a city-owned garbage truck, driven by his co-worker. Problem was, his co-worker was drunk. So drunk, in fact, his blood-alcohol level was three times over the 0.08 limit. (In commercial vehicles, the legal limit is 0.02, although the city has a zero tolerance policy.) Officials later found a bottle of vodka in the grass. Decedent had no alcohol in his system.

Her husband was thrown from the vehicle and died on impact. She too was a city employee. Her supervisors were the first to inform her of his passing.

Continue reading →