Articles Tagged with Atlanta work injury lawyer

The Georgia Supreme Court recently held that a bus driver’s second job during the summer should be counted as part of her “average weekly wage” in ascertaining how much she should receive in workers’ compensation benefits for an injury suffered in a fall. 

In Fulton County Board of Education et al. v. Thomas, the bus driver’s employer never contested that she’d been hurt at work or that the injury was compensable. The issue was how much she should be paid.

In Georgia, the average weekly wage is defined in OCGA 34-9-260, and is properly calculated by looking at what the employee earned in the 13 weeks immediately prior to the injury – whether for the same or another employer – and then dividing that figure by 13. If the employee hasn’t worked the whole 13 weeks, benefits can be determined by looking at the wages of a similar employee in the same employment who worked substantially the whole of those 13 weeks. If neither of those methods is feasible, the full-time weekly wage can be used. Other provisions for more detailed calculations are contained in the statute as well. Continue reading

In personal injury litigation, when a lawsuit is settled, that’s it. There is no going back to ask the same defendant for more money – even if your injuries are worse or lasted longer than you expected.

But it’s different with workers’ compensation claims, which can be re-opened when an employee disability has increased or recurred.

Often the first thing we need to explore is whether the case was settled via a stipulation and award or a compromise and release. If it was a stipulation and award, claims can often be reopened. However, with a compromise and release, employers are usually released from any future claims for the same incident. The only exception, usually, is if the settlement was somehow procured by fraud. Continue reading

Many employers require workers to immediately report on-the-job injuries – no matter how small – as part of their company policy. Some take that provision too far and it borders on retaliation when workers do report the injury.

But O.C.G.A. 34-9-81.1 does require that employees report the accident immediately – but no later than 30 days after the accident – to the employer, employer’s representative, foreman or immediate supervisor. The statute specifically states that failure to do so could result in the loss of benefits.

There may be some allowances for instances in which a worker didn’t immediately realize he or she was injured or did not reasonably know the cause of the injury. But in general, as soon as you know you have suffered a work injury, you must report it.  Continue reading

There are some work injuries where one knows immediately the effects are serious and lasting. However, there are other situations in which the injury may well be serious, but the worker may not instantly know it’s disabling.

That’s why it’s important to report each and every injury and to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney, in the event it becomes necessary to file a claim for medical benefits and wage loss.

In the recent case of Baker v. Bridgestone, an employer sought to cut medical benefits to an injured worker for whom it had covered after a back injury. The problem was, he hadn’t formally filed a workers’ compensation claim, and once the two-year statute of limitations for such claims was up, the employer asserted it would no longer cover the worker’s medical benefits. It had never up to that point covered lost wages when he had to miss work for the injury.  Continue reading

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 carry 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

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.

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

A military veteran is slated to receive $15.2 million in damages for injuries he sustained when his foot was crushed by a forklift at an event center in Illinois.

The 33-year-old from Wisconsin, who previously served two tours in Iraq and served as a staff sergeant in the National Guard, lost his heel and had to endure seven surgeries after the work accident. The injury occurred while crews were working to tear down the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.

An investigation by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration revealed the company responsible for setting up the show did not make certain the forklift driver who struck plaintiff was trained and certified, nor did the company hire a spotter. Both of these things – which are required by law – would have prevented this accident. Continue reading