An injury at work can unexpectedly change your life and cast your future into uncertainty. Georgia, like most states, requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance helps injured workers pay the bills related to an occupational injury or illness to minimize the interruption to their lives. It is important to know what to do if you are injured at work in Atlanta, Georgia to be eligible for benefits.
Report the Accident
Report your accident and injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible. Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws require you to promptly notify your boss of any occupational injuries or illnesses. The law gives you no more than 30 days to do so. If you wait too long, you may give up your right to file a workers’ comp claim in Atlanta.
When reporting your workplace accident, do not admit fault for your injury, even if you believe you contributed to the incident. Stick to the facts as you recall them and ask your employer to create an official accident report. Write down the name of the floor manager or supervisor you spoke to about your accident for your own records.
If you can, collect evidence while you are still at the scene of your workplace accident. Although you do not need evidence of fault for a workers’ compensation claim, it can be smart to gather it in case you file a personal injury lawsuit later. If you believe someone else caused or contributed to your accident, such as your employer for failing to maintain a safe workplace, evidence can help you build a claim. Evidence may include:
- Photographs of the location of the accident
- Any surveillance video footage that shows the accident
- Eyewitness statements and accounts
- Copies of accident reports
- Employer safety compliance records
- Maintenance and inspection reports
- Copies of medical records
- Proof of your losses, such as pay stubs
If you are too injured to collect evidence right away, return to your workplace as soon as possible to do so. You may also be able to enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to collect evidence. In addition, you have the right to hire an attorney to investigate your workplace for signs and evidence of fault on your behalf.
Get Medical Care
Go to a hospital in Atlanta right away for professional care. If your injuries constitute an emergency, you have the right to go to any hospital that you choose. Otherwise, you may have to select a doctor from your employer’s list of approved physicians. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and orders exactly. This is important if you wish to have a valid insurance claim.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation in Georgia could reimburse you for your medical expenses, partial lost wages, disability costs and more. When you are ready to file a workers’ compensation claim, work with your employer to fill out the required paperwork with a description of your accident and injuries. Your employer should provide Form WC-14 for you to fill out, or you can download and print it out yourself. In Georgia, you have one year from the date of your accident to file this paperwork to initiate a claim.
Consult With an Attorney
Collecting fair workers’ compensation benefits can be difficult as an injured employee in Atlanta. It is important to consult with an attorney about your rights and legal options before accepting a settlement or signing anything from an insurance company. An attorney may be able to negotiate for greater financial compensation on your behalf, even if this requires filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer or another party for negligence. Discuss your case in more detail with an Atlanta workplace injury attorney today.