In Georgia, the workers’ compensation system offers financial benefits to injured workers without requiring them to prove negligence. This system makes it easier for covered employees to receive the compensation that they need to pay for medical bills and lost wages. The workers’ comp program covers most injuries, illnesses and medical conditions suffered within the course of employment in Georgia. If you are unsure whether workers’ comp will cover your injury, discuss your case with a workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta for free.
While you typically cannot file a workers’ compensation claim solely for an injury or condition that you had prior to taking the job, you can file a claim if your job has exacerbated a pre-existing injury. For example, if you were already experiencing back problems but an accident at work caused complete disk herniation, you could qualify for workers’ comp for the new injury even with evidence of pre-existing back pain. It can be more difficult to obtain fair compensation from an insurance company for a pre-existing injury, however.
Catastrophic or Permanent Injuries
There is no cap on the extent of a worker’s injuries or disability to qualify for workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia. All employees who are injured on the job are eligible for financial compensation – including those with catastrophic or permanent injuries, such as brain damage or paralysis. Furthermore, the amount that the worker can receive in workers’ comp benefits will match the extent of the injury. A worker may qualify for permanent total disability benefits for the rest of his or her life, for example, with a catastrophic injury. If a workplace injury or illness is fatal, the employee’s surviving loved ones can recover death benefits through workers’ comp instead.
Vision or Hearing Loss
Most long-term or permanent disabilities are covered by the workers’ compensation program in Georgia. This includes vision and hearing loss. If ear or eye injuries can be traced back to a condition of the workplace, such as explosions in an active warzone, the victim could be eligible for workers’ comp benefits for any lasting sensory damage. These benefits could help a victim pay for treatments as well as special medical devices, such as glasses or hearing aids. If the disability interferes with the victim’s ability to return to work, he or she may also qualify for lost wage benefits.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Although most workers picture traumatic injuries when they think about workers’ compensation claims, Georgia’s system also covers nontraumatic injuries, such as repetitive motion and stress-related injuries. These include carpal tunnel syndrome, back strains or sprains, neck injuries, muscle or ligament damage, and nerve damage. Jobs that require workers to make the same motions over and over again, such as on an assembly line, can cause repetitive motion injuries and lead to workers’ comp claims for victims.
Occupational Illnesses and Diseases
A workers’ compensation claim is not limited only to physical injuries. It covers illnesses and occupational diseases, as well. If you contracted an illness or disease through your workplace, such as a mesothelioma diagnosis connected to asbestos exposure at work, you may qualify for workers’ comp benefits to help you and your family pay for medical care and the inability to work. Workers’ comp in Georgia may also cover COVID-19, in some circumstances.
Emotional or Psychological Injuries
While physical injuries such as broken bones, burns, electrocutions and traumatic brain injuries are most common in Georgia’s workers’ compensation program, covered employees may also qualify for compensation for nonphysical (intangible) injuries. Some workplace environments or accidents are emotionally traumatizing for a victim, resulting in psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. If a worker receives a diagnosis for a mental health condition, he or she could be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage for related losses.