If you suffer an injury or illness on the job in Georgia, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits to help you pay for your related losses. A workers’ comp settlement can offer lost wage replacement, medical bill payment, disability pay, death benefits and other forms of financial compensation for injured workers. As the recipient of a workers’ compensation settlement in Georgia, you need to know how long these benefits will last. This will allow you and your family to plan for the future.
Workers’ compensation payments are not permanent in Georgia. Even if a workplace injury gives you or a loved one an irreversible disability, workers’ comp payments will eventually run out. In general, the maximum amount of time that a worker in Georgia can receive workers’ compensation benefits is 400 weeks. However, if you’ve suffered an injury that is catastrophic and makes it impossible for you to ever return to work, you may qualify for weekly lost wage and disability benefits for life through Georgia’s workers’ comp system.
Many workers receive benefits for a much shorter amount of time, however, such as several weeks, to pay for their lost wages and bills only while they recover. An employee in Georgia is entitled to wage replacement benefits starting within 21 days of the first day that he or she missed work. A worker will only be entitled to receive weekly lost wage benefits if the worker cannot return to work after seven days. Wage replacement benefits through workers’ comp typically amount to two-thirds of the worker’s average wage, up to a weekly maximum.
The number of weeks that an injured worker can get paid through workers’ compensation in Georgia corresponds with the severity of the worker’s injury or illness. If a worker suffered an amputated limb in a machinery accident, for example, he or she will receive workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages for a longer amount of time than a worker with a more minor injury, such as a laceration. The State Workers’ Compensation Board uses an injury chart along with the claimant’s medical records to determine a fair amount of time.
The length of time that you will receive workers’ compensation benefits after an injury or illness in Georgia will also depend on whether you are eligible for full or partial disability benefits. For most claimants, the maximum amount of time that they can receive workers’ compensation benefits is reduced from 400 weeks to 350 weeks for a partial injury that allows the worker to go back to work at a lower-paying job.
Note that an insurance company can stop your benefits at any time if an authorized physician clears you to return to work without restrictions. If you go back to your job or get a new job before a doctor clears you, this could also stop your workers’ compensation benefits early. If your employer terminates your employment while you are still healing from an injury, however, this will not interrupt your workers’ comp payments. The insurance company legally must continue to pay you until the end of your benefits window.
Even if your workers’ compensation benefits run out, you may be entitled to financial compensation and assistance through other outlets. If you have a disability from an occupational injury or illness, for example, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. These are federal government programs that can help people with disabilities replace the wages that they are unable to earn.
If someone’s wrongful act caused your injury at work, you may also qualify for greater financial benefits through a personal injury lawsuit. A successful lawsuit could pay you and your family for a lifetime of lost wages, medical bills, pain suffering, and other losses for a permanent injury, for example. Contact an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia today for information about your specific workers’ compensation case.
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