It can be a very stressful time for any worker who suffers an injury on the job, especially if the injury is severe enough to prevent him or her from working. For many of these workers, the feelings of helplessness created by the injuries are often further compounded with worries of lost paychecks or income. Thankfully, workers injured on the job in Georgia are often entitled to workers’ compensation benefits – which can help support injured workers and their families through difficult times.
However, a recently created Georgia workers’ compensation law – which became effective on July 1 – will limit the number of weeks an injured worker will be entitled to workers’ compensation medical benefits if the work injury is classified as “non-catastrophic.” Sadly, this new law may have a significant impact on injured workers in Georgia given that their health is often the main concern following an on-the-job injury.
Previously, medical benefits were provided to Georgia workers injured on the job for as long as they were reasonably required. But, given the recent law change – otherwise known as House Bill 154 – this older law will now only be applied if workers’ injuries occur on or before June 30, 2013.
For all Georgia worker injuries occurring after that date, workers can only receive medical benefits for a total of 400 weeks if the injury is not classified as catastrophic. While 400 weeks may seem like a long time, for a worker that is still unable to work, it is not nearly long enough.
Moreover, just because an injury is not classified as catastrophic does not mean that it is not serious. Indeed, insurance companies routinely attempt to avoid worker injuries from being listed as catastrophic as these injuries generally cost more money.
Consequently, it is extremely important for workers in Georgia who have suffered a career ending injury to have their injury classified as catastrophic – especially given the new law. Failure to do so may result in the injured employee losing his or her medical benefits before he or she is actually completely healed or rehabilitated.
Accordingly, if you or loved one has been injured on the job in Georgia, it is extremely important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. A skilled attorney can assist in obtaining the benefits your may be entitled to and help ensure your injury is classified appropriately from the start.