Many people encounter conditions in their workplaces that lead to accidents that cause injuries or cause them to suffer serious illnesses, leaving them unable to work or pay for their medical costs. Fortunately, most people who are hurt at work are eligible to recover workers' compensation benefits, regardless of whether their employer's negligence contributed to their injuries. Some employers or insurers are reluctant to pay injured workers the full amount of benefits that they are owed, though, and will deny or delay their claims. Thus, it is prudent for anyone harmed while working to seek the assistance of a lawyer. Stockbridge workers' compensation lawyer Tracy Udunka is proficient at aiding injured employees in the pursuit of benefits, and if you suffered a work-related injury, she can help you fight to protect your interests.Eligibility for Workers' Compensation Benefits in Georgia
Only employees are eligible to recover workers' compensation benefits. In other words, independent contractors and volunteers are not covered under Georgia's Workers' Compensation Act (the Act). Additionally, only employers with three or more employees are required to pay benefits to injured workers. Employees seeking benefits must show that they suffered an injury or illness during the course of employment. Typically, this means that the harm must occur during normal work hours, while the employee is performing a job-related duty.
Employees who are injured in an accident caused by willful misconduct, such as fighting or horseplay, can be denied benefits. Employees hurt because they are rushing or inattentive may still recover benefits with the assistance of a workers' compensation attorney in the Stockbridge area, though. It is important to note that the Act provides the only recourse for injured employees, which means that they generally cannot pursue personal injury claims against their employers for harm suffered at work. They may be able to seek damages from third parties, however.Benefits Recoverable
An employee who is unable to work for seven or more days due to a work-related injury or illness is entitled to temporary total disability benefits, which are paid at a rate of two-thirds of his or her average weekly wage, subject to the maximum rate provided by the Act. The doctor treating the employee must verify the employee's disability and absence from work. An employee who is injured but able to work at a reduced capacity may receive temporary partial disability benefits, which are paid at a rate of two-thirds of the difference between the employee's average weekly earnings before and after the injury.
Temporary benefits generally continue until an employee has reached maximum medical improvement, subject to some exceptions. At that time, if the treating physician determines that an employee's incapacity is enduring, the employee is entitled to receive permanent disability benefits. Permanent disability benefits may be partial or total and may be paid weekly or in a lump sum. Numerous factors are evaluated to determine the amount of permanent disability benefits, including the severity of the illness or injury suffered and which body parts were affected. A Stockbridge workers' compensation attorney can advise you on the benefits that you may be entitled to receive.
In addition to income benefits, injured employees can recover medical benefits, which cover the cost of any necessary and reasonable care that is related to the employee's harm, as long as it is prescribed by an authorized treating doctor. There is a statutory cap as to how long medical benefits may endure, unless an injury is considered catastrophic or other exceptions apply.
If an employee dies because of a work injury or illness, his or her family members may be entitled to death benefits, which are paid at a rate of two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage at the time of death, subject to maximum limits. Benefits for funeral expenses are available as well.Speak to a Capable Workers' Compensation Attorney
People injured at work often incur substantial costs, but in many cases, they can recover workers' compensation benefits. If you were injured at work or contracted an occupational illness, you should speak to a lawyer regarding your options. Tracy Udunka is a capable workers' compensation lawyer in the Stockbridge area who can advise you on your rights and help you seek any benefits that you may be owed from your employer. The Law Office of Tracy Udunka represents people in workers' compensation claims in Stockbridge, Lithonia, College Park, Union City, Decatur, and throughout the Atlanta region. You can contact Ms. Udunka via the online form or at (770) 629-1383 to set up a meeting.