What Types of Monetary Compensation Are Available for Workers Compensation Claims?
Understanding Workers' Compensation
It's important to understand what workers' compensation is and how it works. The first thing to understand is that it is a no-fault system. This means it doesn't matter who caused your injury, if it happens during the course of work activities, your injuries should be covered.
Secondly, in the vast majority of cases, you cannot sue your boss or file a personal injury case to collect further damages. Just by taking a job that includes workers' compensation (which is most jobs), you forfeit your right to sue the employer.
Finally, workers' compensation is not in place to help you deal with the emotional trauma you might suffer unless it is tied to your physical injury. It's typically only in place to cover your physical injuries and part of your lost wages so you can get back on your feet and working again.
What Can I Collect?
There are four types of damages you can collect from workers' compensation claims and each is calculated in a different fashion.
- Weekly compensation for lost wages
- Payment of medical expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation costs (if any)
- Permanent disability benefits (if any)
What Can I Not Collect?
Under workers' compensation laws, you cannot collect compensation for emotional trauma, pain and suffering, lost relationships or consortium or other "general" damages that you might collect in a personal injury case. Workers' compensation only pays you for your specific special damages.
Weekly Compensation for Lost Wages
You will receive weekly compensation to help make up for the money you lose while unable to work. The amount you receive will depend on whether your disability is permanent or temporary, and whether it's partial or total. In Georgia, the amount you receive in weekly compensation will be 2/3 of your average weekly wage, to a maximum of $575 per week.
If you are able to return to work, but at a lower paying job, you will receive a reduced benefit, based on your new earnings for up to 350 weeks from the date you were injured. The maximum benefit in this case will be $383 per week.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Georgia uses the guidelines published by the American Medical Association, Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition to value disabilities. Thus, if you lose function in a limb or part of your body, you will receive benefits based on your doctor's evaluation of the injury and the AMA's guidelines.
Payment of Medical Expenses
Your workers' compensation will pay for all of your doctor's bills, any prescriptions, physical therapy, hospital stays and medical procedures as well as necessary travel expenses to get to your treatments. If your accident occurred before the end of June in 2013, these benefits are for life. If your injury was more recent than that, you can receive benefits for up to 400 weeks, though if the injury proves to be catastrophic, you might be entitled to lifetime medical expenses.
Vocational rehabilitation is job training. If you cannot return to your prior job, but can perform other labor which requires training, workers' compensation can pay for that training. Rehabilitation typically involves claims that are designated Catastrophic.
Workers' Compensation Benefits Attorneys
If you're facing a workers' compensation benefits case and having trouble collecting your benefits, the experienced workers' compensation attorneys at Farrar Hennesy Tanner can help. Just contact us today for a free case evaluation, and get help securing the benefits you deserve.
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