The “Big Three” Questions from Injured Workers
When we meet clients who have been injured on the job we get lots of questions. After all that’s why they are calling a Workers’ Compensation attorney. Areas of concern will vary based on the type of injury (back injury, repetitive motion injury, brain injury, etc.) and the work scenario. However, there are three fundamental questions we get nearly every day from injured workers—and they are all related to the initial filing of the Workers’ Compensation insurance claim. Below are the quick answers.
Please note that the information below is general information only and is not intended to be legal advice on any specific claim. Please call us if you’d like to get answers specific to your situation.
1. I got hurt at work but never told anyone. Is it too late to file a Workers’ Comp claim?
In Georgia, the deadline for filing a Workers’ Comp claim is not always straightforward and depends on several factors. Generally, you have one year from the date of your work accident to make a Workers’ Compensation claim. However, you may have more time if the workers’ compensation insurer has paid for some of your medical care or sent you a check. It is important to consult with an experienced Workers’ Comp attorney to determine if you still have time to file a claim.
2. How do I report a work injury to my employer?
Under Georgia Workers’ Compensation law, employees are required to notify their employers of workplace accidents with thirty days of the accident. You should follow any procedures your employer has set forth. However, if your employer has not explained how to report an injury or has no reporting policy in place, you do not have to follow a formal process to report a work injury. Injuries can be reported verbally. You simply need to tell a supervisor that you have had an accident or that you are having pain from performance of the work duties. Georgia courts have held that an injured employee does not have to specify that he or she wants to file a Workers’ Compensation claim when giving their employer notice of a work injury. It is enough to report pain from the job duties or a from a work accident. It is important to remember that not all work injuries come from specific accidents, like falls. Some injuries happen over time from performing heavy or repetitive work.
Insurance companies will often cite delays in reporting as an excuse to deny claims. But an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney can defeat that tactic with the right evidence—even if the work-related accident happened weeks or even months before you filed a claim.
We have helped many clients who were told by their employer or an insurer that it was “too late” to file a claim. If you’re in this situation you should get legal representation immediately—before it really is too late.
3. I reported my work injury, but no one has talked to me about it since then. What now?
When an employee reports a work injury, his or her employer is supposed to report the injury to its Workers’ Comp insurer. The employer must also show the employee its “panel of physicians”. The “panel” is a list of authorized doctors that an employee can see for a work-related injury. The panel should be posted in clear view at the employment site. Unfortunately, many employers do not follow these requirements—either because they don’t know about them or they want to discourage claims. If your employer does not have a posted panel or is refusing to take action to help you get treatment for your injury, it may be time to get Workers’ Compensation attorney involved.
If you’ve been seriously injured while performing your work duties, it can be overwhelming trying to deal with your employer or the insurance company. Don’t be discouraged by red tape and reporting procedures. The Workers’ Comp attorneys at Stow Garvin & Glenn can make sure your claim is reported properly and help you obtain the medical and financial benefits you are owed.
So if your work injury is being ignored, call us today. We are happy to provide a FREE consultation. (770) 534-5265.
Oliver Ladd, Attorney at Law