Injured at Work in Georgia – When Should You Hire an Attorney?
Hint:Much Sooner Than You Think!
Bottom-Line Up Front: If you have been injured at work, it is almost always better to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney IMMEDIATELY to ensure you receive the medical care and income benefits you are entitled to receive from the very beginning.
As a general rule, if you wait until there are problems with your medical care or until your income benefits are suddenly cut off, it may be too late. At that point, your only recourse may be to hire an attorney and request a hearing that could take a year to resolve the issue. During that year you will likely be cut off and wait for a judge to decide whether or not to order the medical care/income benefits. It is so much easier if you have an attorney on your side from the start, keeping your case “on track” rather than trying to “fix” your case once it has gone “off the tracks” completely.
Workers’ Comp Law – It’s all in the Statute – (O.C.G.A. §§ 34-9-1 thru 34-9-432)
If you are injured at work, every benefit you are entitled to receive due to your work injury is defined in the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Statute…specifically Chapter 9 of Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia. This statute defines timelines for filing a workers’ compensation claim, administrative process for resolving disagreements with the insurance company, amount and type of income benefits, medical benefits and so much more than we can cover in one blog post.
Key Players in Workers’ Compensation
You – (The Injured Worker/Employee) – You are the most important person in your Workers’ Comp case. While you may not know the “Rules of Worker’s Comp”, you are the focus of everything in the statute and an attorney only serves to stand by your side and advise you every step of the way and ensure you are getting the medical care and income benefits you are entitled to receive.
Adjuster (The Insurance Company’s Rep) – If you have been involved in a Workers’ Comp case for any length of time, you have almost certainly spoken to an adjuster. First and foremost, you need to know the adjuster is an employee of the insurance company. The adjuster is not your friend. This is not a scare tactic, but it is important that you recognize that even if the adjuster is “nice” and seems to be telling you all your rights, in the end, the adjuster is an employee of the insurance company whose biggest concern is saving the insurance company money. Adjusters don’t save money by paying for every medical treatment recommended by your doctor or by paying you income benefits for an extended period of time. They save money by saying “No” sometimes. The more they say no, the more money they save the insurance company.
If you do not hire an attorney to represent you, you will be the only person trying to keep the adjuster (and really the entire insurance company) accountable for paying for your medical treatment and your income benefits. Without the knowledge of the law and extensive work comp experience, it is hard to overstate the HUGE advantage the adjuster/insurance company has over you.
Your Employer – Most likely your employer is just along for the ride. This is not a mean statement, rather a simple representation of reality. The insurer is calling the shots on whether you receive the medical treatment your doctor recommends or whether you receive any income benefits. Even if your employer wants to help you as much as they can, in the end, they paid for Workers’ Compensation Insurance and the insurer will decide whether you get income benefits and what (if any) medical care your will receive.
Attorneys– In the field of workers’ compensation law, there are generally three types of attorneys.
Attorneys who only represent the insurance companies.
Attorney’s, like our firm, who only represent injured workers.
Attorneys who try to represent both injured workers and insurance companies.
Our firm ONLY represents injured workers.We do not try play both sides of the ball as some attorney’s try to do. Click here or call us at (229) 520-5073 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.
Doctors – Most people are all pretty particular about what doctor provides their medical care. In Georgia, if you are injured at work, you can expect to be limited in the choice of doctors who can provide your medical care for your work injury. As a general rule, you CANNOT be treated by ANY doctor you choose to treat with for your injury, rather you must choose a doctor from a very short list of doctors listed on a “Panel of Physicians.” One advantage of hiring a firm like ours early in your case is to take advantage of our extensive experience with doctors treating injured workers. We have seen doctors who place patient’s needs first and we have seen doctors who place the person paying the bills (i.e. insurance company) first. You have a choice and an experienced attorney like the ones in our firm can help you select the right doctor early.
Don’t Wait Until It Is Too Late… Click here or call us today (229) 520-5073
We know the Workers’ Compensation rules. The statutes are complex, but we know the law and we know the tricks the insurance company play on injured workers in an effort to either stop providing benefits or to stop you from exercising your rights.
One of our expert attorney’s will gladly sit down with you to review your case, explain the entire process and answer any questions about your case at no cost to you and with no obligation for representation.