Workers' Compensation Catastrophic Injury Claims

Workers' Compensation Catastrophic Injury Claims

Posted By Douglas F. Kaleita, P.C. || 19-Jul-2013

When handling and working towards settlement of a Workers' Compensation claim, there are various particular situations that may arise and specific issues that may come up that may require some type of special handling by the Atlanta workers' compensation lawyer that represents you.

Cases involving catastrophic injuries are generally not subject to the ceiling of 350 or 400 weeks on TTD and TPD benefits. In such cases, the Employee/Claimant can receive TTD benefits until it can be shown that a change in condition for the better has occurred; this could result in receiving weekly TTD benefits for life, in appropriate cases.

O.C.G.A. Sec. 34-9-200.1(g) defines catastrophic injuries, which include various specifically delineated injuries of a very severe nature with particular accompanying problems, including spinal cord injuries involving paralysis; certain types of amputations; severe brain or closed head injuries as evidenced by particular symptoms; severe burns of a designated nature; total industrial blindness; and a last, catch-all category, contained in O.C.G.A. Sec. 34-9-200.1(g)(6).

This g(6) type of catastrophic case, as it is called, is probably the most frequently seen type of catastrophic injury case. O.C.G.A. Sec. 34-9-200.1(g)(6) specifically states:

(6)(A) Any other injury of a nature and severity that prevents the employee from being able to perform his or her prior work and any work available in substantial numbers within the national economy for which such employee is otherwise qualified . . .

This g(6) catastrophic designation is also subject to a rebuttable presumption that the injured worker is no longer catastrophic when he reaches retirement age.

Catastrophic injury claims deserve and receive special treatment in Workers' Compensation. Rehabilitation benefits are required in catastrophic cases, whereas they are not mandatory in other types of cases. Medical expenses may be quite considerable in catastrophic injury cases. Due to the lack of a ceiling on TTD benefits, the value of future indemnity benefits for TTD can also be quite high in catastrophic injury claims.

These types of claims can be difficult to evaluate for settlement, and difficult to settle as well, particularly when the future medical expenses are very high. Catastrophic injury cases will often linger for years until the Employer/Insurer is convinced that the case is truly catastrophic, and become willing to evaluate the claim at that level of exposure.

Special consideration must be devoted to the catastrophic injury claim by the Workers' Compensation practitioner throughout the life of the case, especially with regard to obtaining a catastrophic injury designation - which is usually not automatic - and with regard to settlement negotiations. If you have sustained catastrophic injuries in a work-related accident, then speak with an Atlanta workers' compensation lawyer from our firm. We have been handling workers' compensation cases in North Georgia for over 22 and we know when to fight. There is no fee unless we win, so don't hesitate to contact our firm today!

Categories: Workers' Compensation