Regardless of your job duties or the industry in which you work, injuries happen. Accidents, overexertion, repetitive motion, and exposure to hazardous circumstances and substances can all cause life-changing injuries or illnesses that make it difficult—or impossible—to work. Workers’ compensation offers a way for injured workers to get the medical treatment and financial support they need to recover and pay their bills while they’re unable to work.
When it comes to workers’ comp in Georgia, what’s covered and what isn’t? Understanding the types of benefits that you can receive will help you get a clearer picture of the value of your claim and what to expect moving forward.
The Five Categories of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The Workers’ Compensation Act provides for five main categories of benefits:
- Medical benefits for the treatment of the work-related injury or illness.
- Income/indemnity benefits, payable for lost income due to an injury-related disability.
- Disability benefits, payable for the partial or complete loss of the use of a body part or of the body as a whole.
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits, such as job placement services and help in finding employment or entering a new career.
- Death benefits paid to the spouse or children of a worker who lost his or her life due to a fatal work accident, injury, or illness.
There are other factors and expenses that may come into play when evaluating a workers’ compensation claim for benefits, such as mileage reimbursement, but the five categories listed above are an injured worker’s primary sources of recovery.
What About Payments I’ve Received Already?
An issue that can complicate the value of a workers’ compensation claim is the payment of weekly indemnity and medical benefits. Employers/insurers are obligated to make these payments through the life of a case, and this means that, by the time settlement negotiations are underway, many or even all of the injured workers’ benefits may have already been paid. Negotiations must therefore focus on prospective benefits going forward, potentially over the remaining life expectancy of the injured worker.
Pain & Suffering Are Not Covered By Workers' Compensation
The only benefits an injured worker can recover through a workers’ compensation claim are those authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Act provides no compensation whatsoever for pain and suffering or general damages. This is a major factor that greatly limits the value of workers’ compensation cases as compared to personal injury matters.
As an Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience, Douglas F. Kaleita understands the value of educating clients about the workers’ compensation process, what’s covered, and what isn’t. While it’s true that the categories of benefits available under the Workers’ Compensation Act are limited, some injured workers may have cases against a third party (someone other than their employer) that would open the door to additional compensation.
Taking an honest and in-depth approach from the very beginning of a work injury claim will help a client understand what to expect during the process and what the full and fair value of their case might be. If a personal injury case can be filed, this could mean the worker would be entitled to the recovery of all lost earnings, loss of future wages, pain and suffering, and more.
What Is My Work Injury Case Worth?
Understanding what’s covered and what isn’t is an important part of your workers’ comp claim. You want to know what your case may be worth so you can be certain of your future stability. With an understanding of the primary categories of workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia, plus extensive worker’s comp and personal injury experience, our team at Douglas F. Kaleita P.C. knows how to pursue the maximum amount of compensation allowable under the Workers’ Compensation Act and personal injury law, when applicable. We will make these clear in our demand letter and negotiations in each client’s workers’ compensation claim we handle.
If you would like to learn more about what your workers' comp benefits will cover and what they won't, be sure to contact Atlanta workers' compensation lawyer Douglas Kaleita today!