Atlanta Employee Rights
Cruz & Associates in Atlanta specializes in workers’ compensation lawsuits, and our attorneys are committed to defending injured employees’ rights. The workers’ compensation system exists to protect injured workers from the financial impact of a workplace injury by providing benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages until the employee can return to work. Employees have several rights under the Workers’ Compensation Law after suffering an injury on the job.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in Georgia?
After suffering an injury on the job, the injured employee has the right to medical benefits. Employees have a responsibility to report workplace injuries as soon as they occur, or as soon as an injury’s symptoms appear. While the Workers’ Compensation Law allows for 30 days to file a report, any delay may lead to a delay or a denial with your claim. Additionally, any delay on your part could provide your employer with grounds to dispute your claim. It’s best to report any injury beyond minor cuts and scrapes immediately.
An injured employee must receive medical care from a list of doctors provided by the employer’s insurance carrier. Although this may limit the employee’s choice of treatment, the employee may change his or her choice once without the employer’s permission. If the employee needs emergency medical treatment, he or she may seek temporary care from any available doctor until the emergency situation ends.
The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will pay for the employee’s medical expenses and provide weekly income benefits if the employee is out of work for seven or more days. Georgia law allows claimants to receive two-thirds of their average weekly wages, but no more than $575 per week. If the employee can return to work, benefit payments cease. However, if the employee is only medically able to return to a lower-paying position, partial benefit payments of no more than $383 per week will continue for a maximum of 350 weeks. Workers’ compensation benefits will also cover employee death benefits and permanent disability benefits if a catastrophic injury prevents the employee from ever working again.
Every employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage to cover potential employee injuries. Although the cost of maintaining that insurance may rise with multiple claims, the employer cannot take punitive or adverse action against an injured employee for filing for workers’ compensation. This is “retaliation,” and can include:
- Firing the employee.
- Demoting the employee or docking the employee’s hourly pay.
- Transferring the employee to a different supervisor, department, location, or job assignment.
- Cutting the employee’s hours.
- Filing negative employee reports about the injured employee without justification.
- Creating a hostile work environment, intimidating the injured employee, or pressuring an injured employee to drop a claim.
Retaliation is a serious legal matter requiring professional legal representation. In some cases, an employer retaliation case may lead to criminal as well as civil charges against the employer. Injured employees have the right to make workers’ compensation claims in good faith, and employers must respect this right and process claims in good faith.
Protect Your Rights as an Employee
Injured workers need reliable attorneys to defend their rights as employees in Georgia. Cruz & Associates has more than 25 years of experience handling all types of workers’ compensation claims. Contact us to schedule a free consultation about your workers’ compensation case, and one of our attorneys can let you know your options.