Each state has a unique process in place for handling workers’ compensation claims from injured or sick employees. Unless you’re a federal employee, we’ll explain the steps you must follow to apply for Georgia workers’ compensation benefits below. (We’ll also list a few other exceptions that aren’t typically covered under Georgia’s current state law.) You’ll also learn how the Georgia workers’ compensation program changed between 2013 and 2017.
How to File Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim for Benefits
State law requires Georgia workers’ compensation insurance coverage for each employer with three or more employees in this state. That law applies equally to full-time and part-time employees starting on their first day at work. According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, you must follow these steps to apply for benefits:
- If you need urgent medical care, go to the ER first! Otherwise, you must choose an employer-approved healthcare provider instead. Your employer should post a toll-free number where you can contact an approved Georgia Workers’ Compensation Managed Care Organization 24/7. If not, ask your supervisor for the list of six doctors authorized to treat you under your employer’s insurance policy.
- You have 30 days to report any workplace illness or injury that isn’t life-threatening to your supervisor. Failure to do so may invalidate your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer must then notify the insurance company’s claims adjuster using Form WC-1.
- Fill out and submit Form WC-14 to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation to start your claim. You’ll also want to keep a copy for your records and provide your employer with a copy, too.
- If approved, you should get your first check within 21 days from your first missed work shift. You must miss 7 days at work before qualifying for lost wage payments. If you’re out for 21 consecutive days, your employer’s insurer should cover that first week’s lost wages.
- If denied, you have one year from the accident date to appeal. Request a hearing before the Board and they’ll schedule it within 60 days of your incident date.
This Employee Bill of Rights pamphlet explains more about the Georgia workers’ compensation program.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2013-2017
Most state workers’ compensation program data is available in an annual report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This report lists total claims, how many people missed work or changed positions and data for specific employment sectors. Track how Georgia workers’ compensation program numbers changed from 2013-2017 in our interactive chart below:
Like most U.S. states, service-industry workers filed the vast majority of workers’ compensation claims during this timeframe. They comprised just 59% of claimants from 2014-2015, peaking at 65% in 2016. Total claims filed rose 7% from 2013 to 2014, then fell 11% between 2014 and 2017. Surprisingly, less than half the people injured over this five-year period qualified for lost wage benefits. The only year that broke that pattern is 2016. In 2016, exactly half of injured workers received workers’ compensation benefits that included lost wage payments. All other claims covered medical expenses for work-related injuries, of course. However, most injured workers didn’t require more than seven days off before recovering enough to return back to work.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Georgia’s state law says your own personal doctor cannot treat your on-the-job illness or injury. If you seek medical care without going through an employer-approved provider, you must pay those bills yourself. However, the reason most people get denied workers’ compensation is because they have preexisting health conditions. If that sounds like you, we strongly recommend talking to a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer first. Your employer’s insurer will look for any reason to deny your claim, so why chance it? A qualified workers’ comp attorney won’t charge you anything for an initial consultation to review your case.
These lawyers always work on contingency, so you’ll pay nothing for legal assistance up front. In fact, unless that lawyer helps you win a cash settlement, the attorney gets paid $0. But if your case wins, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify for legal assistance with your claim? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now.