Year: 2018

Can I Sue My Employer?

Georgia Workers Rights – Employment Lawsuit

If you have been involved in a workplace accident, you may wonder whether you have the right to sue your employer.  You were hurt at work, so it would stand to reason that you should be allowed to sue your employer, right?  Unfortunately, in most instances, the answer to that question is no.  Under Georgia law, if you have been involved in a workplace accident, you are not permitted to sue your employer.  This being the case, the workers’ compensation system (i.e. filing a workers’ compensation claim) is your exclusive remedy against your employer.  Having said that, the workers’ compensation system is beneficial to employees in that they do not have to file a lawsuit against their employer – a process which can take years – and that employees do not have to prove that their employer was at fault for their injuries in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a workplace accident?  It is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation in order to ensure that your rights are adequately represented.  Contact the attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates.  We offer free case evaluations and collect no fees unless you win!  Let us help you get the money you deserve! Call: 678-242-7626

Workers Compensation Evaluation

Atlanta Workers Compensation Intake
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What To Do If Hurt On The Job

What Should I Do If I Am Hurt At Work?

If you have been involved in a workplace accident, it is important to take the following steps in order to ensure that your rights are adequately represented.

  • NOTIFY YOUR EMPLOYER

Under Georgia law, an Injured Worker has 30 days in which to notify his or her employer of a workplace accident.  Notice can be verbal and can be given to your direct supervisor.  While you may have 30 days to notify your employer of your workplace accident, it is always in your best interest to notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible.

  • GET MEDICAL TREATMENT WITH A PANEL DOCTOR

By law, nearly all employers in Georgia are required to maintain what is known as a “panel of physicians.”  In most cases, this panel must include a list of at least six (6) doctors from which you are allowed to choose to seek medical treatment.  After you have notified your employer of your injury, be sure to ask your employer to see the panel of physicians and then choose a doctor from that list.  Your employer cannot tell you where to seek medical treatment – you have the right to choose.

  • YOUR HEALTH IS WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT 

When you have been hurt at work, getting medical treatment is the most important thing you can do.  In the event that your employer either does not have a panel of physicians or does not make the panel of physicians available to you, seek treatment at an emergency room or walk-in clinic.  Should you be forced to treat at an emergency room or walk-in clinic, make sure that you tell the doctor that you were hurt at work and explain to them the circumstances surrounding your accident.

  • MAKE SURE THE DOCTOR ADDRESSES WORK RESTRICTIONS

Whether your end up seeking medical treatment with a panel physician or at an emergency room/walk-in clinic, make sure that the doctor treating your specifically addresses your ability to return to work.  When treating for a workplace injury, a doctor will likely either remove you from work completely, allow you to return to work with certain light duty restrictions, or release you to return to work at full duty without restrictions.  The type of work restrictions placed upon you following your accident will be of vital importance moving forward, so be certain that your doctor addresses your work restrictions following the accident.

  • CONTACT AN ATTORNEY WHO SPECIALIZES IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

When you are injured at work, it is never too early to obtain legal counsel in order to ensure that your rights are protected and to ensure that you receive all of the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a workplace accident?  It is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation in order to ensure that your rights are adequately represented.  Contact the attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates.  We offer free case evaluations and collect no fees unless you win! Call:  678-242-7626

Workers Compensation Evaluation

Atlanta Workers Compensation Intake
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Liability and Your Workers’ Compensation Case

Georgia Workers Compensation Liability

If you are injured in the course and scope of your employment, and your injury may have been fault, you may wonder whether you are barred from filing a workers’ compensation claim.  The good news for workers injured in Georgia is that, generally speaking, even if your workplace accident is your fault, you are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.  This is because Georgia is what is known as a “no-fault state.”  Under Georgia law, unless your injury is the result of horseplay or is caused by your willful disregard for a company policy, then you should be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a workplace accident?  It is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation in order to ensure that your rights are adequately represented.  Contact the attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates.  We offer free case evaluations and collect no fees unless you win!

Call Us For Your FREE CASE EVALUATION 678-242-7626 or complete the form below:

Workers Compensation Evaluation

Atlanta Workers Compensation Intake
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Five Facts About Social Security Disability (SSDI) Benefits

The path to obtaining your Social Security Disability benefits can be a long and complicated one, and at Dan Chapman and Associates, we are here to help. Our attorneys have experience with Social Security law and procedures, and will be instrumental in obtaining your benefits.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding SSI, so here are five facts to help you understand what Social Security Disability benefits are, and how they are awarded.

Documentation is key

The more documentation you can provide from medical professionals about your disability the better chances you have of getting approved. Documentation isn’t just letters, it includes keeping regularly scheduled medical appointments, and actively participating in any recommended treatments. The Social Security Administration outlines what is required here.

Benefits do not begin immediately

Once you are approved for SSDI benefits, it could take up to 3-5 months to begin receiving them. Our attorneys can explain the payment process, and how benefits are awarded. Typically, payments begin the month after the date listed in your approval letter. For example, if you receive a letter stating your benefits will begin on January 15th, typically your first payment will be issued in February. Again, every case is unique, which is why it is imperative to have an experienced attorney on your side.

More people become disabled than you think

According to the Social Security Administration, close to 25% of people over 20 years old will become disabled in their lifetime. This contributes to the slowness of the evaluation and approval process. It’s also a reason many first-time claims are denied. Our attorneys know the process well enough to overcome some of those common roadblocks and get you approved

Social Security Disability benefits are designed to be long-term

The Social Security Administration defines ‘long-term’ as unable to work for 12 or more months. If your disability is considered terminal, the benefits could be awarded for a lifetime. Many times, people assume SSDI will cover shorter term disabilities. While private insurance companies may award short term disability benefits, SSDI does not.

Help is available for applying for SSDI as well as appealing denied SSDI claims

Here at Dan Chapman and Associates, we are here to help! If you’ve been denied? We are on your side! Our qualified professionals are here to provide you with information and answer any questions you may have. We offer a free case evaluation of your situation, and there is no fee unless you win. Call us today at 678-CHAPMAN or complete the form below and a member of our team will be in touch soon.

Social Security Denied Claim Form

Intake form for denied Social Security claims.

Workers Compensation | Medical Benefits Under Georgia Law

If you have been injured in the course and scope of your employment, it is important to know that the workers’ compensation system will provide you with two types of benefits – weekly income benefits and medical treatment.  This entry will discuss the types of medical benefits that an Injured Worker may be entitled to receive under Georgia law.

It is important to remember that the primary function of the workers’ compensation system in Georgia is to provide Injured Workers with the medical treatment needed in order to allow them to return to work.  In the event that your claim is accepted as compensable, the insurance company will be required to provide you with all medical treatment that your authorized treating physician deems to be reasonable and necessary to help you recover from your accident. This may include things such as hospital visits, treatment with your authorized treating physician, payment for prescriptions, physical therapy treatment, and expenses associated with traveling to and from medical appointment.  Remember that the Employer/Insurer is not under any obligation to pay for medical treatment which is not recommended by the authorized treating physician.  This being the case, under most circumstances, the Employer/Insurer will not pay for treatment that you receive from your personal physician.

Injured Workers are entitled to medical treatment for up to 400 weeks following the date of the accident.  Remember that as long as the medical treatment is approved by an authorized treating physician, the insurance company is required to pay for your medical treatment and you will not have to come out of pocket for medical treatment.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a workplace accident?  It is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation in order to ensure that your rights are adequately represented.  Contact the attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates.  We offer free case evaluations and collect no fees unless you win!

Workers Compensation | Income Benefits Under Georgia Law

 

If you have been injured in the course and scope of your employment, it is important to know that the workers’ compensation system will provide you with two types of benefits – weekly income benefits and medical treatment. This entry will discuss the various types of income benefits that an Injured Worker may be entitled to receive.

Under Georgia law, there are three (3) distinctly different types of income benefits that Injured Workers may be entitled to:

  1. 1) Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD)

If a doctor removes you from work completely, or if your employer is unable to accommodate your light duty work restrictions, then you may be entitled to TTD benefits.  Workers entitled to TTD benefits receive two-thirds (2/3) of their average weekly wage up to a maximum of $575/week.  An Injured Worker is entitled to receive TTD benefits for up to 400 weeks from the date of their accident.

  1. 2) Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD)

If you return to work following your accident and are earning less money than you were prior to your workplace accident, then you may be entitled to TPD benefits.  Workers entitled to TPD benefits receive two-thirds (2/3) of the difference between what they were earning prior to the accident and what they are receiving after the accident up to a maximum of $383.00.  An injured worker can receive these benefits for up to 350 weeks from the date of their accident.

  1. 3) Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD)

In the event that your authorized treating physician assigns you what is known as a “permanent impairment rating,” then you could be entitled to PPD benefits.  These PPD benefits can be paid out in one lump sum payment, or on a weekly basis.  The amount of PPD benefits that you will receive will depend upon the impairment rating assigned, your average weekly wage, and the body part to which the impairment rating is assigned.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a workplace accident?  It is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation in order to ensure that your rights are adequately represented.  Contact the attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates.  We offer free case evaluations and collect no fees unless you win!

Workers Compensation Evaluation

Atlanta Workers Compensation Intake
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Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Considered “Taxable Income?”

 

It is that time of year again. The deadline for filing personal income tax returns is fast approaching and the dreaded April 15th deadline will be here before we know it.  If you have received workers’ compensation benefits, you may wonder whether the income benefits that you have received need to be reported as taxable income. The good news is that, generally speaking, workers’ compensation benefits are not considered taxable income. Accordingly, Injured Workers are not required to report workers’ compensation benefits on their W2s or other tax documents.

There are certain exceptions to this general rule, however.  Specifically, if an Injured Worker has received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) certain tax implications may be involved.  If you have any questions regarding the specific nature of the tax implications involving either SSDI or SSI benefits, it is recommended that you contact a tax professional.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a workplace accident?  It is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation in order to ensure that your rights are adequately represented.  Contact the attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates.  We offer free case evaluations and collect no fees unless you win!

Workers Compensation Evaluation

Atlanta Workers Compensation Intake
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Georgia Workers Compensation Average Weekly Wage Calculation

Georgia Workers Comp: Average Weekly Wage and How It Is Calculated

In Georgia, if you have been involved in a compensable workers’ compensation claim, you are entitled to two types of benefits – income benefits and medical treatment.  When discussing income benefits, it is important to understand what is meant by the term “average weekly wage” and how the average weekly wage is calculated.

By law, there are three (3) methods through which your average weekly wage can be calculated:

  1. Thirteen (13) Weeks of Employee’s Earnings:  Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 34-9-260 (1), the preferred method of calculating an injured worker’s average weekly wage is by reviewing the worker’s wages from the thirteen (13) weeks preceding the date of the accident and then taking the average of those thirteen (13) weeks of earning.  For example, if the injured worker earned $13,000.00 during the thirteen (13) week preceding his accident, then he would have an average weekly wage of $1,000.00.
  1. Thirteen (13) Weeks of Similarly Situated Employee’s Earnings: If the injured worker has not worked “substantially the whole” of the thirteen (13) weeks preceding the injury, then the injured workers’ average weekly wage must be calculated by using the wages of a similarly situated employee.  Pursuant to O.C.G.A § 34-9-260 (2) a similarly situated employee is a person who performs a similar type of job for the same employer.  If a similarly situated employee can be found, then the injured workers’ average weekly wage will be calculated based upon the same metrics above, only the wages will be those of the similarly situated employee.
  1. Contracted Rate of Hire:  If neither of the first two methods can be utilized in determining the injured worker’s average weekly wage, then the third method of determining the injured worker’s average weekly wage is to take the injured worker’s contracted rate of hire (or their hourly wage) and multiplying that rate by the number of hours they are contracted to work.  For instance, if the injured worker earns $10.00 per hour and is contracted to work 40 hours per week, then the injured work would have an average weekly wage of $400.00

Accurately determining your average weekly wage is significant in that it serves as the basis for determining what your weekly compensation rate will be.  An injured worker is entitled to receive 2/3 of their average weekly wage as their weekly workers’ compensation payment — up to a maximum of $575.00 per week.  Using the example above, if the injured worker has an average weekly wage of $400.00, then the corresponding compensation rate would be $266.67.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a workplace accident?  It is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation in order to ensure that your rights are adequately represented.  Contact the attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates.  We offer free case evaluations and collect no fees unless you win!

Workers Compensation Evaluation

Atlanta Workers Compensation Intake
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Five Myths About Social Security Disability Benefits

Navigating the process of applying for and being awarded Social Security Disability benefits can be a complicated one full of myths and misinformation. This is because every case is unique to the individual applying for benefits. At Dan Chapman and Associates, our attorneys have the expertise and experience needed to get you through the application or appeal process, and get you the benefits you deserve.

Below are some common myths and misconceptions about the SSDI process you will find helpful in starting or appealing the application process.

MYTH – Hardly Anyone Gets Approved

While the application process is long and sometimes arduous, and the SSA guidelines are rather strict and the initial rejection rate high, in 2013, 33% of applications were approved. This is why having an attorney on your side is vital to the application and appeal process so nothing is missed, and every SSA requirement for determining you are unable to work is met.

MYTH – SSDI Will Replace Your Total Work Income

SSDI benefits are considered a safety net, and shouldn’t be expected to replace your total income as if you were still working. There are other need based programs, such as SSI, that can be applied for simultaneously, but in 2015, the average SSDI payment was just under $1200 per month. Your attorney will know what programs to apply for that meet your needs, and if and when you can return to work to help supplement your benefits.

MYTH – My Doctor Says I’m Disabled – This Means I Automatically Qualify For Benefits

It’s important to keep in mind that the SSDI decision is a legal one, not a medical one. However, the medical professionals you see during the application or appeal process will be vital in the information they provide for the decision process. It’s important to be sure your medical professional are licensed and in good professional standing, and you’re seeing them regularly for your medical condition.

MYTH – Once You’re Approved For SSDI, It’s A Lifetime Benefit

You very well could receive benefits for life, but your condition will be reviewed periodically. According to the Social Security Administration, your condition will initially be reviewed within the first 6-18 months after your disability was determined. If improvement of your condition seems unlikely, your eligibility is reviewed about every three years.

MYTH – The First Step In the Application Process Is To See A Lawyer

While having a qualified attorney working for you increases your chances of being approved, the first step should be to see your doctor to discuss your condition, prognosis, and how it affects your ability to work. While the SSDI decision is a legal one, there are requirements for medical care you should discuss with both your physician and attorney.

If you have further questions about the SSDI application process, call our office for a free consultation at 678-CHAPMAN, or fill out the contact form here on the website.

Sources for this article:

www.ssa.gov

www.disabled-world.org

www.huffingtonpost.com

Social Security Denied Claim Form

Intake form for denied Social Security claims.
Georgia Workers Compensation Attorney - what to expect at mediation

What to Expect at Mediation

When it comes to settling your workers’ compensation claims, mediation is often a useful tool the parties can utilize in resolving a claim.  Mediation is a process in which representatives from both parties (the Injured Worker and the Employer/Insurer) sit down with a neutral third party – called a mediator – in an effort to resolve a case.  There are two types of mediation – private mediation, which often take place at a mediator’s office, and a Board mediation, which takes place at the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.

During the course of mediation, a representative from each party will provide the mediator with a brief summary of the facts of the case as they see it.  The parties will then go into separate rooms to “caucus” and the mediator will go back and forth between the parties with updated settlement demands and settlement offers.  Throughout the mediation the mediator will often provide their input with respect to the relative strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case.  During this process it is important to remember that the mediator is a neutral party, meaning they do not side with either party.  It is also important to remember that the mediation process is confidential and information shared or disclosed during the course of the mediation will not be shared outside of the mediation.

In most instances, the mediation process is a voluntary process.  This means that both parties have the right to leave the mediation at any time.  Having said that, Injured Workers are strongly advised to allow the mediation process run its course.  The mediation process is aimed at providing both parties with a resolution and is certainly a worthwhile endeavor.  While the process may be frustrating to some at times, mediation is ultimately a powerful tool in resolving claims and typically results in equitable results for Injured Workers.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a workplace accident?  It is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation in order to ensure that your rights are adequately represented.  Contact the attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates.  We offer free case evaluations and collect no fees unless you win!

Workers Compensation Evaluation

Atlanta Workers Compensation Intake
  • Please tell us who you work for.