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Employee Rights After Work Injury

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Posted on October 1, 2021
Atlanta Work Injury Lawyer

Being injured on the job and missing time from work can be very stressful and scary.  Not only will you have to deal with the physical and mental pain and suffering from being injured, but you will also most likely worry about financial loss and paying your bills.  If you understand all of your rights after a job injury, you can have peace knowing you are receiving all of the medical treatment and financial support you are entitled to under workers’ compensation.  If you are struggling to understand your rights and how to protect them under the worker’s compensation laws, here’s the basics of what you need to know:

What Are My Rights After A Work Injury?

As any good work injury lawyer will tell you, there are a number of rights you can take advantage of if you have suffered an injury on the job. While some rights vary depending on your own situation and your state workers compensation law, there are several general rights that apply throughout the United States.

The Right to Medical Care

After a work injury, all states have workers’ compensation laws that tell employers what they must pay in workers’ compensation benefits to an injured employee.  First, you have the right to have medical treatment for your injuries.  Your employer cannot force you to work if you are injured. You have a right to be evaluated and treated for your injuries, and the medical provider, not your employer, controls if you can work or not. However, the employer normally has the advantage because the employer, or their worker’s compensation insurer, and not the employee, will choose the list of doctors the injured worker can see.

The Right to Lost Wage Compensation

After a work injury, workers’ compensation laws also direct employers what they must pay in lost wages to an injured employee.  For example, if you cannot return to work, the Georgia workers compensation law requires that you be paid 66 1/3 % of your average weekly wage up to a max of $675 a week in 2021.  Please note that independent contractors are not employees under the law and are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In some instances, a person may be called an independent contractor by name but an experienced workers compensation lawyer can prove the worker is actually an employee entitled to full workers compensation benefits.  This is one reason why it is important to seek advice from an experienced lawyer if you are denied benefits.

The Right to Calculate Your Losses

Whenever you are dealing with an on-the-job injury, your employer will request its insurance company to do its own investigation. Their mission is to be sure you were actually hurt on the job and to calculate the amount of money that your employer needs to pay you for lost wages under workers’ compensation law. However, you don’t have to agree with their calculations.  An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can look at the calculations and be sure they are accurate.

The Right to Return to Work

If your doctor decides that you are able to work following an injury on the job, your employer can’t prevent you from returning to work in most instances.  An exception maybe if you can only do certain types of work.  For example, say you are injured on the job and the treating doctor releases you to return to work during your medical treatment on “light duty” with certain restrictions.  If the employer has no light duty work, then you may not be able to return to work, but you would still be entitled to lost wage benefits.

The Right to Legal Representation

Last, but not least, you have the right to legal representation.  You have a right to have legal help no matter what your employer says about it. You do not have to go this alone.  You should always consult with an experienced job injury lawyer.  Most offer free consultations.  Do not trust the insurance company to do the right thing.  They want to do what is best for their pocketbook and not what is right for yours.

Conclusion: How Can I Protect My Rights?

At the end of the day, the best way to protect your right to workers’ compensation benefits is to hire a legal professional who has experience with work injuries and workers compensation law. Fortunately, the experienced legal team at Dan Chapman & Associates is always here to help you understand your rights and benefits.  If you decide you need our help, you can be sure that our experienced lawyers will stop at nothing to make sure that you get all of the compensation you rightly deserve.