Every day in Georgia, dozens of injured workers end up with little to no compensation, because they simply do not understand the workers’ compensation system. These people worked hard, had their lives turned upside down and they walked away with nothing because they made serious mistakes after being injured.
Disturbingly, many of those workers would have gotten the money and medical care they needed had they simply understood the system. They learned the hard way that making just one mistake can result in lost benefits.
Unfortunately, most injured workers end up making several mistakes after they’re injured. That often makes receiving justice practically impossible. Here are five mistakes workers sadly make after being injured.
Five Big Georgia Workers’ Compensation Mistakes
There are five major mistakes injured workers make. Even some very smart and well-informed people make these errors and end up with nothing. The truth is, it takes an experienced professional staying on top of the many ever-changing details of Georgia workers’ compensation law to give a worker the best odds of avoiding a critical mistake.
To help you avoid mistakes, we’ll list the big five and show you how to avoid them. Here they are:
Mistake Number One: Assuming that the Workers’ Comp System is there to Help You Automatically Get the Benefits You Need
In a workers’ compensation case, each party has a different interest. In many situations, the interests of the other party couldn’t be more different than yours. Insurance companies want to deny claims because it saves them money. Employers sometimes want to deny claims because it cuts their insurance costs.
With others looking to deny or minimize your claim, you have to watch every step. The Georgia workers’ compensation system provides important benefits to injured workers, but you have a to apply and often times fight to secure those benefits. Never assume that you’ll be taken care of if you’re not proactive.
Mistake Number Two: Not Calling a Lawyer until the Claim Gets Denied or Delayed
Workers’ compensation is a legal process, a claim is a legal document and that means you’re going to need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you from the beginning.
An attorney can ensure that the paperwork is filed correctly to begin with and all the required steps are followed. An attorney can also tell you if your claim is worth pursuing so you will not end up wasting time with a claim that will go nowhere.
Injured workers who are not represented by a lawyer often have their claims ignored or delayed. Those who have an attorney often get their claims processed faster and achieve better results.
We sometimes see clients we cannot help because it is too late. They did not call us until after the claim was denied and deadlines passed. The sooner we get involved in the process, the more we can help you.
Mistake Number Three: Telling Your Employer and Not Filing a Claim
It is hard to believe but many people never receive workers’ compensation in Valdosta, Brunswick and beyond because they do not file a claim. This happens because they think all they have to do is tell their employer or its insurance company that they were injured.
That’s not true. The law also requires a worker to file a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, which is overseen by the State of Georgia. Even if you tell your boss or their insurance company; you will still have to file a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. The Board cannot process your claim unless you file it. Keep in mind, we can help you with this process.
You should file a claim as soon as possible. There are certain time requirements in which you must file your claim, which are set by law, and if you do not abide by these time requirements, you may be forever barred from receiving benefits. Remember, the sooner the claim gets filed, the sooner it will be processed and the sooner you can potentially secure benefits.
Mistake Number Four: Not Verifying that the Employer Offers Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Even though most employers are required to offer workers’ compensation – not all of them are. To make matters worse there are some employers that try to get out of paying by not telling workers they can apply for compensation.
Workers’ comp is required for most businesses that employ more than three employees in Georgia. There are some employers that are exempt from this rule including farms, government agencies and possibly churches and charities. State law also lets private individuals that employ maids and housekeepers get out of offering workers’ compensation.
There are two ways that an employer can legally offer workers’ compensation in Georgia. An employer can self-insure if it has approval from the State Board of Workers’ Compensation or it can buy a policy from an insurance company.
If you find out that an employer offers workers’ compensation but nobody has told you how to file a claim, you should call a lawyer right away. We can help you file a claim and get you any potential benefits you deserve.
Mistake Number Five: Putting Too Much Trust in Your Employer’s Insurance Company
When you deal with insurance companies and their representatives, you need to know exactly what you are doing. Their job is to pay as little money as possible to as few injured workers as possible. Just because an insurance company representative claims they’re going to take care of you, don’t assume they actually will. If they tell you your injury isn’t worth that much, don’t believe it!
A hard working attorney with experience in workers’ compensation law can make sure you get the maximum benefits to which you’re entitled.
The Biggest Mistake that Workers Make after Being Injured
The five errors we discussed above are actually part of an even bigger mistake that a great many injured employees make. They assume that somebody- perhaps their boss, the insurance company or the state, is looking out for their best interests.
Sadly, this is not true in the workers’ compensation process. You need an attorney on your side whose only interest is representing you. Remember, workers’ compensation is a right; a right that you earned through your hard work. Don’t be shortchanged, bullied or misled. If you’re in the Brunswick, Valdosta or any of the surrounding areas, and have been injured on the job, call The Law Office of Susan Mager.
We’re ready to help you avoid mistakes and receive the justice you deserve. Let’s bring it!