When it comes to car accidents, people usually do not think twice about hiring an attorney to represent their interests. Almost always, the victim in a personal injury matter does not know the at-fault party who was negligent in causing the injury. Therefore, taking legal action against the other driver seems appropriate and fair because the person was negligent in causing the accident, and he or she is a stranger.
However, when it comes to workers’ compensation accidents, people often are hesitant to hire an attorney. In workers’ compensation matters, the injured worker has a relationship with the employer, relies on the employer for his or her income, and the very nature of the employer-employee relationship is that the employee is subordinate to the employer. However, when an accident on-the-job happens and results in serious injury, the injured worker often finds himself suddenly navigating the workers’ compensation system.
The reality is that Georgia’s workers’ compensation system is an adversarial legal system. In Georgia’s workers’ compensation system, the injured worker is considered the “claimant” and the Employer and its’ workers’ compensation insurance company are considered the “defendants.” No sane person would willing choose to be a “claimant” in a workers’ compensation claim, but when an accident happens on the job, whether the injured worker wants to be a “claimant” or not, that is what he is, and suddenly he is pitted against an insurance company with whom he has no prior relationship. That is the unfortunate reality.
So many times, I hear prospective clients say that, they do not want to sue anyone, or be involved in a legal claim, and I get it – no one wants to be involved in an adversarial, legal claim. But mentally denying the new reality that they are faced with following a work accident is not helpful to them, and can actually be detrimental to them and their loved ones who rely on them or care about them. It is very important to secure experienced, qualified legal representation when dealing with a workers’ compensation claim. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated delineates the statutory laws that apply in Georgia, and case law interprets that statutory law. Failing to comply with the laws may bar recovery of benefits. If you are involved in a workers’ compensation matter, please contact us.