Atlanta Healthcare Work Injury Lawyer
If you are one of the thousands upon thousands of Atlanta nurses, physicians, or EMTs that have suffered an injury while on the job, you may be concerned whether you qualify for workers’ compensation. Across Georgia, state law is clear that you have the right to file for workers’ compensation after suffering a workplace injury. These benefits will help cover your lost wages, the cost of medical treatment, and any permanent injuries you may have suffered as a result of your circumstances. With so much at risk, working with an experienced healthcare work injury lawyer can prove invaluable. With extensive experience in the unique space of healthcare worker protections, The Law Offices of Darwin F. Johnson, in Atlanta, is ready to advocate on your behalf. We will defend your rights and fight for the compensation you require to recover physically and financially.
The Cost of Healthcare Work Injuries to the Medical Industry
According to a recent Harvard Business Review report, over half a million healthcare workers suffered work-related injuries and contracted illnesses per year on average. This staggering statistic makes this industry the most hazardous in the United States today. The current estimated cost that nurses and other medical industry workers bear after being injured at work is approximately $15,860.
Some of the risks nurses face are unique to their industry, including:
- Back injuries
- Diseases and infections
- Mental health issues like PTSD
- Slip, trip, and falls
- Workplace violence
- Penetration from sharp objects like hypodermic needles
If you have sustained injuries at work, it is vital to report your injuries and get the care you need to make a full recovery. Underreporting contracted illnesses and injuries in nursing and many other industries is an ongoing issue that benefits no one but insurers and employers. You do not deserve to live with the pain and trauma that comes with getting hurt while at work.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation in Gwinnett County as a Healthcare Worker?
The Georgia State Board of Worker’s Compensation oversees the process of workmans’ comp claims throughout all of its 159 counties, including Gwinnett, Cobb, Fulton, and DeKalb Counties. All companies and organizations that employ three or more persons must have a workers’ compensation insurance policy in place. This requirement means that nearly every medical facility or private practice in the state must have coverage for their employees.
Despite having this insurance, there is no guarantee an injured nurse or EMT will get approved to receive compensation. Part of this frustrating reality has to do with the circumstances of your claim, if any mistakes occur when filling out the necessary paperwork, or if your employer or insurer denies your claim without just cause.
One way to ensure that you receive a fair and just workers’ compensation award is to work with an experienced health care work injury attorney familiar with Georgia State workers’ compensation.
I am a Healthcare Worker Hurt On The Job? What Do I Do?
One of your top priorities if hurt on the job as a healthcare worker is to get treatment right away. Trying to push through your shift or take a few days off is rarely the best solution and could result in your condition worsening over time from not receiving adequate care. You want to be there for your patients and team at the facility you work, so make sure you get seen immediately.
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you need to notify your supervisor, human resources manager, or another point of contact at your job and make them aware you sustained injuries when working. You need to do this in writing within 30 days of the accident or injury date, or when you reasonably understood you had gotten hurt. The state of Georgia is strict about this deadline, and failing to do so could cause you to lose the ability to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Once you have taken this step, either personally or through hired counsel, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim with the state board within a year. Keep in mind that when you seek treatment, you will have a choice in who you see but only from a “panel of physicians” pre-selected by your employer. This panel is a list of doctors that your company has already approved injured workers to visit. Only under certain rare circumstances will you get to determine who your authorized physician will be. The doctor you see will assess your condition and make a decision regarding your ability to work.
What If My Health Care Job Doesn’t Qualify for Workers’ Compensation in Cobb County?
For individuals employed by nursing homes, private practices, or hospitals, they should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under the law if hurt while doing their job. This eligibility applies even if traveling for business on behalf of your employer. If you were attending an educational seminar and got involved in a car accident on your way to the event site, you may be able to sue the other driver for pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, some healthcare workers do not qualify as employees under Georgia workers’ compensation guidelines. These individuals are contractors, and this classification makes them ineligible for indemnity benefits through the state. In situations where a healthcare contractor gets injured on the job or during job-related activities, their only option may be to pursue a personal injury claim against the liable party. For example, in cases involving slip and fall scenarios, a suit against the medical facility property owner may be necessary.
Can I Receive Both Workers’ Compensation and a Personal Injury Settlement in Georgia?
The answer to this depends on the circumstances of your injury case. Typically, healthcare employees only have one remedy after suffering a job-related injury, which is to file for workers’ compensation. The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act makes it clear you can’t directly sue your employer for damages and can only use indemnity benefits to recover your loss.
However, if a third-party contributed to your injury and isn’t employed by your company, you may have the option of pursuing a personal injury claim against that individual. This scenario is not considered a double recovery situation since workers’ compensation insurance does not deal with non-economic damages like pain and suffering. But, personal injury claims do.
Keep in mind that your workers’ comp claim may be subject to subrogation. This process involves your employer’s insurance company pursuing legal action against the other liable party to recoup some of the payments they have made to you that the other party should have been responsible for paying in the first place.
How Can I Prove My Workers’ Compensation Claim as a Healthcare Worker in Gwinnett County?
The only way to successfully prove a workers’ compensation claim as a healthcare employee is to provide evidence. Any proof you submit to support your claim must show you sustained injuries while performing your duties and that you are now hurt so severely you cannot work until recovered. If you have suffered catastrophic injuries, you will need to demonstrate that you are permanently or partially disabled because of the trauma you experienced.
Examples of evidence that supports this kind of claim may include:
- Statements and interviews from coworkers and witnesses
- Medical records and related documentation supporting your prognosis
- Photographs of the accident scene and any visible physical injuries
- If possible, copies of security camera footage
- Medical opinions from your treating physician
What If I Have a Pre-Existing Condition Aggravated by My Work-Related Injury?
Because healthcare workers like EMTs, nurses, home health aides, and CNAs, or more susceptible to getting injured on the job, the likelihood of re-injury is greater. If you are in this situation and sustained a new injury while aggravating a pre-existing condition, you are still eligible under Georgia workers’ compensation law to receive benefits.
It is not uncommon for those returning to work to do so under modified duties. If this is not possible, they may qualify for more permanent disability benefits provided by their employer’s insurance.
How Long Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation in Atlanta?
How long and how much compensation you might receive after suffering a healthcare work-related injury will depend heavily on the circumstances and severity of the harm done to you. Typically, medical professionals who must miss seven or more work days will qualify for workers’ comp coverage. These indemnity benefits give them a weekly benefit payment equal to two-thirds of their normal pay. Such compensation can last for up to 400 weeks under certain levels of disability. But, if the degree of severity is catastrophic, they might continue receiving benefits for as long as they cannot work.
Can I Continue Working While Receiving Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?
Nurse and medical staff that return to work with light-duty restrictions in place may be eligible to receive temporary partial disability benefits until they can return to full capacity. Payments will be the equivalent of two-thirds of the difference between your new wages and your previous weekly pay. In situations where you are permanently unable to return to your former duties, your workers’ compensation attorney can advise you on whether you should receive permanent partial disability benefits.
This process can get complicated quickly due to the nature of your injuries, the job role you used to work, and the financial impact a new position at lower pay may have. A knowledgeable health care work injury attorney will prove to be an invaluable source of guidance and representation to ensure any compensation you receive will take care of your needs for the long-term.
These situations are why Gwinnett and Cobb County healthcare workers rely on The Law Offices of Darwin F. Johnson to advocate on their behalf after sustaining career-changing injuries on the job. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our experience in both workers’ compensation and personal injury law, comprising our healthcare work injury lawyer team.
How Much Workers’ Compensation Do Healthcare Workers Receive in Fulton County?
Should you suffer a workplace injury that causes you to take time off and not work, you may be eligible for benefits equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages. The maximum compensation would be up to $675.00 per week for 400 weeks. Injuries that allow you to continue working in a reduced capacity could qualify you for up to two-thirds of the difference from your former weekly income. Though, you would only receive up to $450.00 per week for a maximum of 350 weeks.
When your injuries leave you with a permanent partial disability, Georgia law dictates benefits based on the area of the body affected and the degree of your injuries. In circumstances where an employee dies because of their injury, their surviving spouse may receive up to $270,000 if there are no children.
This complex approach to benefit amount determination makes it of critical importance that you have a skilled healthcare work injury lawyer by your side; one experienced presenting these cases to the Board and insurers.
Can Your Healthcare Work Injury Lawyers Help Me?
Healthcare aides, nurses, physicians, and other medical professionals put their lives on the line every day to care for those in need. Whether you work in a nursing home or a busy emergency room, injuries happen, and you deserve compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and additional associated costs.
If you need representation for a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim, the healthcare work injury lawyer team at The Law Offices of Darwin F. Johnson are standing by and ready to help. Let us help build your case using our over thirty years of combined industry knowledge and demonstrated success in representing health care work injury cases. Call us to set up your free consultation at (404) 882-9237 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.