When you’re injured on the job, workers’ compensation probably isn’t your first thought. Most likely you’re focusing on first things first:
- Am I ok?
- Will I be able to return to work?
- How will I pay my bills if I can’t work?
- What about my medical bills?
In answering these questions, you may stumble upon information ranging from how to file a personal injury claim, to learning more about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In fact, if you were injured at work, a workers’ compensation claim is where you need to start, and the sooner you start the process of filing a claim, the better. In order to do that, it’s good to understand what workers’ compensation, personal injury law, and SSDI all are, and what they mean to you when you’re injured.
Workers’ comp is a state-funded program. According to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation for Georgia, it’s “an accident insurance program paid by your employer which may provide you with medical, rehabilitation and income benefits if you are injured on the job. These benefits are provided to help you return to work. It also provides benefits to your dependents if you die as a result of a job related injury.”
When looking for a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta, it’s important that you find an attorney whose primary focus is dealing with workers’ comp claims in Georgia. This means that workers’ comp is one of their primary areas of practice. An experienced, local workers’ comp attorney is your best partner when you need help and have been injured on the job.
Personal injury is a legal term used to denote a claim for an injury to a person’s mental or physical self–as opposed to property damage–in a court of law. In a personal injury claim, the claimant files a suit that claims another person is responsible for their injury.
The biggest difference between a personal injury lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim is in finding and proving fault. Every accident–and every lawsuit–is unique to the circumstances of the nature of what happened. A workers’ comp claim pays the injured worker through a workers’ compensation insurance claim, which employers are required to have. This means that your employer will accept the fault for your on-the-job injury and will usually settle the insurance claim.
A personal injury claim differs from a workers’ comp claim in many ways, but the primary way is that in a personal injury claim, a plaintiff can file for damages due to pain and suffering. In a personal injury case, it’s important that, as the injured party, you contact an attorney to best understand how to set up treatment on a lien basis. What this means is that you work with a medical provider who is willing to be paid for your treatment once your attorney wins your case. For more information on personal injury, contact us today.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI is a program managed and supported by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It pays benefits to people suffering from disabilities based on how much they’ve paid into Social Security over their working lifetime. Unlike workers’ comp, SSDI is a federal program, and it is funded by payroll taxes and managed by the SSA. SSDI is not restricted to pay benefits for injuries or conditions that occur because of work. If you were not injured at work, but are suffering from a disability, filing for SSDI benefits can help you offset your loss of income if you can no longer work.
If you are already receiving SSDI benefits and file, and win, a workers’ compensation claim, then your SSDI benefits may be held for the period of time in which your workers’ comp checks come in. In short, you’ll be receiving the same amount monthly–not an additional amount–as the federal government will allow the workers’ compensation insurance to pay for your benefits for that period of time.
Injured on the Job? Here’s What Else You Need to Know.
If your injury falls under workers’ compensation instead of personal injury or SSDI, there are several important things you need to know:
- Immediately report your injury to your employer.
- Consult a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta if you’re unsure of your rights. Consultations are free.
- Take note of the date and time of your injury.
- See your workers’ comp approved doctor for evaluation.
- Know that workers’ comp in Georgia must either pay or deny in 21 days.
If you receive workers’ compensation, you will be paid your benefits in one of two ways: as a lump-sum payment or as a structured settlement.
- A lump-sum settlement may sound like the best option, but it’s a trade off. In a lump-sum settlement, the claimant agrees to give up certain rights in exchange for a one-time payment from your employer or their insurance company.
- A structured settlement allows for a long term payout of benefits through an annuity. In most cases, this is the best option. It provides long-term financial security for you, because you’ll receive regular payments to cover your ongoing costs and expenses.
We Can Help.
Navigating workers’ compensation settlements doesn’t have to be overwhelming. At Affleck and Gordon, we understand what you’re going through, as we’ve assisted many others in winning benefits for their on-the-job injuries. As we evaluate your claim, we’ll help organize the most important facts of your medical history, and help you present a strong, compelling case that can lead to a successful settlement. At Affleck and Gordon, we’re the experienced Atlanta workers’ comp law firm you need.
If your workers comp claim has been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck and Gordon can help. We’ve been helping people in Georgia just like you for over 40 years.