Questions Frequently Asked About Workers’ Compensation In Georgia
At Garner Law Office, P.C., I have been helping my clients get the workers’ compensation benefits they need to recover from their workplace accidents. Here are brief answers to some of the questions clients commonly ask. For legal advice and representation, please call my office in Dallas at CALL or send me an email to schedule a free consultation.
How do I know if I have a claim?
In general, you may have a workers’ compensation claim if you were injured on the job, and the injury arose out of and in the course of your employment. This means that the injury must be related to the work you do, and must have occurred while you were doing that work. The legal claims and defenses for workers’ compensation claims can be very complex. If you believe you may have a claim, please call me to discuss.
What types of injuries are compensable?
There are very few injuries that are not considered compensable under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, and even injuries that are not ordinarily compensable will usually have exceptions that may lead to a compensable claim. For example, you cannot recover for disfigurement that is purely cosmetic in nature, but you can recover for disfigurement or scarring that causes you to have a functional work impairment. As another example, you cannot recover for psychological injury that was not related to a physical injury, but you can recover for psychological injury that develops following a physical injury. Claims I have handled include back injuries, neck injuries, knee injuries, ankle injuries, foot injuries, hand and wrist injuries, shoulder injuries, closed head injuries, amputations, psychological injuries, hernias, death claims, and heart attack and stroke injuries. I have also handled cases involving such odd injuries as spider bites and diabetic neuropathy aggravated by work. If you have questions about your injury, please call me to discuss.
What if I lose my job?
This is a common concern in workers’ compensation claims, and quite frequently, the termination of an employee is the beginning of a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately for injured workers, Georgia is an employment at-will state. This means your employer can terminate you for any reason, or no reason, provided they otherwise comply with the law (for example, an employer cannot terminate an employee in such a way as to violate federal civil rights laws). Unless the employer violates some other law, there may be very little direct legal recourse to an injured worker who is terminated by his or her employer under Georgia law. This is true even if your employer fires you because you were injured. This does not, however, mean that you are entirely without remedy. If your employer terminates you because of your work injury, then the employer must pay you weekly workers’ compensation benefits as a result. If the employer terminates you for reasons that are not related to your work injury, for example, a general layoff, you may be able to recover income benefits if you prove a “diligent job search” following your termination. If you were terminated by your employer following a work injury, please call me to discuss your claim.
Do I have to pay you for an initial consultation?
No. Workers’ compensation claims for injured workers are usually done on a contingent fee basis, meaning that you do not have to pay me unless I recover money on your claim.
Will my claim be handled by your office staff or a younger, less experienced attorney?
No. I personally handle each and every claim in my office. I believe that the purpose of office staff is to support me in helping you with your claim, not to do the heavy lifting on the file so I can do other things. When you hire me, you can rest assured that I will personally handle each and every aspect of your claim, from the initial interview, to preparing for litigation and discovery issues, to settling your case or collecting any award issued on your claim. I will return your telephone calls or emails within 24 business hours, and I will meet with personally you to discuss your case. You can count on my experience, and you can trust that I will give you the personal attention your claim deserves.
What is your experience handling workers’ compensation claims?
I have over 20 years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims in two different states. Most recently, I spent over eight years working for one of the largest insurance defense firms in Georgia, and during that time, I exclusively represented employers and insurers in workers’ compensation claims. I have personally handled and tried some of the most complex workers’ compensation issues that arise under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. Prior to that, I practiced for over seven years in Mississippi, with a heavy concentration handling workers’ compensation claims on behalf of injured workers.