Georgia Workers' Compensation Laws

Whether you work 9 to 5 or all night long, you know the value of a hard day's work. But you also know that accidents happen. And when an accident happens at work, you are entitled to certain benefits under Georgia workers' compensation laws.

The chart below summarizes key aspects of Georgia's workers' compensation laws.

Statute of Limitations

  • You have 30 days to give notice of your injury to your employer, with some exceptions (§ 34-9-80)
  • You must make a claim for your injuries within 1 year from the date of injury or the date of the last remedial treatment OR 2 within 2 years after the date of the last payment of weekly benefits (§ 34-9-82(a))
  • 1 year from death for claims for death (§ 34-9-82(b))

Amount Limits

  • TTD (§ 34-9-261):
    • Benefits max = $575/wk, min = your avg. weekly wage if less than $50/wk
    • 2/3 of your average weekly wage
  • TPD (§ 34-9-262):
    • Benefits max = $383/wk
    • 2/3 of the difference between your avg. weekly wage pre-injury and your current avg. weekly wage
    • Total max = $134,050.
  • PPD (§ 34-9-263):
    • Benefits max = $575/wk
    • 2/3 of your average weekly wage
  • Death Benefits (§ 34-9-265):
    • Benefit max: $575/wk
    • Burial benefits up to $7,500
    • A widowed spouse with no children may recover a max of $230,000.
  • Medical care:
    • Unlimited for 400 weeks for most injuries.
    • For catastrophic injuries, they are unlimited for your lifetime.

Time Limits

  • Benefits begin on day 8 for disabilities that last less than 22 days (§ 34-8-197)
  • If the disability lasts more than 21 days, benefits are allowed from day 1 (§ 34-8-197)
  • 78 aggregate weeks of TTD while employee is capable of working with limitations (§ 34-9-104(2))
  • 400 weeks of TTD for most injuries (§ 34-9-200(2))
  • 350 weeks of TPD.

Other Limits

  • Certain categories of workers exempt (§ 34-9-2)
  • Employers may limit employees' choice of treating physician (§ 34-9-201)
  • No coverage for psychiatric, psychological, heart, or vascular diseases unless they arise from a separate occupational disease (§ 34-9-280)
  • Georgia does not require that your employer keep your position available for you to return to once you have recovered from your injury

What are workers' compensation benefits?

In Georgia, workers' compensation benefits are a form of wage replacement, intended to provide you with income while you are unable to work or unable to work at full capacity. You do not need to prove that your employer was at fault for your injury, but you do need to be diagnosed by a doctor who is authorized by your employer.

What kinds of injuries are covered?

Most injuries that arise out of and in the course of employment are covered, whether you or your employer is at fault for your injuries. However, psychiatric, psychological, heart, and vascular diseases are not covered, unless they arise from a separate occupational disease.

Are all employees covered by workers' compensation insurance?

No, Georgia exempts these general categories of workers:

  • Employees who work for an employer who has less than 3 regular employees
  • Most railroad employees
  • Farm laborers
  • U.S. government employees
  • Domestic servants
  • Independent contractors

What can I do if my claim is denied?

If you try to submit a claim for a psychiatric condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, your claim is likely to be denied. However, if your psychiatric, psychological, heart, or vascular disease arose from a separate occupational disease, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Your claim may also be denied if your employer claims that you are not an employee, but instead you are an independent contractor.

If your claim is denied, you may request a hearing before the State Board of Workers' Compensation. Often, you will be required to go through mediation before your hearing. Because both hearings and mediation are complex legal procedures, you may want to consult with an attorney in order to better protect your rights.

Who can help me protect my rights?

Between percentages that are tough to compute and compensation maximums, it can be challenging to navigate Georgia workers' compensation laws. To insure that you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to receive, speak to an experienced Georgia attorney for a free claim evaluation.

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