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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Answering questions about workers' compensation

A Georgia worker who has been injured on the job may have concerns about how to obtain workers' compensation benefits. Additionally, there may be questions about responsibility in the situation. It is important to recognize that workers' compensation is the primary means of covering the costs associated with suffering an on-the-job injury.

When an employer provides this coverage to workers, an injured party typically is unable to bring legal action against that employer. A lawsuit may be initiated against a third party whose negligence has contributed to an injury. However, it is important to note that an employer might be able to exercise a subrogation lien in this case to recover part or all of the costs associated with a workers' compensation claim.

There are some circumstances that can jeopardize one's workers' compensation benefits. Injuries must be reported promptly. A workers' compensation claim must be filed within a year of an injury. This may be extended to two years if an injury has been treated remedially. A worker may jeopardize benefits by failing to cooperate with those overseeing treatment and the accident investigation. A refusal of drug testing can result in benefits being forfeited. Additionally, working while receiving disability benefits or refusing to accept suitable employment terms could create problems with an individual's benefits. Workers' compensation may not be available if an injury occurred because of the employee's willful misconduct or substance-related activity.

While many situations are straightforward, there may be instances in which legal counsel may be desired. An individual who is concerned with the circumstances of a workplace incident may want to meet with an attorney to ensure that rights are understood and that proper steps are taken in seeking medical care and workers' compensation benefits.

Source: Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation, "Workers’ Compensation Questions and Answers", September 10, 2014

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