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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

What are my responsibilities if I am injured at work in Georgia?

If and whenever employees are injured on the job, they may be entitled to certain workers' compensation benefits. However, these benefits do not come without certain duties and responsibilities on the part of the injured employee.

First and foremost, it is important that workers abide by their employers' published safety rules and procedures while on the job. Employees who suffer an injury because of their own misconduct are not entitled to workers' compensation. In the event that an injury at the workplace occurs despite following all safety policies, workers must report the incident to their supervisor or employer immediately. In specific, this means within 30 days of the date of injury. Furthermore, to avoid the suspension of benefits, injured employees must give consent to receive medical treatment when the State Board of Workers' Compensation orders it.

If a treating physician approves a new, less-demanding job for an injured employee following an accident, that employee must make an attempt at fulfilling the duties of the job, even if the job pays less than the job the employee had held prior to the incident. Failure to do so may result in a suspension of benefits.

Moreover, employees must not, without justification, refuse to submit to a drug test in the aftermath of a workplace accident. For, if they do, the accident may be presumed to have been caused by alcohol or drugs, and workers' compensation benefits may be denied accordingly.

Injured workers are obligated to give accurate and complete information on any workers' compensation claim. Employees who make misleading or false statements in a claim are considered guilty of committing a misdemeanor according to Georgia law. If convicted, offenders face the possibility of paying more than $10,000 in fines, spending up to one year in jail or both. In case employees do not understand the rights of injured workers and need help filing a claim for compensation, they may obtain information from the State Board of Workers' Compensation or speak to an attorney.

Source: Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation, "Employee Handbook", October 24, 2014

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