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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

5 facts you should know about workers' compensation

From the first day you start a new job, you are covered by workers' compensation insurance, which your employer is required to provide if he or she has three or more workers. In Georgia, workers' compensation is a program that employers provide to cover costs that incur from illness and injury that happens on the job. You may need help paying medical bills, covering your income while you are out of work and attending rehab for any injury. If you die because of a job-related injury, workers' compensation may also offer benefits to care for your family after you are gone.

1. What happens if you caused the accident?

Even if the accident or injury was your fault, you could be covered under workers' compensation insurance if it was the result of inattentiveness or haste when performing your duties. If you were injured because of something like using drugs or alcohol on the job, fighting or messing around at work, you may not be compensated according to the State Board of Workers' Compensation handbook.

2. Is pain and suffering covered by workers' comp?

Pain and suffering is not covered under workers' comp, although lost wages, disabilities and medical expenses are. If you want to be compensated for pain and suffering, you may need to file a personal injury claim against your employer.

3. Are pre-existing conditions covered?

If you come to the job with a pre-existing condition and the duties of your current job exacerbate or make the condition worse, you may be covered. Your benefits would not apply to the underlying condition, only to the aggravation caused by your current job.

4. Can I keep getting benefits after going back to work?

There are two situations in which you can return to work and still receive workers' compensation benefits. If you suffered a permanent partial disability because of your job, or if you make less than the average weekly wage you had before your injury, you may be able to keep your benefits. If this is your situation, you may receive partial benefits for up to 350 weeks.

5. Can a lawyer help me with a workers' compensation claim?

Workers' comp insurance can be complex and confusing if you are new to the system. Rather than working to secure compensation on your own, you may benefit from consulting an attorney with any questions you have. A workers' compensation attorney has extensive knowledge of the legal system and insurance policies that are intended to protect workers every day on the job.

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