How are workers’ compensation claims different from personal injury claims?
At Kam, Ebersbach & Lewis, we represent victims in personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims.
Most of the time, in Georgia, you cannot sue your employer if you are hurt on the job; employers have immunity. However, if you are injured on the job and a third party is not responsible for your injury, you are entitled to the “exclusive remedy” of workers’ compensation benefits. So, what does that mean?
Workers’ compensation benefits are essentially three things: (1) weekly income benefits paid while the injured worker is out of work, (2) income benefits derived from “permanent impairment” and (3) medical benefits allowed under Georgia law.
In a personal injury claim, such as a car accident or a products liability case, Georgia law is designed to make the plaintiff (the victim) “whole.” On the other hand, the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act is simply a “return to work” program that is not designed to make the injured worker “whole.” For instance, if you are injured on the job and your authorized doctor takes you out of work resulting from your work-injuries, you are only entitled to 2/3 of your weekly pay while you remain out of work. Likewise, there can be no recovery in a workers’ compensation claim attributable to pain and suffering. Thus, there are inherently unfair characteristics of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act.
If your on-the-job injuries were caused by a third party, you might have the right to both a workers’ compensation claim and a negligence claim against the at-fault party.
It is imperative that you seek legal counsel from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you are injured on the job due to the limited remedies available to injured workers in Georgia. Retaining an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Kam, Ebersbach & Lewis not only protects your medical and financial interest but, it also ensures that you receive all benefits you are entitled to; and ultimately, maximizes your total recovery.