Injuries in the workplace can be devastating. Not only is an employee left dealing with an injury, but he or she is also left dealing with the conflict with his or her employers. Sometimes, employees are scared or hesitant to report an injury because they do not want to anger their bosses or put their jobs in jeopardy. Workers’ compensation laws protect injured employees from retribution by their employers. An employee who has been injured while at work may be entitled to compensation from an employer to support him or herself while recovering from an injury. As stated before, some employees are hesitant to report a workplace accident, but those fears are because of a misconception.
The following are common misconceptions about workers’ compensation in Georgia and the truth behind them.
You will be fired for filing for workers’ compensation.
The law prevents an employer from firing or letting go of an employee because he or she is seeking worker’s compensation. In fact, an employer who fires an employee because he or she is asking for workers’ compensation benefits is opening themselves up to a potential lawsuit over wrongful termination.
You have not worked at the job long enough to qualify for workers’ compensation.
Employees are covered for workers’ compensation benefits from the first day they are employed. There is no waiting period required for workers compensation benefits. Some may confuse the potential waiting period for other benefits, like health benefits, with workers’ compensation and might think they need to wait a certain number of days to be eligible.
You have a prior injury that prevents recovery.
An employee does not need to be in perfect health before the injury at work occurs. An employee is not automatically precluded from receiving workers’ compensation benefits just because he or she has a prior exiting condition. Depending on the specifics of the injury and the prior existing condition/injury, there is still the potential to receive benefits.
You were the cause of the accident and therefore cannot receive benefits.
The workers’ compensation law in Georgia is considered to be a “no fault” system. This means that even if it was your own negligence that caused the injury, you can still recover benefits under the workers’ compensation laws. The only requirement is that the injury occurred while an employee is performing the requirements of the job. In other words, the injury must have occurred because the task was required by the job, not because an employee was messing around and then was injured. The injury must happen in the scope of the employee’s employment.
You did not report the injury immediately after it happened and now you can not recover benefits.
While it is true that reporting a workplace injury should happen immediately, employees do have 30 days to report the accident to their supervisor or boss. However, it is good practice to report the injury as soon as possible to prevent any fraudulent claims made by the employer. It is also good to report the injury because then an employee can be seen by doctors and the necessary documentation of injuries can proceed.
If you have been injured at the workplace in Georgia and have questions about a workers’ compensation claim, the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at Johnathan R. Brockman, P.C. are here to help you. Contact us today for a consultation.