Construction is, without a doubt, one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Construction laborers often work at great heights or outdoors in extreme weather. They may suffer falls from scaffolds, lacerations from machinery, burns from chemicals, exposure to harmful fumes, and much more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,008, or nearly 20%, of the 5,250 occupational fatalities in 2018 were in the construction industry.
If you suffered a job-related injury in a construction accident in Georgia, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re unable to work, you can apply for replacement wages and compensation for your medical bills. In addition, if you were injured by a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer, you may be entitled to compensation in a personal injury claim.
The injury attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. can represent you in your case and help you pursue the maximum workers’ comp payments or compensation you need to cover your expenses and losses. Our Alpharetta construction accident attorneys have the experience, resources, and knowledge to protect your rights and ensure you are treated fairly by the insurance companies.
To find out more about your legal rights and options, call us at (678) 213-2401 to schedule your free consultation with our award-winning attorneys.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of insurance provided by employers so their workers can cover expenses related to the injury or illness they suffered while performing their job. Georgia law requires all businesses that employ at least three people to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their staff.
There are two types of benefits you could apply for when filing a claim for workers’ compensation insurance. One is medical coverage, which provides payment for necessary medical treatment. The other is income coverage, which replaces a portion of wages you’re unable to earn because of the injury.
If you got hurt or sick at work, you could apply for medical coverage. The insurance company will only cover the cost of doctors on an approved list. If you choose to treat with a medical provider that isn’t on the list, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
You’ll likely have to undergo an independent medical examination (IME). Workers’ compensation insurance companies require the injured worker to see a doctor they choose to ensure the diagnosis is real. If their doctor’s evaluation matches your initial doctor’s evaluation of your injuries, you’ll be eligible for benefits.
Income benefits, also called disability benefits, reimburse injured workers at a percentage of their average wages. There are four types of benefits you could receive, depending on the extent of your injury.
- Temporary partial disability: If you can return to your job, but your injury prevents you from completing all the tasks required, you could collect TPD benefits. Typically, a modified version of your job will result in lower pay. Once the insurance company approves your claim, you’ll receive weekly payments at two-thirds of the difference between your wages before and after the construction accident. They’ll stop if you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) or after 350 weeks, whichever happens first.
- Temporary total disability: This type of income benefit is for workers who can’t return to their jobs for a minimum of seven days. You’ll receive two-thirds of your average weekly salary up to 400 weeks or if you reach MMI.
- Permanent partial disability: PPD is for individuals who can perform some type of job but have permanent damage due to their injury or illness. You’ll receive two-thirds of the difference between your wages before and after the construction accident occurred. The duration of payments will depend on the type of injury you sustained and how serious it is.
- Permanent total disability: These benefits get awarded to construction workers that suffer debilitating injuries, such as paralysis, loss of vision, or amputation. If your doctor determines you’ll never recover and can’t maintain employment, you could receive payments at a portion of your average income for the rest of your life.
There are some other benefits you could receive depending on the coverage listed on your employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
- Vocational rehab: If your injury prevents you from returning to your previous place of employment, you could utilize job placement services.
- Mileage reimbursement: You might receive compensation for the cost of driving to and from your doctor appointments.
- Death benefits: Loved ones can file for compensation of funeral expenses and up to two-thirds of the deceased’s average weekly salary.
Injuries and Illnesses That Qualify You for Benefits
Most injuries and illnesses suffered from a construction accident qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The most common include:
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Disease from exposure to toxic chemicals
- Broken bones
- Loss of limb
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck or back damage
There are some exceptions that could prohibit you from collecting benefit payments. They include injuries sustained under the following circumstances:
- Impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Failed to comply with safety regulations
- Joking around or roughhousing with coworkers
- Didn’t use protective gear or equipment
- Self-inflicted injury to illegally receive benefits
- Physical fight with someone while on the job
What You Should Do After a Construction Accident
If you get hurt on the job, you should take the steps below to ensure you will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Notify your employer. Let your supervisor or a manager know within 30 days of the accident date. You should put it in writing, so there’s proof that you notified them. Include your name, contact information, how the accident occurred, the injury you sustained, and other relevant details.
- Complete the application. Your employer should give you a Notice of Claim form to fill out and give back to them. They will submit it to their insurance company to begin the application process. If they don’t provide it, fill out Form WC-14 and send it to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation and your employer’s insurer.
- Request policy information. Ask your employer or their insurance representative for a copy of the workers’ compensation insurance policy, declarations page, and other documents related to coverage. You’ll find a list of approved doctors you can treat with, deadlines you must follow, and additional relevant information.
- Go to the doctor. Get an initial evaluation with one of the doctors on the approved list. The insurance company will cover all costs associated with the construction accident. You can choose to see your own doctor, but you’ll have to pay for the appointment yourself. Make sure you continue to treat your injuries until you recover or reach MMI.
- Maintain records. Keep copies of everything. Every time you undergo treatment, keep a copy of the office notes and billing statement. If your doctor prescribes medication, make a copy of the prescription. If you verbally communicate with anyone about important details of your case, such as the insurance adjuster, your employer, or a doctor, follow it up with an email or letter.
- Get a doctor’s note. Ask your doctor to write a letter stating the injury you sustained and that it prevents you from returning to work. To qualify for income benefits, you need to provide clear proof that your injury was the result of a work-related accident, and you can’t perform the duties of your job.
- Hire a lawyer. Hire an experienced Alpharetta construction accident lawyer from Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. We can handle each step of the legal process on your behalf. We know you’re already feeling overwhelmed. We want to relieve your burden so you can focus on recovering.
Workers’ Comp Death Benefits After a Construction Fatality
If a construction employee died from an occupational injury or illness, their immediate family members, or dependents, may be able to receive benefits similar to those that an injured worker would receive from workers’ compensation benefits, including:
- Weekly income benefits that are equal to two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage for up to 400 weeks or until the recipients are no longer eligible. Benefits are not to exceed a predetermined annual maximum.
- Burial expenses of up to $7,500.
- Medical expenses for the treatment of injuries, prior to the employee’s death.
Family members eligible to receive workers’ compensation death benefits include:
- The spouse
- Child younger than age 18 or enrolled full-time in high school
- Child younger than age 22 who is enrolled full-time at a post-secondary institution of higher learning
- Child older than age 18 who is not physically or mentally capable of earning a living
Secondary beneficiaries may receive benefits when there are no primary beneficiaries or when the primary beneficiaries wave their rights to benefits.
Call Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. to Discuss Your Construction Accident
At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., our Alpharetta construction accident lawyers care about the clients that hire us. We know you’re in pain and can’t work because of the injury you sustained on the construction site. You need to collect benefits so you can afford your medical treatment and household expenses. We’ll make sure the workers’ compensation insurance company provides the benefits you deserve.
We’ll work hard to resolve your claim promptly, so you don’t have to wait long for your weekly payments to begin. If the workers’ comp insurance company denies your claim, we’ll appeal their decision and won’t give up until they pay you what they owe you.
If a third party outside of your employer was responsible for your injuries, such as a manufacturer of substandard scaffolding materials, we’re prepared to file an injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf to fight for compensation to cover your medical expenses, your lost wages, your pain and suffering, and more.
If a construction accident caused your injuries and you’re unable to work, call (678) 213-2401 to speak with one of our Alpharetta construction accident lawyers. We’ll review the details of your case and advise you on all of the legal options available to you.