We all hear about workplace injuries, occupational hazards, on-the-job accidents, and so on. Many of us, though, are not sure what exactly counts as an “on-the-job injury,” so we want to help you be aware of the parameters surrounding workplace injuries and offer you clarity on what steps you should take if you are experiencing work-related difficulties.
What is an “On-the-Job Injury?”
A work-related “Injury” does not only include accidents such as falls, but may also include physical problems that come on gradually that are a result of your work duties. Certain diseases are also compensable. Compensable “injuries” may also include heart attacks, strokes, infections and other conditions where it can be shown that the employment either caused the disabling condition or caused a pre-existing condition to become worse or combined with an underlying condition to cause disability.
Injuries of the same nature as the ones described above are called “non-catastrophic,” while injuries such as spinal cord damage, severe paralysis, amputation of an appendage, severe brain injury, second or third degree burns over 25% of the body, third degree burns over 5% or more of the face or hands, total or industrial blindness, and any other injury severe enough to prevent the employee from doing almost any work are categorized as “catastrophic” injuries and have slightly modified compensation coverages.
So, if you’ve been injured, what should you do?
Get the medical care you need right away. You don’t need to wait till a claim has been approved in order to get the medical attention necessary for your injury.
If the injury is not an emergency, you may want to consult the medical information posted by your employer. GA state law requires employers to make information about approved medical care providers available to all employees on a posted panel of physicians. The posted panel of physicians may be obtained in a break room or from your human resources manager.
Tell your employer or a supervisor about your injury as quickly as possible. You have 30 days from the date of the accident to report your claim to your employer or supervisor.
Write down the names of any and all witnesses to the accident. Contact us immediately if the employer or the insurance company is not cooperating with your medical care or income benefits.
Georgia operates on a no-fault workers’ comp system. That means as long as your injury happened on the job or was caused by your work activities, you do not need to prove that your employer caused your injury in order to receive benefits.
Eligible workers may receive a variety of benefits, including:
- temporary and permanent disability compensation (payments for wage loss)
- reasonable and necessary medical care, and
- vocational rehabilitation (training or education for a new line of work).
If you’ve been injured, don’t wait to get care. Turn in your paperwork and consult an attorney if you need help sorting out all the moving parts!