Workers’ compensation is a benefit program that provides medical and income benefits to an injured employee. The Georgia Workers Compensation system may also provide benefits to an employee’s dependents if death results from an on-the-job injury.

Any injury or illness arising out of and in the course of employment is by definition an on-the-job injury. Depending on the circumstances some injuries occurring during breaks, lunch or personal activity may not be compensable.

Georgia Workers Compensation Medical Benefits

Under O.C.G.A. section 34-9-201 and Georgia Workers Compensation Rule 201 Georgia law requires an Employer to post in a conspicuous place at each work location a list of at least six physicians who are authorized to treat on-the-job injuries, at no cost to the employee.

The Employer is required to educate the employee on how and when to use the panel of physicians. If the employer satisfies its requirements by law then when an on-the-job injury occurs, the injured employee must select a physician from the Posted Panel of Physicians for treatment. If the employee is dissatisfied with the first selection, the employee is allowed one change to another physician from the Posted Panel of Physicians.

If the employer does not properly fulfill the rules of law regarding a panel of physicians and properly educate an employee about its use, then the employee in many circumstances may select his own doctor. Contact Steven W. Gardner & Associates at (770) 933-8661, steven@stevenwgardner.com for more information.

A physician’s bills and other medical bills are fully covered if a physician on the Posted Panel of Physicians treats the employee. All medical charges are paid according to the State Board of Workers Compensation of Georgia Medical Fee Schedule. Should the employee choose, however, to go to a physician that is not on the Posted Panel of Physicians, this may be considered unauthorized treatment and the company may not be required to pay for the charges.

When the employee seeks medical treatment from a posted panel of physicians, payment will be made in accordance with the State Board of Workers Compensation of Georgia Medical Fee Schedule for the related charges of the physician, hospital, radiologist, physical therapist, etc. If the employee receives a referral to another physician by the authorized treating physician and the treatment is related to the on-the-job injury, charges from this physician are also covered.

Workers’ compensation benefits also include payments for medical and surgical supplies, prosthetic devices, and medical aids damaged or destroyed in a compensable accident that has caused injury. The employee’s parking and mileage to and from medical appointments are also reimbursable. If the employee or the healthcare provider fails to submit its charges within one year of the date of service, they have waived their right to collect such charges.

Georgia Workers Compensation Income Benefits

An injured employee is entitled to receive weekly temporary total disability benefits if the employee misses more than seven days from work. The first check should be mailed within 21 days after the first day the employee misses work. If the employee is out more than 21 consecutive days due to his or her injury, the employee will be paid for the first seven days. The employee will receive two-thirds of his/her average weekly wage, but not more than the maximum rate provided by the Act at the time of injury.

Four basic income benefits exist under the State of Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law to which an employee may be entitled. The maximum amount of workers’ compensation benefits an employee can receive from an on-the-job injury, illness or death depends on the workers’ compensation rate at the time of the injury and the employee’s average weekly wage.

Contact Experienced Georgia Workers Compensation Lawyers at Steven W Gardner & Associates, telephone (770) 933-8661, to discuss how the income benefits under Georgia laws OCGA Section 34-9-261, OCGA Section 34-9-262, OCGA Section 34-9-263 and OCGA Section 34-9-265 relate to your case.