Getting injured on the job can be stressful, especially if you don’t know your rights or understand what to do next. The good thing is that most injuries incurred while at work are covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are some types of injuries that are not covered by insurance. Covered injuries include ones that:
- were incurred due to the employee’s negligence or disregard for safety policies
- can be fixed by the contents of a first-aid kit such as minor cuts, scrapes, burns, or headache.
- were incurred as a result of the employee’s own intoxication or substance abuse
- were sustained from violent interactions with others while at work
- are from an existing condition that is not related to the job
- are not incurred while doing a work-related task during a work-related event or activity
Report the Injury
The first thing you need to do in you are injured, no matter the cause of the injury, is to report the injury to your supervisor and employer. In the state of Georgia, you have 30 days to report an injury that occurred on the job.
Get list of Approved Doctors
Under your employer’s insurance, they will have a list of approved doctors, or panel of physicians, that you are allowed to see regarding your work injury. If your supervisor or employer does not give you this list, be sure to ask them for it. You can also contact the HR department for a copy of the list. If you do receive the list, or there is a posted list at your workplace, and you see a doctor that is not on that list, your employer can use that to deny your workers’ compensation benefits.
Seek Medical Treatment
Once you have the list of approved doctors, go see one of them. It is important to have your injuries assessed by a doctor in order to receive any workers’ compensation. If you can only make an appointment on weekends or evenings, after the doctor’s offices are closed, you may go to the emergency room or your family doctor. Even if there is a posted list, your employer and their insurance must pay for emergency treatment. Ask your doctor about any work restrictions or follow up appointments and be sure to follow their instructions.
Request Copy of Report/Notes
Your supervisor should have made a written report describing the incident. Ask your employer for a copy of the report they filed with their insurance. This report could help you determine your need to hire a lawyer and give insight into your workers’ compensation claim. If your supervisor will not make a written report, you should make a report for your own records.
File Worker’s Compensation Claim
In order to receive workers’ compensation, you have to complete Form WC-14 and file it with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Once you file, send a copy to your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance provider.
Update your Employer
It is important to keep your employer updated throughout the process, from injury to settlement. Let them know when you have seen a doctor and what was said. If you are unable to return to work for an extended period, ask them about their policies for callouts during this time.
Contact the Insurer
Employers with more than 3 regular employees should have workers’ compensation insurance provider. Make sure you contact them to inform them of your injury and claim. They cannot help you if they do not know you were injured. Your HR department should send the first report to their insurance provider. Ask for the name and phone number of your adjuster, the person handling your claim. You can verify the report with the adjuster. You can also contact the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Coverage Department at 404-656-3692 to get the insurance information and notify the insurer yourself.
If you have questions about your workplace injury claim, talk with your supervisor or a member of HR. The best way you can help yourself is to communicate with your employer and stay up to date on all appointments and documents.