State Employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits

It is not surprising that the largest employer of Georgia workers is the State of Georgia itself.  The State of Georgia has dozens of agencies from the State Accounting Office to the Department of Transportation.  Under the workers’ compensation code, state workers are included as eligible employees for benefits should they be injured on the job. Not unlike any other injured worker, the state employee who is injured on the job, either by a traumatic accident such as a prison guard being attacked by an inmate or by a repetitive or cumulative motion injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome that a clerical assistant or worker at the State Personnel Office may incur, may be entitled to weekly benefits and medical treatment.  The threshold questions are (1) whether the worker was in fact an employee of the State, and (2) whether the accident arose out of and in the course of employment. The answers to both questions must be “yes.” As another general example, should an officer with the Georgia State Patrol be injured as a result of a car accident when chasing a criminal or shot in the line of duty, the officer would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  Specifically, he or she would be entitled to weekly income benefits should he or she miss time from work as well as medical treatment relating to the injuries sustained in the accident.  Furthermore, in the event the injured officer may need mental health counseling for depression or post-traumatic stress, the psychiatric or psychological sessions would also be covered, provided that the officer also had physical injuries. The state workers or employees can receive up...

Attorneys Contribute Time In Educating Latino Community About Workers’ Compensation Rights

In conjunction with the Georgia State Bar and the YLD’s Minorities In the Profession Committee, the Ramos Law Firm organized and presented “Law Day” to the Latin American Association in Atlanta, Georgia on June 27, 2009. The event was designed to provide an educational forum to spread awareness in the Latino community about their legal rights. Bryan Ramos, the founder and principal of the Ramos Law Firm, presented a seminar on the “Essential Elements of Workers’ Compensation” which was aimed at the specific obstacles particular to the Hispanic worker. Other seminars covered areas including immigration, family, criminal, and consumer law. Additionally, representatives from the Atlanta Legal Aid, Injured Workers’ Pharmacy, Georgia Legal Services, and the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless participated in the event. According to Adriana Sola Capifali, the event chairperson, the participation was “ten times that of prior events.” Through these efforts, she hopes to further the mission of “representing Hispanic workers and preventing any unfair exploitation.” The attorneys at the Ramos Law Firm have handled hundreds of claims including spinal cord injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee and shoulder pain, amputation injuries, and neurological trauma. The Latin American Association helps Latino families achieve their aspirations for their academic, social and economic development. The Association accomplishes this through direct programs and integrated community partnerships that focus on youth academic achievement, education and prevention, and services to families with urgent needs. For more information, please contact Bryan Ramos at the Ramos Law...

Make-A-Wish Foundation Recognizes The Ramos Law Firm

Since it’s Friday we thought we’d keep it light today.  At the Ramos Law Firm we like to promote community involvement and get involved ourselves.  Earlier this year several attorneys, staff members and their families participated in the Walk for Wishes to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In appreciation for those fundraising efforts we recently received this certificate which tells the story of Chase.  Chase is an 11 year old boy who had a “puppy wish”.  Make-A-Wish, with the help of all its donors, was able to provide Chase with a puppy and the means to care for that puppy for quite some time. If you would like to get involved please visit their site.  You can donate in several ways other than monetarily. [nggallery...

How Will I Receive Medical Treatment if My Workers’ Comp Claim is Controverted?

When the Employer/Insurer “controverts” or determines a workers’ compensation claim is not compensable, the Employer/Insurer will not pay for the injured Employee’s medical treatment. Consequently, the injured Employee will be responsible for finding a physician to treat with and for payment of his or her medical bills.  This determination does not necessarily mean the injured workers’ claim has ended.  It is merely the position the Employer/Insurer has taken.  It will be the claimant’s burden to prove that the Employer/Insurer is wrong. From a practical perspective, the Employee has the daunting task of locating a qualified physician to continue treatment. When a claim is controverted, the Employee may choose to treat with a physician of his or her choice, pursuant to Board Rule 201(b).  This Board Rule  states that “the Employer/Insurer cannot restrict treatment of the Employee to the panel of physicians, conformed panel of physicians, or WC/MCO when the claim has been controverted.” Therefore, the Employee is free to choose his or her authorized treating physician. Although an injured Employee has greater control of his or her medical treatment when a claim is controverted, the Employee is still left with the challenge of paying for medical treatment.  Since the cost for medical treatment will escalate within a short period of time, an Employee must consider alternatives to paying for medical treatment either out of pocket or through another insurance carrier.  An attractive alternative for Employees is to identify a physician who will provide medical treatment on a “lien basis”.  Treating on a lien basis means the Employee will not pay for medical treatment or services at the time the treatment is rendered,...

What Role Does Medical History Play in Workers’ Compensation Claims?

Most individuals enjoy a certain level of privacy regarding their medical history.  Most employees are weary about sharing intimate details about their medical history with the employer/insurer; however, pursuant to O.C.G.A. 34-9-207, the employer/insurer may be entitled to this information. In a Georgia workers’ compensation claim, an employee’s personal health information can be used by the employer/insurer to assess the compensability of a claim.   Medical records are of interest to the employer/insurer because these records reveal whether an injured worker has previous injuries to the body part injured in the work accident at issue or pre-existing conditions (such as diabetes or high blood pressure).  It is critical to investigate previous injuries because the employer/insurer may not be liable for payment of medical treatment for an injury which occurred before the accident at issue and/or did not occur in the course and scope of the employee’s employment.  Additionally, if an injured worker is a diabetic or suffers from high blood pressure, these pre-existing conditions can slow down an injured worker’s recuperation or cause complications in healing. For example, if an injured worker sustains a broken ankle and is also suffering from type 2 diabetes, but is non-compliant with her diabetes treatment plan, he or she may experience delays in her recuperation due to poor circulation or possible nerve damage in the lower extremities.  In the aforementioned example, the repercussion of non-compliance with her diabetes treatment plan can lead to serious complications, which may prevent the employee from returning to work and may sever the employer/insurer’s liability for continued medical treatment for the broken ankle.  The employer/insurer will point to this fact to deny future...