In Georgia, if there is a dispute as to medical treatment or entitlement to income benefits or any issue in a workers’ compensation claim, any party can petition for the case to be heard before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. At this point, the “law suit” is conducted by a quasi-judicial tribunal. These workers’ compensation cases are heard all around the State before numerous “administrative law judges” or ALJ’s who have been appointed by the Chairperson of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. There is no jury in a workers’ compensation trial. In fact, the proceeding is really called an evidentiary “hearing”, and they are handled by the Trial Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Practically, this hearing is a “bench trial.” After the case is heard, the parties are given the opportunity to draft summary briefs for the ALJ to consider. Subsequently, the ALJ will publish his or her ruling or “Award” a few months after the evidence is received and the briefs are submitted.
If a party is dissatisfied with the Award, it may appeal to the Appellate Division of the State Board. Further appeals can be made to the county’s Superior Court and then to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Georgia.
If you have been hurt on the job and may need to go to court, please contact the Ramos Law Firm for a free consultation.