Georgia workers may be injured in the workplace or while performing job-related duties outside of the workplace. While some fortunate workers will recover from their injuries, many do not. Some workers never fully heal and may be eligible for Georgia’s permanent disability benefits. Such benefits may be paid in one lump sum or over several years.
Unless the injury or medical condition is self-inflicted, the employee need not establish who was at fault. The main requirement to be entitled to workers compensation benefits in Georgia is to establish that the worker’s injuries happened either at work or because of work-related activities. The place where the injury happened is not conclusive as long as it occurred while the employee was performing official duties. Workers may also be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for medical conditions that were the result of exposure to toxic fumes and other substances on the job.
In many cases, the functional effects of an occupational injury may last for the rest of the workers’ life. If the treating doctor determines that the injured worker will have long term residual effects because of the work injury, the worker may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits.
Injured workers cannot qualify for permanent disability benefits until their physician certifies that they have reached peak recovery, which means that they cannot expect improvement, even with continuing care. Generally, once the doctor issues a certification that the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement, he or she may determine what permanent effects the injury may have on the injured worker. This may done by a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) or the doctor may perform the “permanent impairment rating” assessment himself or herself. The insurance company will then make a determination of whether to accept the permanent impairment rating based on the doctor’s recommendation. The physician’s opinion on the extent of the worker’s limitations, both mental and physical, will impact the consideration for the grant of permanent disability benefits.
Sometimes the doctor’s decision will not be in harmony with what the injured worker feels. When this occurs, the best option for injured workers is to seek the help of an experienced and skilled Georgia worker’s compensation lawyer to help them fight for their rights.