If you have been injured on the job in Georgia and filed for workers’ compensation benefits, you probably know that you will be receiving a weekly check. However, you likely have many other questions about the process, the amount of the payment, and are the workers’ comp benefits taxed? You’ll be especially curious if you have never had a workplace injury before. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and accompanying answers.
How much will my wage benefit be under workers’ compensation?
If you have been injured, your physician will determine if you have a partial or total disability. This is done through the restrictions he assigns. If the doctor states you cannot work at all then you should be entitled to temporary total disability benefits. If he states you can return to work with certain restrictions, then you may be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits.
Regardless of which type of benefits you are to receive, you will start with determining your average weekly wage (AWW). This sum is usually derived from the last thirteen (13) weeks of your gross wages. That is the only window that is considered when calculating the average weekly wage. Then the calculation is as follows:
2/3 (.667) x AWW (average weekly wage) = weekly workers’ compensation rate.
Note that the most you can receive in Georgia is $575 per week for temporary total disability benefits under workers’ compensation. If your calculation returns a number greater than this, you will be capped at $575.
How much will my wage benefit be for partial disability?
If your injury does not merit total disability, you will be granted “partial disability” status and returned to work in a light-duty capacity. The problem with light-duty work is that it may pay less. Workers’ compensation is designed to help make up for the difference.
To figure out your payment, calculate the difference between your average weekly wage and current wages, then multiply that amount by 2/3. The calculation for partial disability weekly payments looks like this:
(Average weekly wage – new wages) x 2/3 = weekly temporary partial workers’ compensation payment
To illustrate how this plays out, let’s say that your average weekly wage is $400 and you now make $250 per week doing light work. The difference between your AWW and current payments is $150, and 2/3 of this amount is $100. Thus, you will now be making $250 per week for performing your new job plus $100 in temporary partial disability benefits (TPD) through workers’ compensation.
There is a separate cap on TPD benefits. The most you can receive in Georgia for TPD is $383 per week, so if your calculation returns a number greater than this, you will be capped at $383.
How long will I receive benefits?
As benefits are based on your restrictions as ordered by the doctor, there is not guarantee on how many weeks you will receive benefits. The maximum number of weeks for temporary total disability benefits is 400 from the date of injury. For temporary partial disability benefits you may receive 350 weeks of benefits from the date of injury.
If your claim is deemed catastrophic, you may be eligible for benefits past these limits. A catastrophic designation is reserved for the most serious injuries such as loss of body parts, burns over a certain percentage of the body, or paralysis.
Should I settle?
There is always the opportunity of settling your workers’ compensation case. If you settle, you will get a lump sum of money instead of weekly benefits. People often choose this option to escape the stress of fighting with their employer and their employer’s insurance company. The challenge is determining if the money you receive in your lump sum settlement payment is too low. Will it be enough to cover your ongoing medical expenses? If you are unsure, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. With years of experience in the industry, workers’ compensation attorneys have a good feel for the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide if you should settle a workers’ compensation claim.