What Is the Average Workers Comp Settlement in Georgia?
There is no average workers’ compensation settlement in Atlanta, as each case is unique. The settlement amount depends on various factors, including the severity of the injury, the cost of medical treatments, the amount of lost wages, and how the injury may impact your future earnings capacity. However, the workers’ compensation benefits you can receive each week are currently capped at $675.
Employers in Georgia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. No matter how careful and responsible you are at work, someone else’s negligence, repetitive motions performed daily for years on end, or a random stroke of bad luck can leave you injured and unable to work for several weeks or months.
Although weekly workers’ compensation checks can help pay your medical bills and replace lost earnings, the amount you receive may not be enough to pay your bills and put food on the table. Workers’ compensation benefits also don’t cover intangible damages like pain and suffering resulting from injuries.
If your weekly benefits aren’t sustainable or will run out before you can fully recover, consider discussing your case with a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney who can provide advice based on your unique circumstances.
Factors that Affect the Workers’ Comp Settlement Amount
Several factors can impact the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you receive, including:
- The severity of your injury: More severe injuries usually result in higher settlements. Permanent disabilities or injuries that require long-term medical treatment tend to have higher settlement amounts.
- The cost of medical treatments: Medical expenses are often the largest part of a workers’ comp claim. If your injuries require extensive treatment, surgery, or rehabilitation, it can significantly increase the value of your settlement.
- The amount of lost wages: Workers’ compensation benefits aim to replace lost earnings for employees unable to work due to injuries. If your injury prevents you from working for an extended period, the amount of lost wages will increase, and so will your settlement.
- Impact on future earnings: Some injuries can impact a person’s ability to earn income. For example, you may be entitled to future lost earnings benefits if you cannot return to your previous job or have reduced capacity to perform certain tasks due to your injuries.
- The type of injury: Certain types of injuries, such as head or spinal cord injuries, tend to result in higher settlement amounts due to the severity and impact on an individual’s life.
- Other factors: Other factors such as age, pre-existing conditions, and the circumstances surrounding the injury can also affect the settlement amount.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Settlements in Atlanta
When you’re out of work for at least seven days due to a work-related injury, you’re entitled to temporary disability benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. Under Georgia law, workers comp settlements provide the following benefits:
- Weekly compensation in the amount of two-thirds of your regular weekly pay
- The amount is capped at $675
- You can technically receive workers’ compensation benefits for up to 400 weeks, but employers usually look for ways to decrease this timeframe
- Workers’ compensation benefits include medical care and disability payments
- Death benefits are available for surviving family members of a worker who dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness
Is a Workers’ Compensation Claim the Same as a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury and workers’ compensation claims are two different types of legal claims that can be made when a person is injured.
Employers must carry Workers’ compensation insurance to provide financial protection for their employees in case they get injured on the job. This type of claim is designed to cover medical expenses and lost wages associated with the injury they sustain on behalf of their employer.
On the other hand, personal injury claims are filed by an individual who has been injured due to the actions or inaction of another person or entity. These claims can be used to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages related to the injury.
The chief difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims is that workers’ compensation settlements don’t require proof of fault for an employee to receive benefits. In contrast, personal injury claims require establishing fault for a plaintiff to receive compensation for damages. Workers’ comp claims also don’t offer the same damages, like pain and suffering.
Workers’ comp is what’s known as an “exclusive remedy.” This means you usually won’t be able to pursue a negligence claim against your employer. However, if a third party was involved in your workplace accident (like you were injured by faulty equipment manufactured by another company or a red-light runner hit your work vehicle), you may be able to file a claim against that party.
The goal of workers’ comp claims isn’t necessarily to make the filer whole, as is the case in traditional personal injury claims. Instead, its purpose is to ensure the worker receives some wage compensation, has their injuries paid for, and aids in their return to work.
Should I Agree to a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
Whether you agree to a workers’ compensation settlement depends on your circumstances.
Although most employers will pay their injured workers weekly paychecks, some may offer a lump sum settlement. While receiving a significant chunk of money in one payment may be appealing, remember that once you sign a settlement agreement with your employers, you will likely lose your right to further benefits.
This can be problematic if you need additional medical treatment, such as surgery or another few months of physical therapy, and your settlement isn’t enough to cover these medical expenses.
Suppose your employer’s insurance company has offered you a workers’ compensation settlement. In that case, it’s essential to consider the amount of money offered, the extent of your injuries, and any other factors that may affect your decision.
You should consider consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you understand the legal implications of accepting a settlement and advise whether it is in your best interests. Lawyers may also be able to help you negotiate a better deal with the insurance company.
If you decide to move forward with a settlement, ensure you understand precisely what is included in the agreement and review it before signing off. You may even want an attorney to review it for you, too, so you can be sure it includes all the benefits you’re entitled to.
Whatever you decide, taking your time and ensuring the settlement agreement is in your best interests before signing off on anything is always a good idea.
How Can an Attorney Help with My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Navigating a workers’ compensation case can be pretty complex, especially when you’re an injured worker trying to recover while ensuring you receive a fair settlement. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide invaluable assistance, guiding you through each step of the Georgia workers’ compensation claim process and advocating on your behalf.
Some ways an attorney can help include:
Guidance on Workers’ Comp Laws and Regulations
Workers’ compensation laws can be complicated, making it challenging to navigate without experience or training. An experienced attorney can help you understand the relevant laws and regulations related to your claim, ensuring your case is appropriately handled.
Assisting with Gathering Evidence
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must provide sufficient evidence of your injuries and how they are impacting your ability to work. An attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence, including medical records, employment information, and other relevant documentation.
Handling Communication with Employers and Insurers
After a workplace injury, dealing with your employer’s insurance company can be overwhelming and stressful. An attorney can handle all communication on your behalf to ensure that your rights are protected.
If you need to negotiate a settlement with your employer or insurance company, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can greatly assist. They can help ensure you receive the maximum benefits for your injuries and lost wages.
Representing You in Court
Sometimes, a workers’ compensation claim may go to court if there is a dispute over the settlement or benefits. An attorney can represent you in court and advocate for your best interests, increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Atlanta Today
If you have been injured on the job in Atlanta, consider seeking legal advice from the Dressie Law Firm. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve and protect your rights.
Call (678) 726-1429 today to schedule a free consultation.