When you’ve been injured at work, it’s important to check to see if your injury is covered by workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation can be confusing, and, if you don’t know what to do, you can easily destroy your case.
We understand workers compensation law and are here to help. We’ve put together this list of 5 things to check if you’ve been injured while at work to help you.
1) Does an employer / employee relationship exist?
The first thing to check is whether an Atlanta or Marietta employer/employee relationship exists. This determination is usually an easy one but sometimes the question of independent contractor status is raised.
If you are an independent contractor you will not be considered an employee under most circumstances and not entitled to workers comp benefits from the alleged employer. Factors to consider include: the intent of the parties, method of payment, length of work, definite beginning and end, furnishing of tools and equipment, skill level, control of overtime, control over subordinates, separate and distinct business, no taxes withheld, and no additional work without additional compensation. An example of an independent contractor is a house painter who is hiring one time to paint a house for a specific price.
2) How many employees are employed?
Second, does the employer have 3 or more employees employed in the regular course of business? If the employer regularly employs three or more persons in their Georgia business, it is required to provide Georgia workers’ compensation benefits. Under the law, part-time employees count.
3) Does the employer have workers’ compensation insurance?
Third, is the employer insured for workers’ compensation? Even if Marietta employers are required to have workers’ compensation coverage, sometimes the employers do not buy it even though this is against the law and will subject them to fines. Coverage for an employer can be checked by going to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation website at www.sbwc.georgia.gov and clicking the link under the “How do I verify an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage?”.
4) Was the injury reported?
If the employer is insured, report your injury to a supervisor. You will quickly find out the employer’s attitude regarding your injury. Whether the employer is in Marietta or Atlanta, Georgia, the employer should show you the posted panel and let you choose a doctor. However, there are some defenses that are available to an employer or insurance company anywhere in Georgia including Marietta or Atlanta. These defenses include the lunch break defense, the horseplay defense, the intoxication defense, the idiopathic fall defense and the causation defense.
5) Locate the employer’s posted panel of physicians so you can choose a doctor.
Here you will want the assistance of an attorney. If the employer is in Marietta, the posted panel will likely have doctors located around the Marietta area. If the employer is in Buckhead or Atlanta, those doctors will also likely be from Buckhead or Atlanta, Georgia. An experienced workers’ comp attorney from Marietta or Atlanta can help you choose a doctor that is more friendly to you. Also, a top attorney can tell you whether the panel of doctors is even valid. If the panel is not valid, you can choose any doctor you want.
Get Help Quickly!
Don’t wait until things go ‘south’ to contact a workers compensation lawyer. Zack Hendon is an experienced workers’ compensation from Marietta and Atlanta who can assist you with your choice. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and decide if and/or when to enlist the help. Call (770) 284-3737 to schedule your free consultation today.