Kathleen Willcox Williams

Kathleen Willcox Williams

Attorney at Law

Things That HURT A Workers Compensation Case

Unfortunately, it happens every day: people get hurt at work.  If this has happened to you, please note that there are several things which may have a major impact on whether you will be eligible for benefits under Georgia law, the quality of those benefits, and for how long they will be provided. 

  • You MUST report the accident to a superviser.  The best thing is usually to let your supervisor know as soon as you know you have been hurt at work.  On many occasions, I have talked with people who value their jobs and are concerned about reporting an accident, but to get the protections Georgia law makes available, the best thing really is to tell a supervisor about the injury as soon as you know about it.
  • It is usually in your interest to seek medical care IMMEDIATELY, or as soon as reasonably possible.  Just as often happens when injuries are not reported as soon as claimants know about them, when claimants do not seek medical care quickly after they know about the injury, it opens up a whole line of "it's not really that bad" arguments about the case.  Work injuries are serious business; help me help you get your injury taken seriously by you taking your injury seriously from the start.
  • Check the PANEL OF PHYSICIANS your employer has posted at your job.  If there is no posted panel of physicians at your work place, call a workers' compensation lawyer!  If there is a panel of physicians, your employer or their insurance company does have the right to limit your choices to doctor listed on the posted panel of physicians.  Unfortunately for injured workers, part of the "deal" that was made when the laws about workers' compensation were passed is that the employers and thier insurers get a say in which doctors an injured worker sees.  Please keep in mind that just going to any doctor, your regular doctor, or the emergency room (unless directed by your doctor or in an actual emergency) may not be covered under the workers' compensation system and may complicate your case.
  • BE TRUTHFUL with the doctor you see about your work injury.  Even if the doctor is one selected by your employer or their insurance company, it is in your interest to tell the truth about how you were injured, where you were injured, and the extent of the injuries you know about.  Make sure you tell the doctors about every part of your body that you know is injured.  It is also important to be honest about the extent of your injuries.  Your work injury is serious, and you do not need to "oversell" how bad it is.  Just tell the doctors and nurses the truth.
  • See your doctors without the employer's or insurer's nurse case manager
  • Cooperate with the workers' compensation doctor.  The doctor may have been chosen by your employer or their insurance company, but he or she is still your doctor for this injury at this time.  It is really in your interest to reasonably cooperate with that doctor.  If you are not happy with how your treatment is progressing, call a workers' compensation lawyer to discuss how you might be able to get a second opinion from another doctor within the workers' compensation case. 
  • Returning to work too soon can have a major impact on your case.  Georgia law has a fair, reasonable procedure in place, using a form called a WC 240, to help people who have been hurt at work get back to work while they are on light duty restrictions.  It is in your interest to make sure that procedure is followed in your case.  Call a workers' compensation lawyer to discuss this in detail in connection with your particular case.
  • Hiring and firing a lot of lawyers makes it hard for your case to ultimately settle and probably makes it hard for you to ultimately negotiate the best settlement value for your case.  If you really feel your interests are not being represented, you may need to make a change.  However, keep in mind that there are frustrating delays in almost every workers' compensation case.  Insurance companies often cut off benefits without legal justification in workers' compensation cases, and if your lawyer is already taking steps to deal with this, there may not be much a different lawyer can do to make things happen faster.
  • Filing for Social Security Disability or bankruptcy while you are recovering from a work injury can have major impacts on your workers' compensation case.

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