You can lose your job while on workers’ compensation. In Georgia, it’s not illegal to fire an employee when receiving indemnity benefits or medical treatment.
After a workplace injury, you might assume your job status is protected. No one wants to get injured while working, though you certainly hope your employer will have your back when an accident happens. Many, however, are shocked to learn that you can lose your job while on workers’ compensation in Georgia.
What You Should Know About Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Laws
In Georgia, state laws permit employers and employees to terminate their contracts ‘at-will.’ The State Board of Workers’ Compensation outlines that every workplace with at least three employees needs workers’ compensation. Yet, these regulations don’t extend to mandates on how employers should treat injured staff. Georgia doesn’t protect workers from termination following a workers’ compensation filing.
While you can’t protect yourself from termination after an injury, acquiring representation can ease the stress when pursuing fair benefits. Your lawyer can give you tips on how you can navigate this complex benefits program.
Your Benefits When Fired on Workers’ Compensation
Many people assume that getting fired is a retaliatory act against filing for workers’ compensation. This is one of the main reasons many workers choose not to file after being injured. Although, no matter how much you feel you need to protect your job, getting medical and wage-loss benefits is your right.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim gives you access to the following:
Compensation for Medical Costs
After suffering a work-related injury, you are eligible to receive treatment at no cost at all. Your medical provider is restricted by law from billing you for any treatment you receive. Notifying them that you are on workers’ compensation gives you access to these benefits.
A workplace injury can leave you temporarily or permanently disabled. Under workers’ compensation, you are eligible to receive payments for:
- Temporary total disability (TTD)
- Temporary partial disability (TPD)
- Permanent partial disability (PPD)
- Permanent total disability (PTD)
In circumstances where you get fired, your disability payments should continue. Weekly checks with your doctor can ensure that you continue to receive these payments as you heal. Those capable of completing light duties or restricted work are expected to seek new jobs to enjoy workers’ compensation benefits. However, you can receive help looking for a new job or getting training.
How Can You Lose Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Georgia’s workers’ compensation protection operates at a no-fault system, which means you are covered whether you were responsible or not. If your injury was somehow work-related, you are automatically covered. But, some conditions can disqualify someone from benefits.
Injuries not covered by workers’ compensation include:
Engaging in a Fight
If a workplace injury occurs because of fighting, it is not covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer can fire you for this, given that it amounts to gross misconduct.
Horseplay or ‘Goofing Off’
Horseplay is a term that encompasses any pranks and jokes that can create harmful conditions in the workplace. When horseplay has nothing to do with tasks in the workplace, those impacted by them might not be eligible for compensation.
Injuries Caused By Drug Use
Sometimes, a worker may get hurt when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The use of drugs can be enough to disqualify one from workers’ compensation.
Failure to Cooperate With the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act
Failure to cooperate with the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act can jeopardize your benefits. Failing to report injuries, cooperate with your employer/physician, or return to work can affect your eligibility. You must honor all expectations to receive full benefits.
Ultimately, workers’ compensation was designed to support workers as they recover. To receive these benefits before you resume gainful employment, you must reasonably meet expectations.
Consider Hiring a Lawyer to Handle Your Workers’ Compensation Case
If you or a loved one was injured in the workplace, you could retain legal representation. We can help you file a claim for benefits (or a lawsuit if you were harmed by a third party). George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can get to the bottom of the issue and pursue fair benefits.
How Can George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers Help?
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers have helped countless clients succeed in their workers’ compensation cases. We do not charge for services offered unless the case is won. The amount you pay is established between you and your lawyer.
Call us today at (888) 612-7001 and obtain a free consultation. Let us help you get the care and protection you deserve.