Do I get paid if I miss time at work due to a work injury in Georgia?

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What happens if I miss time from work due to a work related injury in Georgia?  If you are injured due to a work accident, and are forced to miss time from your job, you are entitled to be paid income replacement benefits.  The types of income replacement benefits available include temporary total disability benefits ("TTD"), temporary partial disability benefits ("TPD"), and permanent partial disability benefits ("PPD").

What are temporary total disability benefits?

Temporary total disability, also known as TTD benefits, are available if an injured worker is unable to work at all.  Additionally, TTD benefits may be available if an injured Georgia worker is given work restrictions by their treating physician, and the employer is unable to accommodate the work restrictions.  For example, if a physician places an injured worker on restrictions of lifting no more than 10 pounds, but the employer does not have a job available that can be performed without lifting more than 10 pounds, the injured worker would be entitled to receive TTD benefits.

What are temporary partial disability benefits?

Temporary partial disability benefits, also knows as TPD benefits, are available if an injured worker earns less money as a result of a work accident.   For example, say an injured worker normally works 50 hours per week, which results in 10 hours of overtime.  Following a work accident, the injured worker is only able to work 30 hours per week (because they are only physically able to perform 30 hours of work per week, or because their employer only schedules them to work for 30 hours per week.)  In this case, the injured worker is entitled to receive TPD benefits that make up two-thirds of the difference in their pre-injury and post-injury earnings.

What are permanent partial disability benefits?

Permanent partial disability benefits, also known as PPD benefits, are available to an injured worker to compensate for permanent loss of an injured body part.  In the event a physician says there is no additional medical treatment available that can improve an injured workers condition, and the injured worker continues to be limited physically due to the work injury, the treating physician will give the injured worker an impairment rating.  The rating, usually given in a percentage of a body part (i.e. 5% to the arm, or 7% to the lower extremity), is then converted to a number of weeks based on a chart found in O.C.G.A. §34-9-263.  For example, say an injured worker is given a 5% PPD rating to their arm.  Looking at the chart below we see an arm is eligible for a maximum of 225 weeks of benefits.  5% of 225 = 11.25.  So in this scenario, an injured worker would be entitled to PPD benefits in the amount of  11.25 weeks worth of income benefits.

Body part injured Maximum weeks allowed for PPD Benefits
Thumb 60
1st (index) finger 40
2nd (middle) finger 35
3rd (ring) finger 30
4th (little) finger 25
Arm 225
Foot 135
Leg 225
Eye 150
Great (big) toe 30 30
Other toes 20
Hand 160
Disfigurement None
Disability/whole body 300
Loss of hearing (one ear)/total industrial 75
Loss of hearing (both ears)/total industrial 150

How often does an injured worker get paid in Georgia?

Georgia law requires an employer/insurer send weekly checks to an injured worker who is unable to work, or who now earns less, due to their work injury.  If the payment is late, it is possible that the employer/insurer also owe an additional 15% late payment penalty.

How much will an injured workers benefits be in Georgia?

An injured Georgia worker is entitled to receive 2/3 of their average pre-injury wage.    In order to calculate the injured workers average pre-injury weekly wage,  Georgia law requires the use of injured workers earnings for the 13 weeks preceding the injury.   Included in these earnings are overtime, commission, and other monetary benefits provided by an employer.  As of July 1, 2023, the maximum weekly TTD is $800, while the maximum weekly TPD benefit is $533, and maximum PPD benefit is $800 per week.  The maximum cap on weekly benefits has changed over time.  The chart below demonstrates the applicable weekly benefit cap based on the date of the injury.

Date of Injury Maximum TTD weekly payment Maximum TPD weekly payment Maximum PPD weekly payment
July 1, 2023 - present $800 $533 $800
July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 $725 $483 $725
July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2022 $675 $450 $675
July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019 $575 $383 $575
July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016 $550 $367 $550

For example, a worker who earns $900 per week is entitled to receive TTD benefits in the amount of $600 per week until they are able to physically return to work.  This is because $600 is 2/3 of their pre-injury average weekly wage.

Another example would be an injured worker who earns $1,500 per week.  Although 2/3 of their average weekly wage is $1,000, Georgia law caps the weekly benefit at $800.  So in this scenario, the injured worker would only be entitled to receive $800 per week in TTD benefits.

How long can I receive workers' compensation income benefits in Georgia?

An injured Georgia worker can receive TTD benefits for a maximum of 400 weeks following their work injury.  The maximum time period to receive TPD benefits is 350 weeks from the date of the injury.

Georgia's workers' compensation law is very specialized and nuanced.  It is extremely important have an experienced Georgia workers' compensation lawyer to help maximize the value of your case and ensure you receive all the benefits you are entitled.  Give our battle tested lawyers a call today for a free consultation 770-214-2500.

 

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