New Georgia Worker's Comp Bill Goes Into Effect

July 3, 2013
by Sammons & Carpenter, P.C.

In April, our Atlanta worker's compensation lawyers read about how the Georgia legislature passed a new worker's comp law. The law was passed by the House in February and the Senate in March, and was signed by the Governor on May 6. Just this week, on July 1, the law went into effect. The law is House Bill 154 and it makes a number of changes to the state's worker's comp law that may be important for future workers injured on the job.

One major change in the new law is that it limits the length of time certain worker's comp claimants can receive medical care for their injuries. The new limit for some injuries is 400 weeks. Previously, the law allowed for all injuries to continue to be treated as long as required, even if that meant treatment for the rest of the claimant's life. Medical benefits for worker's comp cases include things like surgery, hospital care, and other treatments prescribed by a doctor; this also includes prosthetics and other devices that may have been destroyed in the workplace accident. The treatments covered must be found to be "reasonably required" by the State Board of Worker's Compensation, and that these treatments will help the injured worker be cured, get relief, or allow him or her to work again.

Now, from July 1, there is a new step to determine what type of injury is involved in the worker's comp claim. Only if the injury is classified as "catastrophic" will the claimant be able to get medical treatment for the injury as long as necessary, even if lifetime treatment is required. All other non-catastrophic injuries are subject to the 400 week limitation. A list of injuries that do qualify as catastrophic is included in the law. These are: spinal cord injuries with paralysis; injuries requiring amputation of an arm, hand, leg, or foot; brain injuries that cause serious disturbances in sensory, motor or communication functions; second or third degree burns over 25 percent or more of the body; third degree burns over five percent of the face or hands; and total or industrial blindness. There is a final category to include other non-foreseeable catastrophic injuries, which covers injuries that prevent the claimant from doing his or her previous work and any other substantially available work for someone with similar qualifications.

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Atlanta Worker's Compensation Attorneys

If you or someone you love has been injured on the job, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter can help you understand your legal options. Worker's compensation cases can be tricky, and now there is a new step in the process to determine the amount of care you may receive. It is important to find an attorney experienced in this area, and our firm has helped clients get the compensation they need and deserve. Contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.

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