Don't give up on a legitimate claim
If you apply for workers' compensation benefits, your company or its insurer could deny the request. Employers have sought to reduce their expenses by devoting fewer funds to injured employees. Businesses in Georgia cut workers' compensation costs by more than 4% in 2011, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Unfortunately, such achievements often come at the expense of legitimate claims.
Insurance firms and employers use many different pretexts to justify denials. They might tell you that an injury or ailment wasn't reported quickly enough. The company may also contend that your job didn't really cause a medical problem. For instance, an employer could assert that you actually suffered an injury at home or developed an illness by smoking cigarettes.
A business may have valid reasons to deny compensation. Some people try to take advantage of the system or mistakenly blame health problems on working conditions. Nonetheless, employers also dismiss many well-justified claims. If a company unfairly refuses to provide compensation, you can take steps to appeal the decision.
Before initiating legal action, communicate with your supervisor about the denial. You may also benefit from speaking to an insurance company representative. It's possible that someone made a mistake while completing or processing forms. Exercise patience and try to resolve the dispute without making accusations.
If your company remains unwilling to help, you'll have to learn about Georgia's appeal process. The State Board of Workers' Compensation can supply the forms you need to request a hearing. It's necessary to tell your employer, the insurance agency and the SBWC about an appeal. You will also need to collect evidence that supports your case. An experienced lawyer can help you prepare.
State officials may arrange a mediation session before the hearing takes place. If this happens, a professional mediator will try to help you and your employer find a solution. This gives both parties an opportunity to avoid legal action. When mediation fails, the state schedules a hearing and designates a judge to review the claim.
A hearing resembles a trial in many ways. You can use evidence and witnesses to demonstrate the validity of your claim. Co-workers and doctors may be willing to testify on your behalf. It's also possible that customers or other bystanders saw the incident that caused an injury. A judge will assess your eligibility for benefits.
If you feel that the ruling is unfair, you may appeal to the SBWC's appellate division within 20 days. The directors will review your case and make a final decision. At each step along the way, it's crucial to have a skilled attorney with workers' compensation expertise. Our law firm specializes in personal and work-related injuries that occur in Georgia. For a free consultation, please contact us at Costner Law.