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Big Changes to Workers Compensation Law In Georgia

• May 3rd, 2013

Workers compensation law in Georgia has had relatively few changes over the past few years.  This year, however,  the Georgia Legislature passed changes to the Statute that will effect the rights of the injured worker in both good and bad ways.


Workers’ Compensation Law In Georgia- Changes In Medical Care

This blog will discuss the changes to workers compensation law in Georgia including injured worker’s right to medical care.  Injured workers who are injured after July 1, 2013,  will no longer be automatically entitled to medical care for the remainder of his or her life.  This will only affect injured workers whose accident date is July 1, 2013 or later.  If you are currently receiving workers’ compensation due to an on the job injury you will still be entitled to medical care for your injuries for the remainder of your life, as long as no intervening accident occurs to the same body part.   For example, if you have a car accident and you injure the same body part as the work injury accident then the insurance company is going to claim that it is no longer responsible for your medical care.  This may or may not be true depending on the severity of the intervening accident.


Workers Compensation Law In Georgia Changes Are Effective July 1, 2013

For all injuries occurring on or before June 30,2013 the prior law remains in effect and the injured worker remains entitled to lifetime medical benefits.   After June 30, 2013 the medical benefits will change under the new workers compensation law in Georgia.  If you have an on the job injury on or after July 1, 2013 the insurance company will only pay for the medical expenses related to your injury for 400 weeks from the date of injury.  This is a significant change in the worker’s compensation law in Georgia and one that will dramatically affect the insurance company’s financial exposure when it is time to discuss settlement of the claim.  Potential future medical exposure is included in part of the settlement negotiations and it still will be an important part of settlements in all pre-June 30 2013 accidents.

Life-Time Benefit Changes Under The New Workers Compensation Law In Georgia

Under the new workers compensation law in Georgia the insurance companies will only pay for the injured worker’s lifetime medical care if the case is deemed catastrophic. Some injuries are automatically considered catastrophic, such as the loss of a limb.  Other injuries have to be proven to be catastrophic and designated by the Board as catastrophic.  If the injury is considered catastrophic either by virtue of the type of injury or because the injury was deemed so by the Board of Workers’ Compensation, then the insurance company will be responsible for medical expenses that are related to the work injury for the remainder of the injured worker’s life.

This is just one of the big changes in the workers compensation law in Georgia. Again, if you are already injured and receiving workers’ compensation this change does not apply to you.

If you have any questions about any of your benefits or would like to learn more about catastrophic designations then please call Sunne Law for a free consultation.


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