In Georgia, if there is a dispute as to medical treatment or entitlement to income benefits or any issue in a workers’ compensation claim, any party can petition for the case to be heard before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. At this point, the “law suit” is conducted by a quasi-judicial tribunal. These workers’ compensation cases are heard all around the State before numerous “administrative law judges” or ALJ’s who have been appointed by the Chairperson of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. There is no jury in a workers’ compensation trial. In fact, the proceeding is really called an evidentiary “hearing”, and they are handled by the Trial Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Practically, this hearing is a “bench trial.” After the case is heard, the parties are given the opportunity to draft summary briefs for the ALJ to consider. Subsequently, the ALJ will publish his or her ruling or “Award” a few months after the evidence is received and the briefs are submitted.
If a party is dissatisfied with the Award, it may appeal to the Appellate Division of the State Board. Further appeals can be made to the county’s Superior Court and then to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Georgia.
If you have been hurt on the job and may need to go to court, please contact the Ramos Law Firm for a free consultation.
Unfortunately, injured workers are terminated (or fired) because of their work injuries more often than not. In these situations, the injured employee may have a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This blog will address the workers’ rights under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. Presuming the reason why the claimant was injured was due to a workers’ compensation accident, the injured employee may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits include weekly income benefits and medical treatment.
If the injured employee was fired because of his or her workers’ compensation injury, the worker may be entitled to income benefits. If the employee was fired for a reason “unrelated” to the work injury, the injured employee carries the burden of looking for suitable employment within his or her physical limitations related to the work injury. In other words, the claimant, who was terminated for a reason unrelated to the work injury, has to look for work that he or she can do as soon as possible. Additionally, this job search must be “diligent” and “sincere.” To prove the claimant was sincerely and diligently looking for work, he or she must have enough evidence to show the judge. This evidence will include a job diary, applications, resumes, cover letters, and other documents that the judge can consider.
Presuming that the injured employee cannot find work, the reason for this inability must be because of the work injury. Therefore, the Employee must reveal his or her physical restrictions to the prospective employer. If the prospective employer is simply “not hiring”, this will not help the employee’s claim for benefits. Nevertheless, the claimant should document all of his or her job search efforts.
If you have been “let go”, “fired”, or “terminated” while being in the workers’ compensation system and you want to know your options, please feel free to contact the Ramos Law Firm.
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