Injured employees being laid off from Briggs & Stratton in McDonough, Georgia, may be entitled to workers’ compensation income benefits. These workers will be classified in certain categories. First, if injured Briggs & Stratton workers are “out of work” on “total disability” from a work-related accident or injury and they are receiving income benefits at the time of the lay off, those workers should continue to receive those benefits. The closing of the McDonough plant will not change the status of the employee’s entitlement to benefits. These benefits may be modified if the authorized treating physician releases the injured employee to “full duty” or “regular duty” work status.
Second, if the injured workers are on “light duty” work status at the time of the lay off, they are not automatically entitled workers’ compensation income benefits. These workers have a burden to look for suitable light duty work after they have been laid off. This job search must be “diligent” and sincere. If the injured employee is not able to secure “suitable” employment elsewhere, the court must be able to “infer” that the former employee’s reason for being refused subsequent employment is due to the residual physical restrictions. This analysis will be heavily fact sensitive and attorney should be consulted.
From a medical perspective, the plant closing should have no bearing on whether an injured worker is allowed to seek further treatment for his or her occupational injury. The future medical care includes visits to the doctor, physical therapy, diagnostic centers, medication and mileage reimbursement.
The Employer, Briggs & Stratton, or any other company cannot contract around workers’ compensation. For example, if an injured worker at Briggs and Stratton accepts a “severance package”, this contract will not contain waivers of the employee’s entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits. Any waiver or release of workers’ compensation must be approved by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation by law and the employee should retain counsel to navigate him or her through this complicated process.
Insurance companies and its advocates like to believe that people live well while on workers’ compensation benefits. This is generally not true.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Capped
These workers’ compensation benefits are capped by law as to how much (more…)
In many instances, the Employer will literally add insult to your work injury by firing you because of your work injury. Unfortunately, the workers’ compensation law does not address the topics of “wrongful termination” or unjust firings. The primary analysis the State Board considers is whether (more…)
Sadly, some employees are terminated while on workers’ compensation. Businesses are created to make money. Sometimes, businesses treat employees like a piece of equipment. If the piece of equipment is broken or not functioning, some businesses will simply replace the piece of equipment and move on. Similarly, some workers who get injured on the job are handled in this fashion. One (more…)
When an employee is missing time from work because of his or her workers’ compensation injury, the injured employee may be entitled to weekly income benefits. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation law provides that these weekly income benefits be paid at a certain rate. O.C.G.A. 34-9-260 and 261. Essentially, the amount of workers’ compensation benefits depends on (more…)
How much you will receive per week on workers’ compensation is based on several factors. In the event an injured worker is unable to return to work because of her occupational accident, the law allows the injured employee to receive “indemnity benefits.” These benefits are tax free and are received on a weekly basis. The rate upon which these benefits are calculated is based upon the injured worker’s “average weekly wage” (AWW). To determine the AWW (more…)
After a physical injury at work, the employer is required to furnish the injured employee medical benefits which include medical, surgical, psychological, and other related or derivative treatment at hospitals and physical therapy facilities. See, O.C.G.A. §34-9-200(a). The employer/insurer will be entitled to (more…)
In many workers’ compensation cases, the injured worker, the employer, or insurance carrier may desire an “independent medical examination” or “second opinion.” This generally occurs when the one of the parties is dissatisfied with the current physician’s diagnosis, prognosis, or care plan. The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act does provide (more…)
The price of gasoline and the stress of battling the Atlanta traffic to get your workers’ compensation medical appointment can add “insult to injury” in some cases. In many cases, injured workers (more…)