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Category Archives: Workers Comp

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Should I Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

If you fall off a delivery dock and break your leg at work, cut off your finger while slicing vegetables at the deli, or contact a long term illness from work, workers’ compensation insurance is supposed to cover your medical expenses and pay for any lost days of work. Though employers notoriously underreport on-the-job accidents, millions of Americans are hurt at work each year. Almost 8,000 people in Georgia made official workers’ compensation claims between January and June of 2019 alone!

During the stressful aftermath of a workplace injury, employees who apply for workers’ compensation will also be facing intimidating regulations, specific deadlines, and may not even be aware of all their rights and protections.  Atlanta workers may differ from rural workers, and injury claims and procedures can vary widely by industry across Georgia.

There are steps employees can take to protect themselves in the event of a workplace injury.

  1. Immediately report every injury or work related illness to your supervisor, your HR Department, and your union representative if you have one.
  2. Visit the employer-specified medical provider, or workers compensation may not cover your full bill.
  3. Tell the medical providers you were injured on the job.
  4. Make sure your medical records are detailed and complete.
  5. Request your employer’s workers compensation policy handbook or brochure.
  6. If your employer says you’re not covered, he or she may not be correct (or may be lying). This could significantly delay your claim.

If your claim is denied or significantly delayed, perhaps it’s time to contact the best workers compensation attorney Atlanta has to offer. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney knows the laws regarding coverage in Georgia, and remember that procedures in Atlanta may differ as much from Las Angeles as from New York in important ways. Legal counsel will protect YOUR best interests and can help you navigate a sometimes daunting system during a time of physical, emotional, and financial difficulty.

Your counsel will request a formal copy of the Employee’s Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits form, accurate and detailed records of your injury (or illness), and a record of the days of missed work, dates of treatment, driving and/or expenses for medical treatment, and all of your out-of-pocket prescription costs. The more accurate your records, the stronger your case will be. Therefore, following the steps above will help you significantly during a difficult time.

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Workers Comp vs. Personal Injury Compensation Lawsuits: 5 Differences

The difference between personal injury and workers’ compensation claim may be difficult to tell as some people classify one for the other whereas they are technically not the same.

Workers’ compensation is a mandatory insurance indemnification that employees receive from their employees in case of an accident during work. On the other hand, personal injury compensation is a legal payment that is made when an individual is injured or has an accident yet it’s another person who is responsible for the loss incurred.

Private industry employers reported about 2.9 million nonfatal work-related injuries and complaints in 2016.

When you get injured while at work you could file for a personal injury compensation claim or a worker’s compensation claim depending on factors that led to the injury. They both have different procedures that must be followed and payments available.

Do you know the differences between a personal injury compensation suit and a worker’s comp lawsuit? Learn all about them here.

1. Fault

Workers’ compensation claim provides money and medical benefits to workers when they are hurt or fall sick during employment duties. In case of death of an employee, the workers’ compensation offers benefits to the dependents of the worker killed on duty. It does not matter who was at fault.

Whereas the personal injury lawsuit is formalized through a civil court to determine whose fault it was for the accident or injury. In this case, the victim must prove that the defendant is guilty of negligence that led to the accident.

2. Damages

In a worker’s compensation claim, the value of benefits is based on your average salary. You are entitled to receiving both permanent impairments and medical bills. Vocational rehabilitation to enable you to get back to work is also covered on this compensation claim.

In a personal injury claim, the damages are based on the gravity of the harm. This will include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, as well as treatment expenditures already incurred or are yet to be incurred.

Additional compensation on personal injury is of pain and suffering damages. This is not available in the workers’ compensation claim. In extreme cases, victims in the personal injury claim may receive punitive damages as punishment to the defendant and discourage future wrongdoing.

Punitive damages are not available in the workers’ compensation claims.

3. Ability to Sue

As the workers’ compensation insurance covers for damages incurred by the victim, it may be difficult to sue the employer.

In the personal injury claim, the victim can sue the employer as long as they can provide evidence of direct involvement or responsibility for the accident.

4. Pursuing the Claim

In personal injury compensation, the victim’s lawyer brings a claim through the defendants’ insurance company. The attorney for a personal injury case will negotiate for a fair settlement or file a lawsuit on behalf of their client.

Whereas in the workers’ compensation, the victim files for claim through the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.

5. Financial Obligation

In the workers’ compensation case, benefits are paid by the employer’s insurance company. In the personal injury claim, damages are covered by the business insurance policy or the defendant may personally pay for the damages.

Know When to File for Personal Injury Compensation and Workers’ Compensation

When injured at work, consider legal remedies. Determine who is liable for your injury – if it directly occurred during a work assignment, it’s a recurring accident or a one-off accident.

This action will help you determine whether to go for personal injury compensation or the workers’ compensation claim.

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2 weeks ago Laws , Workers Comp

6 Things You Shouldn’t Say To an Employment Lawyer

When your employer does something and you have a case against them, your first course of action is to contact a labor and employment law firm. Doing this could help you get an employment lawyer to represent your case. Nevertheless, you get rejected over and over again.

It might be that your case is not as good as you thought, or because you said something erroneous to the lawyer. Some things can easily turn them away so if you said any of the following phrases, do not be surprised the attorney turned his back.

1.     “Other Lawyers Would Charge Me Less”

Some attorneys charge more than others, but they are working more for their clients’ cases or because they are more experienced. If you want to have a good lawyer and win your process, don’t be petty and blame them for how much they charge. It’s their work after all, and they spent years gaining the experience, thus have the right to set their quote. Expect to be charged more sometimes, but do not complain.

2.     “My Past Lawyers Did not Pry About My Personal Interest”

This is, most likely, untrue. Attorneys usually make sure the situation is in your best interest. If you set your expectations too high and they weren’t realistic, then it’s not on the attorney, but on you. Telling this to a potential lawyer will make them think poorly about you.

3.     “I would Like to Negotiate the Fee Over Phone”

Fees are already quoted and cannot be negotiated. The lawyer chooses how much he charges for their services. Consequently, refrain from saying this if you want them to consider your case.

4.     “This Is an Easy Win”

Is it, really? If the case is so easy, why do you need a lawyer in the first place? Keep in mind that attorneys work hard to obtain their status, so if they win, it has nothing to do with how easy your claim is. There are situations when attorneys lose. If they win, it’s because of their skills and not an unchallenging case.

5.     “I Want a Pro Se Lawyer”

Lawyers have become lawyers not only because they like it.  They also need to make money and feed their families too. As such, they won’t work for free, and should not. There are no-cost services that might work if you need it, but not employment attorneys.

6.     “I Didn’t Fill Out the Questionnaire”

A questionnaire is necessary if you want the lawyer to have every fact that could help the case. Attorneys are busy and don’t have time to ask for every single piece of evidence. Make sure to always fill out everything that will be favorable to your claim.

When seeking the help of an employment attorney, you need to show respect and professionalism. Don’t utter the above phrases, or every lawyer will reject you. Make sure to behave suitably and build a good relationship.

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2 months ago Workers Comp

Workers’ Compensation Lawyer 101: Can you sue your employer for negligence as an injured worker?

If you are wondering whether you can sue your employer after you have already received a worker’s compensation for the injury or illness you have acquired while working for your employer, then the direct answer would be a NO.

As a general rule, an employee can no longer sue their employer once they have received their compensation. However, there are a few exemptions regarding this situation. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also be able to sue a third party that directly caused your injury.

Listed below are some of the exemptions that allow you to sue your employer or a third party outside of worker’s compensation. If you want to sue your employer for negligence, you can watch this video: 

1. When your employer does not have an insurance for worker’s compensation

All state laws require every employer to have an insurance for worker’s compensation. However, if you are unlucky and you landed a job where your employer does not have a worker’s compensation insurance, then you can sue your employer in civil courts for the injuries you have suffered.

In some states, California included, they have taken the steps necessary to make a fund especially for people who were unfortunate enough to work for employers who do not have the legally required worker’s compensation insurance.

If you live in California, and your company cannot provide you with a worker’s compensation, you can choose to file a claim in the state or sue. The decision is yours to make, but it would be a better choice to get a CA workers’ compensation attorney advise you first before you make any decision.

2. When your employer intentionally caused your injury.

In many states, the law allows employees to sue their employers when the employer’s actions have caused intentional harm to the employee. However, different states have different definitions and standards for what is considered an intentional act. Therefore, it is really challenging to prove this in court. Unless, of course, your employer physically assaulted you in the workplace and you have witnesses to prove it.

Another difficulty in suing your employer for intentionally causing your injury is the length of time it takes for cases like these to get resolved. It can be difficult to guess how long it would take for your case to be resolved because it will all still depend on the circumstances surrounding your case and the laws in your state. So if your injury was caused by your employer, then it is recommended to seek the advice of a worker’s compensation lawyer.

3. When you are injured by an equipment or machine that was defective

If your injury in the workplace was due to an equipment or machine that you use for your job and the said equipment or machine is fundamentally dangerous, you can sue the manufacturer. You can hold them accountable and sue them for your pain and suffering.

Of course, you must first be able to prove in court that the manufacturer knew of the inherent danger of the equipment or machine, and did not do anything about it. For example, during their quality control of the equipment or machine, it showed some signs that it could be dangerous, but they went ahead and sold it anyway. That can be used against them in court to prove their fault.

4. When a toxic chemical used in your workplace caused your injury

When the employees’ jobs require them to be exposed to or handle some chemicals, it is a possibility that they will develop an illness or be injured at work, which are referred to as toxic injuries. Chemicals like asbestos, silica, radium, and other toxic chemicals are already well-known to cause diseases when there is prolonged exposure. If that is the case, then you can file a lawsuit for a toxic tort.

There are two types of toxic injuries: acute injuries and latent injuries. Here is the difference between the two:

  • Acute injury – These are the type of injuries that are immediately apparent. Poisoning and chemical burns are examples of acute injuries. Because of the immediate injuries caused by the toxic chemicals, it can be easy to prove the relation between the injury and the chemical in court. Thus, it will be easier to win your case.
  • Latent injury – These are the type of injuries that take time to develop. Cancer and lung disease like emphysema are examples of latent injuries. Because it takes years for these injuries to develop, relating these diseases as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals can be challenging to prove in court. Despite it being challenging, there are numerous cases that have succeeded and won.

Suffering an injury can change one’s life. It may prevent you from working again and the pain caused by the injury may become permanent. Not to mention the medical bills that can be the cause of your bankruptcy.

That is why it is necessary for  employers to provide worker’s compensation for their employees. But if your case falls under the exemptions listed above, then you should immediately get in touch with an attorney so you can start the process of suing your employer.

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4 months ago Laws , Workers Comp

Mechanic’s Lien And What You Need To Know About It

Understanding Mechanic’s Liens

Mechanic’s lien, despite their name, is regularly used by subcontractors and suppliers as a lawful case against property that has been rebuilt or improved. For instance, on the off chance that you are redesigning your washroom and the supplier who provided the bathtub isn’t paid by the general contractual worker, a lien can be set against your house to recoup the cash.

What can be surprising to a majority of owners is that it doesn’t make any difference in the event that you have already officially paid your contractor for the item or the bathtub. If the subcontractor or supplier isn’t paid by the contractor, the law allows the subcontractors to come after you and the property that was improved (which is typically your house). At last, you might be responsible for paying for the work twice or being compelled to sell your house, so it is critical to understand how mechanic’s liens work and how to stay away from them.

Why Mechanic’s Liens are Allowed

It might seem essentially out of line that you can finish up paying for the contractor’s irresponsible conduct. The reason for permitting mechanic’s liens in the first spot is that between the person with enhanced property and the person who upgraded your new marble bathtub, the supplier’s needs to get paid seem to be more prominent.

The law also presumes that you can thusly sue the general contractual worker. While this is valid, this doesn’t generally help you in the short term. For instance, a supplier places a mechanic’s lien against your house because the general contractual worker neglected to pay him the actual amount in a timely fashion. You can unquestionably go record a lawsuit against the contractor, and after some time perhaps garnish his wages or power him to sell his property. However, that takes time, and wringing cash out of a person who doesn’t repay his suppliers can be troublesome. In the interim, you owe twenty thousand dollars and have only a few days to repay the subcontractor or else your property will be sold to settle the mechanic’s lien against you.

The main contention that now arises is how you can avoid ending up in such situations. There are a few ways to follow so that you never end up in this menace.

  • Keeping away from Mechanic’s Liens – Option 1: Pay with Joint Checks

One approach to ensure that subcontractors and suppliers get paid is to compose a series of checks, made out together to the general contractor and the specific subcontractor or supplier. Moreover, the check at that point must be cashed if a definitive recipient endorses it, ensuring that the subcontractor or supplier gets paid.

  • Staying away from Mechanic’s Liens – Option 2: Get a Lien Waiver

Another approach to staying away from mechanic’s liens is to have the contractual worker get lien waivers from everybody whom the contract worker is responsible for paying. In numerous states, a contractual worker must give a waiver to all work for which the temporary worker has been paid before tolerating further payments from the proprietor.

What to do if you are stuck in a situation like this?

There are various firms you can approach that can help you out of this situation, one of the top firms being National Lien & Bond, where you can find full lien compliance services. It is advisable to keep all the notices and receipts with you to keep the procedure easier and also try to follow up regarding the payment of the supplier in order to remain in safe waters.

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7 months ago Workers Comp

Putting the Top 5 Myths of Workers Comp to Bed

Myths are abundant these days whether we are talking sports, politics, health insurance and of course workers compensation. Therefore it will be extremely beneficial for anybody working in the state of Georgia to seek out a Georgia workers compensation lawyer.

By contacting a workers compensation lawyer in Georgia you’ll take the guesswork out of your claim,  When it comes to on the job injuries you don’t want to leave anything to chance and rest assured you’ll be taken care of in the best possible way.

Here are the 5 biggest myths when it comes to filing a workers comp claim.

It Was Your Fault

Even if the accident was your fault you still have the right to file a claim for workers compensation.  This is due to the fact that workers comp is considered a no-fault claim.  However, it should be noted that if you were on drugs or alcohol while the accident happened then you will probably be denied or are unable to file a claim,  Another thing to keep in mind is that you cannot file a mental illness claim for workers comp.

You’ll Get Fired

Your employer needs reasonable cause to fire you (technically).  So if you file a workers comp claim you should not be fired and if so your employer could face repercussions.  So you would do best to lawyer up before you file a claim and protect yourself from any funny business from the company your work for.

All the Time in the World

Another common misconception regarding workers comp claims is that you can file a claim at any moment after your injury.  This is not the case. There is a statute of limitations on when an employee can file a claim after an injury.  The time clock on this starts ticking the day of your injury and you have exactly one year to file something.

Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have had a history of injuries you can still file a workers comp claim so long as the latest injury happened on the job and you were not drunk or high.  Many people think they are not allowed to make a claim if they have a history with an injury, but you can still do it.

Wash Your Hands of it

Our last myth about workers comp claims in Georgia is that once you file your claim you don’t have any other requirements.  You must keep in contact with your employer on a regular basis typically at least once a week. You’ll need to keep them posted on how your healing process is going otherwise you can lose out on your benefits.  You may also need to come into work on a part-time basis depending on the severity of your injury or injuries. When the claim officer assesses the extent of your injuries a reasonable timetable and possibly an easing back to regular hours will be implemented.

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Filing a Workers Compensation Claim in the State of California: An Overview

In order to receive benefits for a work-related injury or illness in the State of California, there are several things you should consider. This article will cover some of the most essential factors when filing a workers’ compensation claim in the state of California.

Seeking Compensation

If you have suffered an injury or illness in your place of work, you may have the opportunity to seek financial restitution. Under California law, you may be entitled to receive insurance benefits as well as paid time off. If you are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim in California, the following are a few of the most essential steps to take:

  • Report the injury or ailment to your supervisor as soon as possible
  • File a workers’ compensation claim with your California employer
  • Consider the time limitations in the filing process

The Importance of Workers’ Compensation Claim Deadlines

When filing a workers’ compensation claim in the state of California, it is crucial to be sure that all documents are submitted in a timely manner. It is important to understand that time begins to work against you the second the accident, injury, or illness takes place. Many claims are often denied not for the amount of evidence supporting the injury, rather, because the claim was not handled in a timely manner.

There are other illnesses or injuries that are more difficult to place with an exact time to considering many conditions can get worse over time. If this is your case, immediately speak to a qualified attorney who has experience in these types of cases. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand what time restrictions your particular case faces.

Reporting the Injury or Illness

One of the first and most important steps to take after an injury or illness at work has occurred is to seek medical attention immediately. Further, as soon as it is possible, report the injury or illness to your supervisor. Not reporting the injury or seeking medical attention can have devastating consequences on your right to obtain compensation for your losses. In the State of California, an injured worker has a maximum of thirty (30) days to report the injury or illness to his or her supervisor.

Understanding What Benefits You May Be Entitled To

A workers’ compensation claim could cover all of your medical expenses. It can cover expenses such as the diagnosing or treatment of the injury or illness. Further, with the compensation received, you can also pay for more expensive treatments such as surgeries other rehabilitative treatments.

It is worth mentioning that a workers’ compensation claim will not cover punitive damages. Punitive damages cover losses such as emotional pain and stress or the inability to make an income, among many other damages. In the event that you seek to cover other costs, you will need to file a civil lawsuit.

The Bottom Line

When looking to file a worker’ compensation claim, it is usually important to obtain the support of a qualified attorney who has your best interests at heart. A workers’ compensation attorney can be beneficial to the outcome of your claim. A qualified attorney can guide you through the process of filing the claim and ensure that all documents are submitted in a timely manner. If you are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim in the state of California, the guidance of an attorney can help you receive maximum benefits.

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How to Identify and Eliminate the Most Common Slip Hazards

Slip and fall injuries are among the top reasons why someone is sued for personal injury. A slip and fall injury is one that results from a property owner being negligent and not taking care of dangerous conditions. If someone can prove that you had an obligation to keep your property and premises safe and that you failed to do so, then they just might be able to win against you to court.

To be found negligent in a slip and fall accident, there are four things that the plaintiff must prove. The first is that they must show that you had a relationship that warrants a duty of care on your behalf. For instance, if someone enters your shop, you have an obligation as a shop owner to ensure their safety. The relationship that you have with a consumer as a  business owner means that you have a duty of care for their safety.

Secondly, the plaintiff must show that you breached the duty of care. If you didn’t take steps to ensure a consumer’s safety, or if you did something that lead to their slip and fall injury, that is a breach of duty in the eyes of the courts.

The plaintiff must then show that you knew that a slip hazard existed or that any reasonable person could have foreseen that it would have ended in injury, and that you failed to address the situation that led to their slip and fall. Lastly, the plaintiff must be able to prove that they were actually injured as a result of negligence on behalf of the defendant.

Slips

Slips are a type of injury where a person encounters a slick surface and it is that slick surface that causes them to lose their balance and fall. If someone is walking and they slip due to their own clumsiness, then the property owner would not be liable for any resulting injuries. If they slip because the surface of the floor is slick, then it would be the fault of the property owner for not safely maintaining their floors.

Conditions that pose a slip hazard that should be addressed by the property owner are:

  • Ice or frozen water that is left unchecked
  • Any surfactant or lubricant on the floor that leads to the floor not being slip-resistant
  • Liquid, water, or any material on the top of a nonporous floor (ie. one that is sealed or polished like hardwood, marble, tile or even concrete if it is polished)
  • Any wet conditions left behind from things like mopping or painting
  • Any other types of industrial chemicals that can lead to the floor being slippery

Trips

When someone trips over something and falls, it is still considered a “slip and fall” injury. A tripping hazard is anything that is left as an obstacle on the ground. It can also mean an unbalance in the floor, or even a tilt that is unnoticeable. In most cases, sudden changes in the floor are more dangerous than gradual ones.

An example of a tripping hazard would be a pothole in a parking lot, a broken tile that hasn’t been repaired in a bathroom, or even a linoleum tile that is buckling. If you notice any of these types of tripping hazards, it is imperative to block entry until it can be fixed.

To make sure that you don’t find yourself in a personal injury slip and fall suit, it is important to address any defects, spills or other conditions that might pose a risk to someone if they come to your property. If someone can prove that you knew about a hazard, or that you should have because any other reasonable person could have foreseen a danger, then you will be responsible for paying for their injuries.

To ensure that you minimize the risk of being the target of a personal injury suit, inspect the property thoroughly, close off areas that are known to have a hazard lurking and immediately address anything that could pose a risk. Fixing something might be expensive, but not nearly expensive as being found negligent in a personal injury suit.

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Navigating the Pitfalls of a Workers Compensation Case

The workman’s compensation (a.k.a. “comp”) system is fraught with problems. If it weren’t then we wouldn’t need worker’s compensation attorneys.

Employers do not want to pay for worker’s compensation claims. Hence; they will do anything to place the blame on the injured party. If you are filing for workman’s compensation then be prepared to have your entire medical history, conditions and present physiology picked through and poked at.

Pre-existing Conditions

One of the most difficult situations in worker’s compensation law is the time when the injured party has pre-existing and or related conditions. For example, a person working with fumes and airborne chemicals or a situation where foreign matter may be inhaled would have a difficult time making a claim if he was also a smoker.  In these situations; a Georgia worker’s compensation attorney is of the utmost importance.

Drug Testing

Many employers have standard procedure, rules that mandate drug testing immediately after an employee is injured. Understandably, an employer wants to make sure that the injury was not caused by intoxication.

The trouble is; what happens if a person was injured while intoxicated but by no fault of being intoxicated? An example of this would be if an employee was in a safe area and another employee caused an accident?

An employee under pain management care that is taking prescription opioids; does this mean that they are at fault in every case?

Also, OSHA has enacted regulations in the last few years that have caused employers to lean toward selective drug testing rather than blanket testing. It is not just to pick some employees but not others to be tested after an accident.

Workman’s compensation also can mean random drug testing to ensure levels of medication are in the injured parties’ system.

Say Goodbye to Your Doctor

Obviously, a claim must always be backed by medical evidence. The pressure placed on doctors to make major decisions is huge. A doctor must decide if the employee is injured, if the injury was work related and give a prognosis with an estimate of how long the employee will be injured.

Usually; an IME or Independent Medical Examiner will need to be consulted at the recommendation of an employer’s insurance company. Unfortunately; IME’s are always on an insurance company’s payroll and in a position of benefiting from finding in favor of the employer.

Work Comp Investigation

Be sure to stop doing any kind of yard work or carrying your own groceries. Employers that pay out worker’s compensation in large amounts and on a long term scale will often employ private investigators to follow and spy on the employee in case they are faking it.

Most of us have known these people at one point or another. These are the people that never work but are always working on home projects. “I can’t work but I can lay bricks in my yard, mow my lawn, rake, shovel and carry a wheelbarrow.” To each his own. However; imagine being literally spied on and how creepy that must really feel.

As previously mentioned; workman’s compensation is a complex system in need of a complete overhaul and creation of clearer regulations. Far too much leeway is given to the employers and insurance companies. The stricter limitations on comp have come about over the years for dishonest employees. It is quite the shame that a few bad apples have made it harder for truly injured victims to receive the compensation that they are entitled to. An employee should not have to fight for compensation when they are injured on the job. Yet, a fight is what an employee is in for.

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Drug Testing for Worker’s Compensation Benefits in Georgia

People have accidents all of the time. Usually, no one really intends to hurt themselves on the job (note the word usually). This is why it is called an accident. Accidents on the job are what worker’s compensation is for. Yet, as many of us know, employers will often fight paying for on the job injuries.

Consequently, employers have a habit of drug screening employees after accidents. A skilled Georgia Worker’s Compensation Lawyer can like you might find at https://www.workcompgeorgia.com/ will fight claims that were denied based on post-accident drug screening.

Why and Why Not to Drug Screen

Unfortunately, employers know that drug and alcohol use causes almost three times as much absenteeism and three times as many accidents.

In May 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released new regulations pertaining to the protection of workers reporting injuries in the workplace. OSHA came out with the new regulations to prevent employers from discouraging accident reporting with post-incident drug testing and to stop incentivizing drug testing.

In this way, a person who smokes marijuana at home after work hours or takes prescription pain relievers off the job cannot be drug tested after an accident at work and have the company blame it on the drugs (that did not cause the incident).

The Law

OSHA considers post-accident drug testing to be “retaliatory”. OSHA also considers any incentives for periods of time without accidents to discourage workers for reporting.

Sadly, OSHA cannot prevent post-accident “blanket” drug testing if it is required by state law.

Georgia Worker’s Compensation law clearly states that “an employer shall not have a legal duty under this article to request an employee or job applicant to undergo testing.” O.C.G.A. §34-4-415.

Incentives

However; a company is fully within its rights to offer a discount on worker’s compensation insurance premiums if an employee is willing to undergo random or periodic drug testing.  Therefore, employees would not be compensated for underreporting accidents but compensated for maintaining safety on the job.  

OSHA has also made laws attempting to change employer incentives for fewer accidents. At one point; employers could enjoy tax breaks for fewer accidents. OSHA has been trying to cut back on tax laws like these because they implicitly cause underreporting accidents.

Changes From New OSHA Regulations

Employers in Georgia have begun to defer to “reasonable suspicion testing” rather than “blanket testing”. Here, an employer has to write up reasons and usually evidence to the effect that the employee was likely high or drunk at the time of the accident.

Problems With Case-by-case Testing

Arguably, this method of drug screening can be entirely biased. At least with blanket testing, everyone is treated equally; with the same post-accident procedures. Since Georgia Worker’s Compensation Law only dictates that employers don’t have to drug screen after an accident; the employer is left with great discretion.

Unfortunately, reasonable suspicion testing is a great way for employers to get rid of employees that may have known drug and alcohol problems while not paying for the accident. Discriminating against an employee for these reasons are a serious issue that a Georgia workers compensation attorney can also assist a client with.

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