How Long Do You Have to Report a Work Injury in Georgia?

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The first step to receiving workers’ compensation in Georgia is reporting your work injury. Even if you would otherwise be entitled to benefits, you must still take the step of reporting a work injury.

When an injury occurs, your first priority is getting emergency medical attention. However, you should also report your work injury as soon as possible. If you wait too long, it could jeopardize your right to benefits.

Our lawyers explain the timeline for reporting your work injury in Georgia.

Reporting Your Work Injury

How long do you have to report an injury at work in Georgia?

You have 30 days to report an injury at work in Georgia to preserve your right to workers’ compensation benefits. You should always report the injury as soon as possible.

What is the law for reporting a work injury in Georgia?

O.C.G.A. § 34-9-80 states the procedure for giving notice of a workplace accident. The law instructs the injured employee to make an injury report “immediately on the occurrence… or as soon thereafter as practicable.” It says that workers’ compensation is not payable unless the employer is given notice of the injury within 30 days of the accident or death.

Are there any exceptions to the work injury notice limit?

There are exceptions to the 30-day limit to notify the employer of a workplace injury. The exceptions are:

  • Physical incapacity
  • Mental incapacity
  • Fraud
  • Deceit
  • The employer or their representative had knowledge of the accident
  • Other reasonable excuse, with no prejudice to the employer

A physical or mental incapacity can be an excuse if it prevents the injured employee from giving notice. Of course, since the very nature of an injury is debilitation, a delay because of the nature of an injury is not all that uncommon. However, the nature of the incapacity must prevent the employee from giving notice.

It’s always in your best interest to make every effort to report the injury as soon as possible. Trying to justify an excuse for a delayed report is another stumbling block that can stand in the way of your benefits.

How to Make Your Report

Does a workplace injury report have to be in writing in Georgia?

Georgia law allows a workplace injury report to be either oral or written. However, it is always best to make the report in writing so that there is a record. If an injury report is not made within 30 days, then the report can be made only in writing.

Why does it matter when you report your work injury in Georgia?

Reporting your work injury after 30 days in Georgia may compromise your right to benefits. In addition, it invites the employer to question whether the injury is work-related. Making a timely report helps ensure that you get your benefits.

Can someone else report your work injury for you?

Yes. The work injury report may be made by you or your representative.

Who do you notify of your work injury?

You may report your work injury to any of the following:

  • Employer
  • Agent of the employer
  • Representative
  • Foreman
  • Immediate supervisor

The easiest person to report a work injury to is your immediate supervisor. You may also report to human resources as the agent of your employer.

What should you include in your report of a workplace injury?

The first report of a workplace injury doesn’t have to be detailed. You should include the following:

  • That you are making a report of injury
  • Your name
  • Employee number
  • Date you were injured
  • Time you were injured
  • Where the injury happened
  • How the injury happened
  • What body parts are hurt
  • Your basic symptoms
  • Coworkers that may have witnessed the injury

It’s important to understand that your first report is preliminary. It is not a complete record of the basis of your claim. Just give the employer a notice that the injury occurred and the basic information that they need to investigate.

After Reporting Your Injury

What happens after you report a workplace injury?

After you report a workplace injury, there are things your employer must do and things you should do.

You should:

  • Get medical care right away. If you have an emergency, medical care should be your priority.
  • Get the medical care you need to recover and document your workplace injury.
  • Choose from your employer-provided list of healthcare providers to receive non-emergency medical care.
  • Document any time missed from work because of your injury. (Payment for lost wages begins at seven days of missed work.)
  • Accept light-duty work if offered by your employer.
  • Follow your healthcare treatment plans, attending all doctor’s appointments and physical therapy.
  • Carefully read any paperwork that you receive. Save it.
  • Contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Your employer should:

  • Have workers’ compensation coverage if they have three or more employees, part-time or full-time.
  • Post a notice of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights for the injured worker.
  • Provide you with a list of at least six doctors for you to receive medical care.
  • Complete the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease (Form WC-1). They must submit this form to their insurer.

The insurance company must:

  • Investigate. (They have up to 21 days.)
  • File a report with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (S.B.W.C.).
  • Accept or deny the claim.
  • Begin paying missed work benefits within 21 days of the first day of missed work.
  • Continue to cover authorized medical care until you reach the maximum medical improvement.
  • Provide compensation as required by law.

If you disagree with the insurance company’s determination of your workers’ compensation benefits, you may challenge it and request a hearing.

Our Lawyers Can Help You Report Your Workplace Injury

All workers’ compensation claims begin with a report of a workplace injury. The report must be made timely. Making your report as soon as possible can make it a lot easier to get your benefits.

At Moebes Law, our experienced lawyers represent individuals who are hurt at work. Whether you are preparing to make your workplace injury report, have already made the report, or have missed the deadline, we offer free consultations. See how we can help you protect your legal rights.

Contact us today.

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