Starting Monday, July 1, 2013, workers’ compensation medical benefits will be drastically reduced for injured workers in Georgia. GA House Bill 154, passed by the Georgia General Assembly a few months ago, will be effective next week. One of its provisions is that medical benefits for injured workers will stop at 400 weeks (like income benefits do), unless the case is deemed “catastrophic” under O.C.G.A. 34-9-200.1(g).
I have several current clients whom this would have negatively affected were it in place at the time of their injuries. Often, such clients are having to take expensive medications and will need them indefinitely, but they are able to work (and are doing so), so their cases aren’t “catastrophic” in nature. Should an injury like theirs occur next month, the injured’s medical needs will not be fully met by the party responsible for the injuries.
Other provisions of the bill will help Georgia’s injured workers, including:
1. the maximum rate for temporary total disability will increase from $500/week (2nd lowest rate in the nation) to $525/week (still very low). The maximum rate for temporary partial disability benefits will rise from $334/week to $350/week.
2. mileage and fees associated with medical travel will be due in 15 days instead of the current 30 days.
3. interest rates on lump sum advances fall from 7% to 5%.
While the title of this post is written with a humorous bent to it, I very often hear from potential clients that they are working through moderate to severe pain every day, but are afraid to report their pain to an employer, for fear of losing their jobs (or falling out of “good graces” with their bosses). If this is your current situation, I would highly recommend that you go ahead and report your on-the-job injury–repetitive or acute in nature–as soon as possible, before your potential medical care for such injuries is drastically reduced. Contact my Atlanta workers’ compensation firm.