Virtually everyone who is hurt on the job and unable to work wants to know what type of income benefits they can recover under the Georgia Workers' Compensation laws. The answer depends on several factors. A general description of the factors to consider is provided below, but you should consult an experienced workers' compensation lawyer for a specific answer. The attorneys at Burnside Law Firm LLP can assist you in answering this question and filing a workers' compensation claim if you are receiving less than you are entitled to.
The first step is to calculate your "average weekly wage." This is typically done by averaging the wages you received over the 13 weeks immediately prior to your injury. (OCGA 34-9-260) Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, bonuses, tips, fringe benefits and even non-cash benefits may be appropriate to consider. Income from a second job which qualifies as "concurrent similar employment" might be used to increase your average as well. Once the average amount is established, the type of benefits must be determined.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): While your disability to work is temporarily total (completely unable to work), you can recover two-thirds (2/3) of your average weekly wage up to a maximum of $500 per week (as of April, 2009). This benefit is payable for a maximum of 400 weeks unless your injury is found to be "catastrophic." The maximum weekly benefit is always subject to be changed (increased or decreased) by the legislature. OCGA 34-9-261
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD): While your disability is partial in character but temporary in quality (partially unable to work), you are entitled to recover two-thirds (2/3) of the difference between your average weekly wage before your work injury versus your weekly wage after your injury up to a maximum of $334 per week (as of April, 2009). This benefit is payable for a maximum of 350 weeks and also subject to be changed by the legislature. OCGA 34-9-262
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD): While your disability is partial in character but permanent in quality resulting from loss or loss of use of a body member (such as a finger) or part of your body (such as "upper extremity") benefits are payable in accordance with the table of values provided by the Workers' Compensation laws. (OCGA 34-9-263) For example, if your index finger is cut off, you may be entitled to benefits for a maximum of 40 weeks regardless of your ability to work. You may also be entitled to PPD even if you have returned to full duty but your physician gave you a permanent impairment rating to some part of your body (like 25% to an arm or your "body as a whole"). OCGA 34-9-263
Calculating your average weekly wage, the amount and type of benefits you are legally entitled to recover can be complicated and require the advice of an experienced workers' compensation lawyer. For advice about your specific claim, contact one of the attorneys at Burnside Law Firm LLP for a free initial consultation.
Disclaimer: Every worker's compensation case has its own unique facts and circumstances. The information above is a general description of the issues presented and should not be relied upon as legal advice in your case. For specific legal advice, contact one of the lawyers at Burnside Law Firm LLP.
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