Imagine you’ve been working in the construction industry for the last 20 years. You’ve increased your career standing considerably and are earning an enviable income, but you recently suffered an unexpected accident after falling from a scaffold.

Now, with a broken leg and fractured spine, your doctor says you won’t be able to return to work for months. Without the ability to earn an income, you’re worried about how to pay for medical care and make financial ends meet while you’re recovering from the injuries.

Fortunately, Georgia’s workers’ compensation program is available to help. If successfully navigated, a workers’ compensation claim may prove fruitful by providing you a means of receiving valuable financial benefits to pay for your medical care and lost wages.

Here are the basic injuries for which workers can usually seek benefits

Any kind of injury that happens during the course and scope of a worker’s employment will likely be covered under the Georgia state workers’ compensation program. However, some injuries are a little more complicated, so it’s important to understand the extent of this coverage:

Aggravated injuries: Injuries related to a preexisting condition could be difficult to pursue under the workers’ compensation program, but if current work conditions served to aggravate or worsen those injuries — perhaps related to an old back problem — then a worker can pursue benefits.

Injuries that happen during breaks: When a worker gets hurt during a lunch break or during a company-sponsored activity like a corporate picnic, the injured worker might be covered for these injuries, too.

Occupational diseases and illnesses: The health problem does not have to be an “injury” per se. It could also be a work-derived illness, perhaps as a result of exposure to chemicals and substances that led to a cancer diagnosis. Mesothelioma — which is caused by asbestos exposure — is a common occupational disease for which workers can pursue benefits.

Physical and mental strain injuries: Many workers don’t realize that illnesses and injuries caused by work-related stress may also be covered under the workers’ compensation program.

Plan your workers’ compensation claim carefully

Workers need to plan their workers’ compensation benefits claims carefully to ensure they receive the maximum amount of benefits available. If you’ve suffered an injury or contracted an occupational illness, learning more about Georgia workers’ compensation law will help in this regard.