Georgia employees who suffer injuries while on the job have a legal right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Employers in the Peach State with three or more full-time or part-time employees must carry an insurance policy that covers an injured worker’s medical expenses, rehabilitation and physical therapy. An employee may also seek compensation for taking time off to recover from an on-the-job injury.

Some recent changes made to Georgia’s laws make an exception for employees who may need to receive certain benefits for more than the previous maximum benefit allowance of 400 weeks. As reported by KAKE News ABC, the changes allow workers who suffer serious injuries to receive certain workers’ comp benefits for the rest of their life.

Circumstances that qualify for lifetime benefits

Under the revisions made effective on July 1, Georgia’s worker’s comp benefits may now provide lifetime coverage for maintenance and repairs related to medical devices required by an employee who suffered a “catastrophic” job-related injury. The definition of a catastrophic injury is one that requires an injured employee to obtain and use a durable medical device.

By “durable medical device,” the new law includes items such as hearing aids, specialized bedding, nebulizers, motorized equipment and prosthetic devices necessary to continue treating a condition resulting from a job-related injury. So long as an employee’s need to use one of these items was within 400 days after the job-related injury occurred, Georgia’s workers’ comp insurance must provide coverage.

Applying for workers’ comp benefits

Filing for workers’ compensation benefits may not always go smoothly, and it is not uncommon for injured employees to experience feelings of uncertainty and stress during the filing process. Because the severity of an injury may not always be apparent, it is important to report any work-related injuries as soon as possible after they occur. When requested, an employer must provide all the necessary paperwork to initiate a claim, and a company cannot retaliate against an injured employee who seeks compensation.