These days, it’s hard to drive very far without seeing new construction or renovation projects. In Atlanta alone, there are dozens of new builds and expansions planned for 2023 and beyond.
But with construction work, unfortunately, construction accidents can happen.
If you’re working on a construction site and suffer an injury, you’re not alone. Construction is considered a relatively dangerous industry to work in, with a fatal injury rate of about 26 per 100,000 workers and a nonfatal injury rate of about 207 for construction laborers.
Some other jobs on a construction site have even more concerning numbers – roofers, for example, have a fatal injury rate of about 88 per 100,000 workers and a nonfatal injury rate of just over 185.
If you work in construction or a related field, you may know someone who has been injured and had to take time off work, which can mean both a loss of income and a collection of medical bills that need to be paid.
Fortunately, worker’s compensation insurance covers medical expenses and some of your lost income – but only if you’re a W2 employee. In this article, we’ll talk about the difference between contractors and employees and the options available for both after a workplace accident.
What Can a Georgia Construction Accident Attorney Do for Me?
When you’ve experienced a workplace accident, a Georgia construction accident attorney can answer your questions and explain your options for seeking compensation. We know that facing time off work can be stressful, especially when you need medical treatment.
We also understand that employers aren’t always eager to help with a worker’s compensation claim, and the insurance companies that process these claims look for excuses not to pay them.
For these reasons, it’s essential for an injured worker to have someone knowledgeable on their side. You can’t rely on your employer or their insurance company to do the right thing or inform you of your rights, but your lawyer will because their obligation is to you.
How Can I Get Compensation if I’m a W2 Employee?
In general, getting compensation as a W2 employee is somewhat easier because almost all employees qualify for Worker’s Compensation insurance in Georgia.
Most businesses with three or more employees are required to have this insurance in case any of their employees are injured on the job. Worker’s compensation applies to part-time as well as full-time workers, and there is no minimum length of time you have to work to receive coverage.
So All I Have to Do Is File a Worker’s Compensation Claim?
While the worker’s compensation system has more protections than other routes of seeking compensation (which we’ll discuss later), it is not without possible challenges.
First, let’s talk about the benefits of the worker’s compensation system.
Worker’s comp was designed to provide an easier route for employees to get their medical bills and lost income paid after a work injury.
The idea is to prevent overburdening the court system with civil claims from injured employees and to spare workers and employers from spending time and money arguing these cases in court.
Additionally, a worker’s comp claim is usually approved faster than a civil case could be settled or decided in court, allowing the employee to access benefits sooner.
For this reason, it’s a no-fault system – you don’t have to prove that your employer was negligent, and they can’t get out of paying your claim because they think you were negligent or the accident was your fault.
However, some exceptions allow an employer and their insurance carrier to deny a worker’s compensation claim:
Issues with Timing
Perhaps one of the simplest ways for an employer to avoid a worker’s comp claim is to say that the injured employee didn’t report the injury in time. Georgia requires injured workers to report their injuries within 30 days of the accident or within 30 days of when they became aware of the injury. If you have a repetitive stress injury, it can be difficult to prove when you began having symptoms.
With single-incident injuries, conflict often arises when the employer says, “You never told me about that.” Unfortunately, we’ve met more than a few people who ran into this issue. Most insist that they did tell their boss or supervisor, the boss acknowledged it, they absolutely knew about it, etc. But the boss says otherwise. Some workers have told us, “But my supervisor was there, they saw the accident happen!”
We believe our clients, but the challenge is whether or not we can prove what they say. Our investigative team will explore every option for finding evidence that the injury was reported promptly, but we’ll have a much better chance of proving your case if you take steps to protect yourself:
Report your injury to your supervisor and the HR department (if your company has one) at the earliest opportunity.
Report your injury in a way that provides “receipts.” Sending an email from your personal address (not a work-assigned email) is one good option. It allows you to save a copy of the email in your Sent folder, with a time stamp, to show that you reported the injury on X date. Because your employer does not control your email account, you can’t lose access to it. Sending a text from your personal phone, saving it, and taking a screenshot of it is also an option.
If your employer insists that you report the injury by phone call, download an app that allows you to record your calls. Let your supervisor know that you are recording the call to document your injury and avoid any confusion later.
Seek medical attention for your injury right away or as soon as possible. In Georgia, you are required to use a medical provider selected by your employer, who should provide a list of these preselected providers. One exception is if your injury is an emergency that requires urgent care, in which case you can go to the nearest emergency room. However, you will need to schedule any follow-up care or treatment with an approved doctor from the employer’s list.
Write down the names of colleagues or witnesses who saw your accident.
Your lawyer can help you ensure the form is filled out correctly to avoid any issues later.
Your Employer Questions Your Injury
This can manifest in multiple ways. Sometimes the employer denies that your injury happened at work (especially if they have conveniently lost your report of the injury). However, in some situations, they will deny it even if you have proof you reported the injury.
For instance, the employer might say that no one saw it or that you probably received the injury when you were not at work.
This is common with repetitive-motion or cumulative stress injuries, where they might claim the injury is from one of your hobbies or something you do in your off-time.
In other situations, the employer may claim that the injury is fake or that it’s real but not as bad as you claim. This is often the case with soft-tissue injuries or other problems that are difficult to prove medically.
In these cases, your lawyer will work to prove not only that you were injured but that the injury did occur at work. If necessary, we may bring in medical experts who are familiar with your type of injury to review your medical records.
Additionally, we might try to track down witnesses to your accident if the employer claims it didn’t happen or subpoena any company security videos to see if your injury was recorded.
Your Employer Disputes How the Injury Happened
As we discussed earlier, the insurance company can’t deny your claim simply because an accident or injury was your fault – but there are a few important exceptions:
The employer can claim you intentionally injured yourself to get paid time off.
The employer can say you were intoxicated at work when the accident or injury happened.
The employer might claim you were injured while engaging in horseplay or reckless behavior.
We know how frustrating these claims can be. Many people tell us that they are injured, in a lot of pain, and can’t pay their bills – why would they do this on purpose?
When these denials happen, we will work to show that your injuries were accidental and should be covered by worker’s compensation.
This may include interviewing witnesses to your accident, reviewing any available video, and reviewing the results of any alcohol or drug screening you were given after the incident.
Can a Georgia Construction Accident Lawyer Help If I Am Not a W2 Employee But a Contractor?
Yes, we recommend speaking with a Georgia construction accident lawyer, whether you are a W2 employee or a contractor, for several reasons:
First, we can make sure that you are, in fact, a contractor. In some situations, we find a person is doing the work of an employee without the benefits of being an employee. Typically, contractors work on their own schedule, with little supervision, and their work is not a key aspect of the business. Employees usually work when and where the employer tells them, often with regular supervision, and their work is a critical component of the business. If we can find sufficient evidence that you are really an employee, we can argue that you deserve worker’s compensation as well as back pay for other benefits like healthcare or paid time off.
If you are a contractor, we will review the circumstances of your injury and determine if you have cause for a civil claim against any liable party. In these cases, it is necessary to show that another party was negligent. Sometimes that party is the worksite owner, another contractor, the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment, another business, etc.
If you’re an employee, you may still have a third-party civil claim against any liable party other than your employer. For example, if you were working on a job site and were hit by a truck delivering lumber, you might have a claim against the delivery company, even if you also qualify for worker’s compensation. Remember that worker’s comp only pays for your medical bills and about two-thirds of your average weekly salary when you’re out of work. It does not cover other damages like pain and suffering or the remaining one-third of your lost wages. If you have grounds to pursue a third-party claim, you can seek to recoup these and other damages from the negligent party.
Where Can I Get Help From a Georgia Construction Accident Attorney?
Please contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation about your workplace injury. We’ll review your worker’s compensation claim, answer questions, and advise you of potential difficulties.
If we take your case, we’ll also assist you in filing a claim and handling any challenges.
Did you already file a claim and receive a denial? We can help with that, too.
Sometimes people think claim denials are final, but in many circumstances, we can appeal your case and secure the benefits you deserve. The sooner you contact us, the better our chances will be of finding evidence to support your case, so please call right away.
Attorney Ali Awad founded the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm to help injured people, including those who are forced to fight the worker’s compensation system.
The CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm is now one of the fastest-growing law firms in the country, and Mr. Awad continues to fight for his clients, either in the courtroom or in negotiations with insurance companies.
When he’s not securing another settlement for a client, he can be found on social media, dispensing timely and valuable legal advice to more than a million followers.
Call us at 888-307-3792 today.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.