Many individuals who have been injured while on the job in the state of Georgia have questions about their weekly benefits from Georgia’s workers’ compensation. For instance, these individuals want to know the amount of funds they can expect to be awarded through wage replacement. They want to understand their designation as temporarily totally disabled, or permanently disabled and the many other designations that are listed under Georgia workers’ compensation law. It is important to be aware of their specific legal obligations such as child support and other factors when one becomes disabled and needs to receive workers’ compensation benefits. With knowledge of all current workers’ compensation laws and regulations, the skilled attorneys at the law office of John B. Jackson are here to help.
What is My AWW, and What Does It Mean for My Workers’ Comp Benefits?
To start, let’s take a look at how your wage benefit is determined. You may be under the assumption that your wage benefits are determined by the severity of your injury or a specific legal statute. However, your wage benefits are determined based on a guideline that uses your average weekly wage (AWW) to decide the proper workers’ compensation weekly payments. Your average weekly wage is usually determined by your most recent pay check or your most recent tax return. The value of two-thirds of that average weekly wage is calculated, and this should be the amount you will receive each week of your workers’ compensation benefits.
This calculation is only for those individuals that have been diagnosed with a qualifying injury of temporary total disability, or permanent total disability. In other cases, where you have a temporary or permanent partial disability, you will be expected to return to the work field with certain restrictions. In these cases, you could receive a lighter work load or may have to change career paths altogether. Your new employment will have to meet your injury restrictions. In almost all of these events, your new earnings are likely to be less than what you were making prior to your disability. For these circumstances, your weekly benefit payments are determined by two-thirds the difference between your original wages and those you are currently making.
As an example, imagine that you previously made $500 per week, but your permanent or temporary partial disability restrictions now have you in an occupation that only pays $350 a week. In order to calculate your workers’ compensation payments, you would need to subtract your new wages from your previous wages, so for this example, it would be $150. Then you would need to find two-thirds the difference of that $150 and you would come to $100. So for this example, you will be getting your new weekly income of the $350 a week, plus $100 from workers’ compensation. If your particular disability is labeled as temporary, then you will only be eligible to receive weekly payments for up to thirteen weeks from the date of your injury. Also, there is a cap on the amount you are allowed to receive each week within the state of Georgia, and that is $575. If your injury is extremely severe and permanently disabling, then you can be allowed to receive workers’ compensation benefits for up to 400 weeks. The only exception to this rule is if your injury is classified as “catastrophic.” Catastrophic injuries are usually loss of limb, severe burns, permanent scarring, paralyzation, or any other injury that significantly alters or impairs your life.
Settlement or Payments: Which is Best for Georgia Workers?
Most individuals have the option of settling their Georgia workers’ compensation claim. This means that you will no longer be eligible to receive medical benefits or weekly benefit payments for your injury. However, you will instead receive a lump sum payment, that will hopefully be enough to cover all your medical and living expenses. It can be a difficult decision to decide if settling is in your best interests or not. Having a skilled Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer to aid you in this legal struggle could be crucial to you gaining the proper compensation. On the one hand, settling gives the individual the option to walk away from the situation without having to deal with the insurance company or the employer anymore. It also cuts dealing with the workers’ compensation process a lot shorter, but sometimes a settlement is not enough to cover all your needs. Contact one of our experienced Douglasville workers’ compensation attorneys to go over the specifics of your claim and to get the legal information needed to make the tough decisions ahead.
What Happens to My Workers’ Compensation Benefits If I Owe Child Support?
One of the most commonly asked questions our lawyers face is: what happens if you are pursuing workers’ compensation benefits but you owe child support payments? There are many workers throughout the entire state of Georgia who are morally and legally required to pay for the support of their children. However, when a workplace injury occurs, it could leave you without pay for an extended period of time as your workers’ compensation claim is being processed. What happens if you fall behind on your child support payments? The best decision available is to attempt to speak with the custodial parent about your specific situation. This is to help prepare both parents for the change in payments, and so both sides can help to work through this tough time ahead. The other parent could be willing to agree to an arrangement where they can receive their support payments at a later date, at which time your benefit payments are coming through.
There are child support cases where the support payments are taken directly from the other parent’s checks. In these cases, the other parent will not be able to help with a more comfortable arrangement; instead, the child support payments may come out of their workers’ compensation payments. In most cases, you can get your child support payments lessened while disabled and receiving workers’ compensation payments. If you opt for a settlement with workers’ compensation, then a portion of your lump sum may be taken out before you received it and used to pay child support. In some cases, the whole lump sum may be taken to pay off child support payments. A good workers’ compensation lawyer can help you with these legal challenges and give you options for suitable solutions.
Get Your Workers’ Compensation Questions Answered with Help from John B. Jackson
Whether you have questions regarding a recent workers compensation claim, have had a claim denied, or need help finding solutions to your benefit payment issues, our legal team at the law office of John B. Jackson have you covered. Our firm has years of experience helping other Georgia workers obtain the compensation they deserved from their workplace injuries. Let one of our Douglasville workers’ compensation attorneys get started on your free consultation today.