When should I see legal counsel in filing my workers’ comp claim?

A carpenter working in commercial construction slices open his hand while using a circular saw that has malfunctioned. He is rushed to the emergency room, where a physician stitches up his hand and recommends a visit with an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon has bad news: The cut was deep, and caused massive nerve damage. The doctor will have to operate immediately to repair the damage and ensure the carpenter can regain full use of the hand. It could take months to heal. The carpenter supports his wife and children – and he’s worried.

Under Georgia law, the carpenter is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. That means he will receive income under workers comp since he is unable to work for more than seven days, according to state labor laws. He receives his first check within 21 days after the first day he was unable to work. The carpenter’s benefits are two-thirds of his regular average weekly wage. He is relieved that some money is coming in so he can focus on recovering knowing that his family will still have a roof over their heads.

After a few weeks, the carpenter’s workers’ compensation physician releases him to go back to work, but with restrictions, or light duty. The carpenter’s hand is still extremely painful whenever he makes any movement at all, so he’s unsure what kind of work he’ll be able to accomplish. And then a few weeks later, he receives a WC-104 form in the mail. Upon reading the fine print, the carpenter is all at once very, very nervous.

A WC-104 form allows his workers’ compensation insurance company to reduce his weekly workers’ comp check to the maximum partial disability benefit amount after the passage of 52 weeks of being released to light-duty work. The carpenter realizes that his workers’ comp checks are going to be reduced by 1/3 of their current amount, and he’s still nowhere close to being about to go back to framing and earning his full-time wages. The worst-case scenarios start flashing though the carpenter’s mind: Foreclosure. Bankruptcy. Homeless shelters. There is no way his family can survive on such a small amountThe carpenter, on the advice of a friend, seeks the help of a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney. His lawyer begins looking at other options, including second opinions from doctors, settlement and filing a personal injury claim. The carpenter feels relieved knowing that he has someone to guide him through this unfamiliar process and who is fighting for his family.

The experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Murphy & Garner, LLC have decades of experience handling disability cases and will fight for the compensation you deserve. For your free consultation call us today at 678-563-1584, or visit us online.

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