Creating a safe working environment is a priority for employers and employees; most companies have specific programs to prevent work-related injuries, but sometimes that’s not enough. If you get injured by performing any task at work, the first step should always be reporting it to your employer, preferably in writing, and the sooner you do it, the better. You’re not doing yourself or your employer any favors by pushing through pain or ignoring an injury. 

Reporting an injury at work immediately should be obvious, but in many cases, employees fail to do so; even if you don’t require immediate medical attention, reporting the incident to your supervisor is essential and will prevent many potential issues. When an accident is not reported, your employer can deny medical treatment or will try to imply the injury happened outside of the workplace, causing problems with your workers’ comp benefits. 

Failing to report an incident on time can cause several problems, not only with your employer but with your workers’ compensation insurance carrier or private health insurance. 

 

Types of injuries sustained at the workplace

 

 

Most commonly, there are two types of injuries an employee can sustain at their workplace: an acute one, which refers to a sudden accident, fall, or strain, and an injury sustained over time, like carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive use syndrome, among others. 

No matter the type of injury, reporting it is essential since, under Georgia Law, the employee has 30 days to report it. So if the injury was acute, it should be reported immediately after. The 30-day period would begin to count for injuries sustained over time when the worker realizes they can’t perform their usual duties. 

 

Workers’ compensation rights and responsibilities

 

 

According to Georgia Law, most, if not all, workers who suffered an injury at the workplace are eligible for some degree of benefits through the worker’s compensation system. These benefits can include reimbursement for medical treatment, rehabilitation support, loss of wages, and supplemental income. In the case of death, the worker’s dependents may also be eligible to claim certain benefits. 

While finding an at-fault party is not typically a deciding factor in receiving workers comp benefits, workers should demonstrate a level of responsibility by following the process after sustaining an injury. 

You should take these steps to protect your case:

Report the injury: Report the incident to your supervisor immediately and preferably in writing. Telling a coworker isn’t sufficient, also doing it promptly is vital. Waiting more than 30 days to report it can cause you to lose the opportunity to receive your benefits. 

Get a list of approved doctors: Your employer should provide a list of approved doctors (sometimes known as a “panel of physicians”) you are allowed to see. If you need this list, ask your supervisor or the HR department. 

If you have the approved doctor’s list and decide to go to your family doctor, your employer’s insurance company could use this as an argument to deny your worker’s comp benefits. If your employer doesn’t provide a list in a timely manner, go to your family doctor if required.

Get medical treatment: Schedule an appointment as soon as possible with one of the physicians and follow the treatment plan to the letter, including follow-up appointments, tests, and physical therapy if that’s the case. If you need emergency medical treatment, your employer worker’s comp insurance company must pay regardless. 

File a claim with Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation: To protect your rights, file a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation and send a copy to your employer and their workers’ comp insurance carrier. You can access it online or call the State Board directly. 

Request a copy of the report and any notes filed on your case: Ask your employer for a copy of the report they must file to their insurance company and have all your medical records and files in order. 

Update your employer on any changes: If your doctor gives you any restrictions to return to the job or excuses you from work, you need to keep your employer updated. All this information should be done in writing, and you should keep copies of your own. If your doctor excuses you from work indefinitely, check with your employer how to handle this situation and follow any agreement to the letter. 

Ensure the insurer is informed of your injury: Most companies have a workers’ compensation insurance company that handles the claims for them; make sure the HR Department has reported your injury to them. It’s always good to check directly, so ask for the contact information of the agent handling your case.

 

Talk to an attorney: Last but not least, contact the trusted attorneys at Castan & Lecca if you believe you should file a workers’ compensation claim. We have handled countless cases, helped many workers get the benefits they deserve, and overcome any obstacles that may arise in the process. 

(864)761-4141

MICHAEL BOESCHEN

Attorney

Michael Boeschen (Mike) was born in Wichita, KS and raised in Chattanooga, TN. Mike graduated from The McCallie School and went on to study history, Spanish, and Latin American Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. After graduation, he went on to pursue a law degree from the University Of Georgia School Of Law. During law school, Mike participated in the Legal Aid Clinic, assisting in the defense of indigent criminal defendants. Mike has been licensed to practice law in Georgia since 2002 and his main practice area consists of representing injured workers as they navigate through the Georgia workers’ compensation system. Mike is also fluent in Spanish. In his spare time Mike enjoys following soccer, cooking, and spending time with his wife and two young daughters. Mike and his family are parishioners of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Sandy Springs, GA

CHRISTIAN PECONE

Attorney

ED DENKER

Attorney

Edward Denker was born in Philadelphia, PA but has made Georgia his home since 1999. He graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. He then earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia. Edward spent his first years in practice representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims. He then spent more than a decade honing his litigation skills representing employers and insurers in workers’ compensation claims, where he gained immense experience and knowledge of how insurers defend those claims. In 2017, Edward returned to his passion of representing people who have been injured at work or through the negligence of others. When he isn’t working, Edward enjoys spending time with his wife and their two children. He is also an avid sports fan, and enjoys cooking and travel

ILIANA DOBREV

Attorney

Iliana Dobrev was born in Bulgaria. After high school, she immigrated to the United States to study law. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University with a Bachelor’s in political science concentrating on pre-law and minoring in Spanish. In 2015, she graduated from Georgia State University College of Law. While in law school, Iliana completed a Graduate Research Assistantship in Labor and Employment Law and Employment Discrimination and two externships in Immigration Law. As an immigrant herself, Iliana is passionate about advocating for and defending immigrants. She is delighted to help families stay together and pursue the American dream. Iliana is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and worked in both a fellowship and a firm specializing in immigration law. Iliana is fluent in Bulgarian and Spanish

KEN THAXTON

Attorney

Ken Thaxton was born and raised in Roberta, GA. When Ken was a child, his father started a trucking business, which Ken ultimately spent over ten years working with through his late teens and twenties. Ken graduated from Houston County High School in Warner Robins, GA in 2001 with a 4.0 GPA. He then studied Business and Information Technology at Macon State College, ultimately graduating with a 4.0 GPA in 2004. After graduation, Ken continued to work with his father’s trucking company, and in late 2005, Ken and his father started an aircraft charter company, Southern Jet, Inc., under Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Ken served as President of Southern Jet from 2006 until 2010, when he and his father sold the company. Ken is a Commercially Licensed Instrument, Multi-Engine Pilot. While serving as President of Southern Jet, Ken started Law School at the University of Georgia School of Law in 2009. Ken focused primarily on business and civil law, including Workers’ Compensation, while at UGA. He graduated Cum Laude and in the top 25% of his class from UGA Law in 2012. Ken is a licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia, and he is also a licensed neutral (mediator) in the State of Georgia. Ken represents small businesses in transactional matters and business conflicts, and he also represents injured workers and Plaintiffs injured in cases of negligence. During his spare time, Ken enjoys swimming, cycling, sporting clays, and fishing. He also does charity work with a national scholarship fund

ALEXANDER LECCA

Attorney

Alexander Lecca (Alex) was born in Miami, Florida to immigrant parents from Cuba and Peru. Alex graduated from Coral Gables High School, where he was a recipient of the Elsa Glazer Award (given to students who graduate with a 3.5 GPA and above). He went on to study marketing at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. At the University of Miami he was also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. After graduation, he went on to pursue a law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law. In law school, Alex received several book awards and graduated Cum Laude. During law school Alex clerked for the Honorable Beth Bloom, had an internship with the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s office, and clerked for a prestigious litigation law firm. Alex is licensed to practice law in both Georgia and Florida and handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. He is also a registered mediator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. Alex is also fluent in Spanish. During his spare time, Alex enjoys outdoor activities with his wife and four children. He also helps coach his children’s baseball, football, basketball, and soccer teams. Alex and his family are parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

DANIEL CASTAN 

Attorney

Dan Castan is a senior partner at Castan and Lecca, PC in Buckhead and represents injured workers before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation and plaintiffs in State and Superior Courts of Georgia for injuries suffered in accidents. Dan litigated one of the seminal claims securing the rights of undocumented workers to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits in the state of Georgia when injured in the case of Wet Walls, Inc. vs. Ledesma. Dan has successfully fought and settled multi million dollar cases. He was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey to immigrant parents from Cuba. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College and received his Juris Doctor from The Washington College of Law at The American University in Washington D.C.  Dan was admitted to the Georgia Bar in November, 1993.  He is an active member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Atlanta Bar Association and the Workers’ Compensation Section of the State Bar of Georgia. Dan is a founding member and Director of the Latino Victory Fund Georgia and serves on the Board of The Latin American Association. Dan has been dedicated to getting Latinos elected to local, state and Federal offices in Georgia. He has been a Big Brother through Big Brothers and Sisters of Metro Atlanta and a mentor through The Latin American Association’s mentor/mentee program. Dan is married with two children.