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Hurt on the Job? Here's a Workers' Comp to-do List

People get injured. Sometimes it's because someone wasn't paying attention and sometimes it's because they simply slipped and fell. Workers have certain rights under Georgia's workers' compensation law. But the injured party must also make sure that they follow certain protocols to ensure that compensation isn't held up on a technicality or even denied.

Here's a list of what needs to be done:

Report the workplace injury ASAP.

Employers are required to maintain a workers' compensation policy for employees. Notify your boss or the personnel department as soon as possible about the injury and provide all possible details. Ideally this should be done officially in writing and you should keep a copy for your records. If it is not done within 30 days of the injury, the claim could be denied for that reason.

Get medical attention.

Be truthful with the doctors you see, don't over exaggerate or downplay the injury. Providing false information could jeopardize your worker's compensation claim. The employer may send you to a specific clinic - go to the emergency room if they don't. Say you were hurt on the job when you tell the medical staff what happened. Follow the doctors' orders, but also don't be afraid to get a second opinion. Follow through with your rehab if you have been severely injured -- there should be options even if your employers haven't notified you of these benefits.

Fill out your paperwork properly.

There are several different forms that make up a workers' compensation claim. Stay on top of it. Meet the required deadlines and completely fill out all the required forms - click here for the forms.

Return to work.

Don't do it too soon - this can slow down your recovery process. Employers may try to coax you back to work with light duty. Get a list of these duties and have your doctor of record take a look to clear you for these activities.

Don't do it too late - you are required to return to work if the doctor of record clears you to do so, although you can appeal that judgment.

Because of the injury, a worker may have to take a different job, perhaps for lower pay - if this is the case you may qualify for reduced-earnings benefits. If you haven't already spoken with an attorney, now would be a good time to do so.

Don't be afraid to reopen the claim.

The healing process can be a mysterious thing. Something that seemed minor may never get better. Perhaps the initial injury causes other issues after the fact. While the initial claim may have been settled seemingly to everyone's satisfaction, there may be additional costs down the line.

If you, a friend or someone in your family has been hurt on the job and is filing a workers' compensation claim, the best advice is to seek the help of an attorney experienced in this area. The laws and rules of workers' compensation are complicated, and insurance companies and employers will certainly consult with lawyers if there is an injury claim. An attorney on your side can help ensure that you will receive the compensation that you deserve.

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