View Our Practice Areas

Augusta Georgia Workers' Compensation Blog

Fatal work accident at hay farm under investigation

While the following story happened outside the country, it still has some details that are worth discussing regardless of where it occurred. National boundaries do not prevent work accidents from happening, nor will they save someone from a fatal work accident.

This particular case happened in Alberta, Canada, where a 63-year-old man was killed on a hay farm. Emergency responders arrived at the scene at 8:07 a.m. and they said that the preliminary evidence indicates that the 63-year-old died while operating a piece of equipment. Little else is being discussed at this time, and an investigation is underway into the exact cause of the death.

Does yoga really help a bad back?

Yoga has been around a long time. About 5,000 years to be relatively exact. Begun in India as a stretching and mindfulness exercise before one sat to mediate, it first became widely known in the US in 1893. 

While yoga saw an upsurge in the 1960s, more recently alternative medicine and people seeking to de-stress have embraced the practice. In fact, recent statistics cited by an article in the Princeton Press indicate that well over 16 million Americans practice some form of yoga. But, does it really do a body good?  

How Much Do They Owe Me? Calculating Your Workers' Comp. Check in Georgia

In Georgia, determining how much you should receive each week when you have sustained a workers' compensation injury and are unable to work begins with determining your average weekly wage. This is a tricky issue that often requires the assistance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney because a number of factors from uniform allowance to how many hours you worked per week can come into play.

What Is The Maximum Settlement Amount for My Georgia Workers' Compensation Claim?

Do you want to know how much your Georgia Workers' Compensation claim should settle for? The truth is you need to know two things. First, the adjuster will never offer you as much as the case is worth, so attempting to negotiate a settlement on your own, in most cases, could cost you thousands of dollars. Second, hiring the right man for the job is always the most important thing for any task, and settling your workers' compensation claim is no exception. You should consult with an experienced Georgia workers' compensation attorney prior to signing anything - even if it is for a free initial consultation (just about every lawyer offers them). You can read my post on how to find an experienced workers' compensation attorney by clicking here

What To Consider When Hiring a Lawyer: Workers' Comp. Expertise

If you are reading my blog, you are probably considering whether to hire a workers' compensation attorney to handle your case. I receive several phone calls every month from Georgia injured workers who already have an attorney; however, their attorney has not done a very good job handling their case. Often, the case has sat dormant on the corner of their attorney's desk for months and opportunities for second opinions were missed. In some cases, the injured worker has missed out on thousands of dollars because their attorney did not act timely or simply did not understand what to do and when to do it. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can usually get the ox out of the ditch. However, I am writing this blog post for those of you out there who have not hired an attorney yet. 

What Is a Permanent Disability Rating and How Do I Know What Mine Is?

Dear Mr. Hawkins: An insurance adjuster said to me that my permanent disability rating was about 10% and that entitled me to $5,000. What is a permanent disability rating and how do I know they are telling me the truth? -Craig, Thomasville, GA

Thank you for your question Craig. I imagine this particular adjuster threw this number at you as a settlement offer? If so, do not sign anything and do not accept this amount without talking to an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Permanent partial disability is another benefit injured workers are entitled to under the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act that insurance adjusters do not want you to know about. About the only time they will tell you about permanent partial disability, or PPD for short, is when they want you to settle the case and they know you are unrepresented by counsel.

Common Shoulder Injuries in Workers' Compensation Cases

One of the most common injuries I see as a Georgia workers' compensation attorney are shoulder injuries. Given that most employees are constantly using their arms for heavy or repetitive lifting, I am never surprised to get a new shoulder case. Sudden movement of the arm can cause a dislocated shoulder, torn rotator cuff, partial rotator cuff tear, and so on. Shoulder pain is a serious symptom that should be taken seriously because early intervention can reduce the risk of further tearing of the cuff and permanent partial loss of the upper extremity.

The reason why the shoulder is so vulnerable to injury is because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the socket, and often the ligaments, tendons, and muscles which hold your shoulder in place are damaged from repetitive activities or over extension of the arm. This can cause the ball to literally come out of the socket and damage the shoulder. The most common shoulder injuries include strains, sprains, dislocations, separations, tendinitis, bursitis, torn rotator cuffs, frozen shoulder, fractures, and aggravation of preexisting arthritis (which is also compensable under the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act). While the tendons can be a source of the pain, the muscles around the socket are usually the root cause of a serious shoulder injury and the most commonly injured rotator cuff muscles are the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles.

Independent Medical Examinations: What's It All About?

So what is an Independent Medical Examination (IME)? And why is it so important in Georgia workers' compensation claims? The answer is not simple, because the IME is utilized by the employee's attorney and the employer's attorney for very different reasons.

An IME is an opportunity to have a different doctor physically examine an injured worker and review their medical records and diagnostic tests for the purpose of providing a second opinion. The IME doctor should make a diligent effort to address some of the issues the patient is having and try to figure out what is or is not going right medically speaking. He or she may also address the injured worker's current work restrictions, treatment options, the necessity of a recommended surgery, and when applicable, the injured worker's permanent partial disability rating if one has been issued.

From my perspective, as an attorney who only represents injured workers, I use the IME in three situations. First, when I find a client's diagnostic tests are consistent with a serious injury (usually through x-rays, CT scans, EMG's, or MRI's), but the treating physician is skeptical of the employee's complaints of pain or the doctor's specialty does not focus specifically on the type of injury my client has sustained, I recommend an IME to confirm or dispute the treating physician's opinion on the case. Occasionally, the authorized treating physician will take offense to the IME. However, I make every effort to explain the purpose of the IME to the treating physician whenever possible. My job as an attorney is to zealously represent my client and in some cases that involves double-checking a doctor's findings with an equally qualified peer unassociated with the treating physician's practice or a specialist who works primarily on the type of injury sustained.

Notice of Gradually Acquired Injuries: Does the Shipman Exception Apply to 34-9-80?

Under O.C.G.A. Sec. 34-9-80, an employee generally has 30 days from the date of injury to notify his supervisor that they have sustained a workers' compensation injury. There are several exceptions to this rule, and the 30 day time limit rarely will bar a Georgia workers' compensation claim. Notice also does not necessarily have to be written; rather, an employee simply telling his supervisor that he sustained a work-related injury will be sufficient to preserve his rights under the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act. As well, in serious cases where the employee is unable to notify his supervisor of the injury, a family member or a representative of the injured worker may notify the employee's supervisor of the injury. Additionally, in some cases, an employee does not have to necessarily state that the injury is a workers' compensation claim. Georgia Courts have been extremely liberal in notice cases. To that end, some cases hold that simply notifying the employer that something is wrong will suffice. However, it is best to go ahead an notify the supervisor of the injury within the 30 day time limit to be safe. 

Facebook, Twitter & Myspace for Injured Workers...Who Is Watching You?

Social networking sites are the newest way we communicate with our family, friends, and co-workers. The craze has caught on and nearly every generation is tweeting or posting status updates to their Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace pages. In fact, Facebook now has 750 million users worldwide. It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million people...Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months. So why does that matter to the injured worker? 

Get Answers To Your Questions

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
Office Map

Our Augusta Office

The Law Office of Bryan S. Hawkins
699 Broad Street, Suite 1201
Augusta, Georgia 30901

Phone: 706-305-1130
Fax: 706-305-1131
Augusta Law Office Map

Review Us