Employees fear filing a workers’ compensation claim for many reasons. Often, they worry about retaliation in the form of demotion, reduction in hours, transfer, layoffs or termination. One of the main concerns, however, is the potential loss of workers’ compensation benefits if they leave the job – voluntarily or not.
Fortunately for Georgia workers, compensation benefits do not end due to resignation, termination or layoffs.
Workers’ compensation operates differently than health insurance
Workers in nearly any occupation can get injured. Depending on the environment, employees can suffer repetitive stress injuries, torn ligaments, broken bones, muscle strain, traumatic brain injuries and more. Workers’ compensation benefits are in place to ensure the injured employee maintains financial stability during the healing process.
If the work accident occurred on or after July 1st, 1992, employees can claim benefits for a period of up to 400 weeks. Workers who have suffered a catastrophic injury, however, may be entitled to lifetime benefits. These benefits continue even if the employee leaves the current job through a layoff or resignation.
Are certain industries more at risk?
Every occupation contains some level of risk. Safety experts consider workers in certain occupations at greater risk for injury. Heavy industries, for example, such as factory or warehouse work, can be risky for workers. Additionally, first responders, construction workers, miners and health service professionals generally face more danger than other workers on a regular basis. These risks can come in several forms, including:
- Single accident injuries such as a fall down steps or slipping in spilled liquid.
- Repetitive stress injuries which can include any repeated motion that puts strain on various muscles, ligaments and tendons.
- Toxic exposure to strong solvents, asbestos, silica dust or other particulate matter that workers can inhale or ingest.
As soon as a job-related injury occurs, employees must report the accident and seek medical treatment. Through a workers’ compensation claim, employees can receive benefits that keep them financially afloat. Employees must remember their benefits do not simply end if their employer lays them off.