Sometimes, new hires are required to sign employment contracts stating that any and all workmans comp cases against the employer must be brought in a certain venue. This location may be in the state that the employer is headquartered, or maybe just a state that the employer prefers. This clause is not enforceable in the state of Georgia. No contract can supersede the jurisdiction of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation in Georgia. This means that an individual cannot settle their workers’ compensation case without approval by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation—and also that if Georgia has jurisdiction over a claim, it can be brought here. The state of Georgia has jurisdiction over a workers’ compensation case if the injury took place in Georgia. This means that even if the individual was not hired to work in Georgia, or had any specific work in Georgia, a claim can still be brought here if they were injured in the scope and course of their employment. An example of this when a truck driver is hauling a load through Georgia and is involved in a wreck.
Even if both the pickup and drop off point were in other states, they have the right to bring a claim in Georgia. This legal detail is increasingly important in the age of the internet. Many times people are hired over Zoom or another web portal, or they work remotely. Every state has different laws. Some states have different requirements or are more favorable to the employer. For example, Alabama has a low permanent disability rating calculation. Thus, the same injury may be worth more statutorily in Georgia as opposed to Alabama. Florida, on the other hand, is what is considered an MMI state, meaning that benefits can be suspended once an individual reaches maximum medical improvement. Georgia does not perpetuate such a fallacy. Choosing the best state in which to bring a claim is extremely important. For this reason, it’s important to contact an attorney to ensure you understand your rights under the law.
Insisting that an injured worker does not need an attorney is a common refrain, but one that rings hollow. Insurance companies have armies of attorneys working for them. Over time, insurers have honed a system that most benefits the company, not injured workers. It is the job of the insurance company to know the law and utilize every legal loophole to their advantage. Injured workers can help level the playing field by hiring an attorney. If an attorney cannot assist an injured worker, they typically tell them quickly because they are working on a contingency basis and will not get compensated if they cannot perform a beneficial service to the injured worker. Our Atlanta attorneys at Gerber & Holder exclusively represent injured workers. It is our job to act as the protector of the individual who has been hurt on the job. We can help them get medical treatment with appropriate doctors and ensure that they are receiving all the benefits the law allows.
If you have been injured at work, your treating doctor is extremely important in your California workers’ compensation claim. Your treating physician directs the course your medical treatment, issues your work restrictions, and refers you to specialists. In this article our experienced Long Beach workman’s comp lawyers explain how California workers can switch doctors if they are dissatisfied with their treatment. However, because an injured worker must follow specific rules and steps when switching treating doctors, it is always wise to consult with an experienced workman’s comp attorney first. In California, workers may “predesignated” a personal physician by designating them in advance – under certain circumstances. However, if you have a workman’s comp claim and you did not predesignate a doctor before your injury, your initial treatment typically must be by a physician chosen by the insurance company and/or within the insurance company’s network of doctors. California’s rules regarding pre-designated physicians vary depending on whether the insurance company has a managed provider network (MPN) or a health care organization (HCO). So it is always wise to consult with an experienced workman’s comp attorney. In California, you may change doctors if you are dissatisfied with your medical treatment.
However, these rules also vary depending upon: whether you have predesignated a personal physician; and whether the insurance company has a managed provider network (MPN) or a health care organization (HCO). If you do not follow the correct procedures for switching doctors, the insurance company may refuse to pay for your related medical bills. If you are receiving treatment from your personal pre-designated doctor, California workers’ compensation law allows you to switch to another physician. If the insurance company has an MPN or HCO, you can switch from your predesignated doctor to a network physician at any time. If the insurance company has an MPN, you may change doctors any time after your first examination. However, you typically must treat with a network physician or provider for the duration of your workers’ compensation claim. If the insurance company has an HCO, you may request a doctor change at least once and, the HCO must give you a new HCO provider within 5 days.