June 30, 2009
It is not surprising that the largest employer of Georgia workers is the State of Georgia itself. The State of Georgia has dozens of agencies from the State Accounting Office to the Department of Transportation. Under the workers’ compensation code, state workers are included as eligible employees for benefits should they be injured on the job.
Not unlike any other injured worker, the state employee who is injured on the job, either by a traumatic accident such as a prison guard being attacked by an inmate or by a repetitive or cumulative motion injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome that a clerical assistant or worker at the State Personnel Office may incur, may be entitled to weekly benefits and medical treatment. The threshold questions are (1) whether the worker was in fact an employee of the State, and (2) whether the accident arose out of and in the course of employment. The answers to both questions must be “yes.”
As another general example, should an officer with the Georgia State Patrol be injured as a result of a car accident when chasing a criminal or shot in the line of duty, the officer would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Specifically, he or she would be entitled to weekly income benefits should he or she miss time from work as well as medical treatment relating to the injuries sustained in the accident. Furthermore, in the event the injured officer may need mental health counseling for depression or post-traumatic stress, the psychiatric or psychological sessions would also be covered, provided that the officer also had physical injuries.
The state workers or employees can receive up to 400 weeks of income benefits under the law in certain circumstances. Also, the state worker would be eligible for life-time medical treatment for the injuries he or she sustained while on the job. However, the authorized treating physician must document the continued treatment was causally related to the workers’ compensation injury. Lastly, the state employee may be entitled to compensation for any permanent loss of use or impairment. The value of the permanent impairment depends on the severity of the injury, the physician’s evaluation of the loss of use, and the state worker’s compensation rate as determined by the workers’ compensation law.
If you have any questions about state workers’ rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act in Georgia, contact Bryan Ramos at the Ramos & Law.