Decatur Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
Helping Serious Injury Victims Get Their Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Decatur
A catastrophic injury is a life-altering event for the injured worker as well as the family who must help care for the worker while dealing with the economic fallout and disruption to the home life. A catastrophic injury may involve an injury to the brain or spinal cord or amputation of a body part and will likely involve long-term loss of earning power, permanent physical disability, and long-term medical care. Unfortunately, in the Georgia workers’ compensation system, catastrophic injury claims often take many years to resolve due to the complexity of the medical treatment involved. Furthermore, many insurance companies refuse to authorize and pay for necessary medical treatment.
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury at work, you don’t have to go through this alone. An experienced and dedicated Decatur catastrophic injury lawyer at the O’Connell Law Firm will be happy to review your case and assist you in any way we can to ensure you or your family member is getting the right medical care and benefits under Georgia workers’ compensation law. We are a family law firm that treats clients like family. We understand the difficulty you are experiencing and want to do our part to help you through this difficult time. Call our office for a free consultation after a catastrophic injury on the job in Decatur, and let us answer your questions regarding your workers’ compensation claim.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
Georgia law defines a “catastrophic” injury to include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries that involve severe paralysis of the arm, leg or trunk;
- Amputation of an arm, hand, foot or leg that results in the effective loss of use of that appendage;
- Severe brain or closed-head injuries (to be considered severe, the employee must have severe sensory or motor disturbances, severe communication disturbances, severe complex integrated disturbances of cerebral function, severe disturbances of consciousness, or severe episodic neurological disorders.);
- Second- or third-degree burns over 25 percent of the body as a whole;
- Third-degree burns to 5 percent or more of the face or hands; or
- Total or industrial blindness.
In addition to the specific injuries listed above, the law also has a “catch-all” provision, which defines a catastrophic injury to include an injury that is “of a nature and severity that prevents the employee from being able to perform his or her prior work and any work available in substantial numbers within the national economy for which such employee is otherwise qualified.”
Serious Injury Victims Need Serious Help from Georgia Workers’ Compensation
The diagnosis and treatment of catastrophic injuries are complex, expensive, and require the expertise of a large team of medical professionals. In the case of catastrophic spinal cord injury, injured workers may require modifications to the home, a specialized wheelchair, Hoyer lifts, a specially-equipped van, and full-time or part-time attendant care for the rest of their life.
A catastrophic injury also involves the use of an individual known as a catastrophic rehabilitation supplier, who coordinates treatment and payment of medical expenses.
In addition to payment of medical expenses, if the injury is deemed catastrophic then the worker is entitled to receive payment of temporary total disability (TTD) benefits over the remainder of his or her life. If the injury is not one of the specific injuries listed above, the insurance company and the State Board of Workers’ Compensation will consider a number of factors to determine if the injury is catastrophic and whether the worker is entitled to lifetime TTD benefits. These factors include age, education, past work experience, transferable skills, and whether the worker has been awarded Social Security Disability benefits. The insurance company and State Board of Workers’ Compensation will also place great weight on whether the authorized treating physician has stated that the worker is permanently and totally disabled. A vocational specialist may also be needed to provide an opinion regarding physical capability and qualifications to return to work.
Help With Catastrophic Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Decatur
Catastrophic injuries require the most expensive and long-term medical care of any work injury, often extending over the injury victim’s lifespan. Resolving and settling these claims while ensuring you get every benefit you need and deserve can be daunting; an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will be an invaluable resource to help you through this process. For help getting workers’ compensation benefits after a catastrophic work injury in Decatur, call the O’Connell Law Firm at 404-410-0034 for a no-cost, initial consultation.