Workers’ Compensation Claims In DeKalb County, Georgia
Thousands of work injuries happen in DeKalb County, Georgia every year. It is inevitable given the county’s size and population. In fact, DeKalb County is one of the most populous counties in the state of Georgia, with close to one million people calling it home. The county seat is Decatur, but 10% of the city of Atlanta also falls within DeKalb County. In addition to Decatur and Atlanta, DeKalb County has eleven other cities within its borders: Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Stonecrest, Stone Mountain, and Tucker.
Major employers in DeKalb County include AT&T, Emory Healthcare, Emory University, Kroger, UPS, Delta Airlines, and the DeKalb County School District. The county is also home to mass transportation with MARTA bus and train lines running throughout, and it is criss-crossed by numerous major highways like I-20, I-85, I-285, and I-675. With so many people and so much activity in DeKalb County, it is no surprise that so many accidents happen within its borders.
If you suffer a work-related injury in DeKalb County, your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits is governed by the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. Generally, this includes payment of your medical expenses related to your work injury. It may also include income benefits if the work injury prevents you from continuing to earn income.
If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits is denied, you can request a hearing in front of a workers’ compensation judge. However, it is important to note that in Georgia, workers’ compensation claims are not handled by state or county courts. Rather, the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, a state agency, has jurisdiction over all workers’ compensation claims in Georgia. And the State Board of Workers’ Compensation does not have offices in every county in Georgia. Although DeKalb County is one of the most populous counties in Georgia, and indeed one of the most populous counties in the southeastern United States, there is no court dedicated to adjudicating workers’ compensation claims within DeKalb County.
Generally, any hearing in a Georgia workers’ compensation claim will take place as close as possible to where the accident or injury occurred. The law governing the location of the hearing is O.C.G.A. 34-9-102 (b), which states:
If the injury or death occurred within this state, the hearing shall be held in the county where the injury or death occurred or in any contiguous county or in any county within 50 miles of the county of injury or death, unless otherwise agreed by the parties and authorized by the administrative law judge.
Currently, the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation does not hold hearings in DeKalb County. If you get injured on the job in DeKalb County and need to request a hearing, it will take place in one of the courtrooms at the State Board of Workers’ Compensation headquarters in downtown Atlanta, which is at 270 Peachtree St. N.W.
The O’Connell Law firm is located in downtown Decatur, in the heart of DeKalb County, and also just a twenty minute drive from the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s headquarters and courts in downtown Atlanta. We have experience litigating cases against most of the major insurance defense firms in the Atlanta area, and have won workers’ compensation hearings at both the trial and appellate level. If you have suffered a work injury in DeKalb County or anywhere in the metro Atlanta area, we will be happy to discuss your claim with you and to discuss how we can use our experience to help you pursue the benefits to which you are entitled.