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WORKERS' COMPENSATION INJURIES

The Georgia workers' compensation system is complex and has rules which can easily be manipulated by insurance companies to deny benefits.  If you have been injured on the job and need help with your workers' compensation, contact the O'Connell Law Firm today to have your questions answered. 

CATASTROPHIC INJURIES

A catastrophic injury is a life-altering event for you and your family.  A catastrophic injury may involve an injury to your brain, 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.  Furthermore, many insurance companies refuse to authorize and pay for this necessary medical treatment.

Georgia law defines a “catastrophic” injury to include the following:  

  1. spinal cord injuries that involve severe paralysis of the arm, leg or trunk;
  2. amputation of an arm, hand, foot or leg that results in the effective loss of use of that appendage;
  3. 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.);
  4. Second- or third-degree burns over 25 percent of the body as a whole;
  5. Third-degree burns to 5 percent or more of the face or hands; and
  6. 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 which 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.”

The diagnosis and treatment of catastrophic injuries is complex, expensive, and requires the expertise of a large team of medical professionals.  In the case of catastrophic spinal cord injury, you required modifications to your home, a specialized wheelchair, a hoyer lifts, a specially-equipped vans, and full-time or part-time attendant care for the rest of your 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 your medical expenses, if your injury is deemed catastrophic you are entitled to receive payment of TTD benefits over the remainder of our life.  If your 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 your injury is catastrophic and you are entitled to lifetime TTD benefits.

These factors include your age, education, past work experience, transferable skills and whether you have been awarded Social Security Disability benefits.  The insurance company and State Board of Workers' Compensation will also place great on whether your authorized treating physician has stated that you are permanently and totally disabled.   A vocational specialist may also be need to provide an opinion regarding your physical capability and qualifications to return to work.

If you or someone you love has sustained a catastrophic injury, please contact Andrew here or at (404) 410-0034 so he can get to work helping you.

BACK AND NECK INJURIES

Back and neck injuries can cause pain and disability for weeks, months, and, in some cases, even years.  There are many work-related activities which can cause neck and back injuries, including heavy lifting, twisting, turning, bending, repetitive movements, and overexertion, or driving long distances. 

It is very important to secure a proper diagnosis of a back or neck injury.  To determine the extent of your neck or back injury and to make a proper diagnosis, the doctor will usually order a diagnostic study such as MRI or CT scan.  Many times, the insurance company does not want to authorize a diagnostic study such as an MRI or CT scan because the insurance company does not want to pay for it and because it does not want to know the true extent of your injury.

If you can get the proper treatment, you may be diagnosed with bulging discs, a disc fracture, degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, a muscle strain, nerve damage, nerve impingement, a ruptured disc, a spinal fracture, and spondylosis.  Your doctor may recommend a surgery, such as a laminectomy, a discectomy, or a fusion.  If you have continued back or neck pain, you may also be a candidate for pain management treatment, which can include prescription pain medication, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, and spinal cord stimulators.

FOOT AND ANKLE INJURIES

An injury to your foot or ankle can prevent you from performing many activities of ordinary living which you had taken for granted before the injury.  Even worse, it can severely restrict your ability to work.

It is very important to secure a proper diagnosis of a foot or ankle injury as soon as possible after the accident.  To determine the extent of your foot or ankle injury and to make a proper diagnosis, the doctor will usually order a diagnostic study such an MRI, bone scan, or EMG/NCV testing.  Many times, the insurance company does not want to authorize this diagnostic testing because the insurance company does not want to pay for the treatment and because it does not want to know the true extent of your injury.

If you can get the proper treatment, you may be diagnosed with an ankle fracture, a stress fracture, a tibial fracture, a calcaneus fracture, a peroneal tendon tear, arthritis, or tendonitis. 

Your doctor may recommend a surgery, such as an ankle arthroscopy, an ankle fracture surgery, a ligament repair, or a tendon repair.  If you have continued pain in your foot or ankle following a surgery, you may be a candidate for pain management treatment, which can include prescription pain medication, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections.

KNEE INJURIES

A knee injury can cause lengthy pain and may result in a doctor assigning you with lifetime work restrictions.  Indeed, a severe knee injury may prevent you from returning to the work you have performed for years.  

It is very important to secure a proper diagnosis of a knee injury as soon as possible after the accident.  To determine the extent of your knee injury and to make a proper diagnosis, the doctor will usually order a diagnostic study such an MRI.  Many times, the insurance company does not want to authorize an MRI because the insurance company does not want to pay for it and because it does not want to know the true extent of your knee injury.

If you can get the proper treatment for your knee injury, you may be diagnosed with a tear of your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a tear of your Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), a meniscus tear, arthritis, ligament injuries, cartilage damage, tendonitis, or bursitis, in addition to many other possible diagnoses. 

Your doctor may recommend a surgery, such as a knee arthroscopy, an ACL reconstruction, a meniscectomy, a meniscus repair, or a total knee replacement.   If you have knee pain which is not resolved with surgery, you may also be a candidate for pain management treatment, which can include prescription pain medication, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections.

SHOULDER INJURIES

A shoulder injury can cause prolonged pain and permanent work restrictions.  Indeed, a shoulder injury may prevent you from returning to the work you have performed for years. 

It is very important to secure a proper diagnosis of a shoulder injury.  To determine the extent of your shoulder injury and to make a proper diagnosis, the doctor will usually order a diagnostic study such an MRI.  Many times, the insurance company does not want to authorize an MRI because the insurance company does not want to pay for it and because it does not want to know the true extent of your injury.

If you can get the proper treatment, you may be diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, a glenoid labrum tear, a dislocated shoulder, a frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), shoulder impingement, tendonitis, inflammation, bursitis or a sprain.  Your doctor may recommend a surgery, such as a shoulder arthroscopy, rotator cuff tear repair, a biceps tenodesis, or a total shoulder replacement.  If you have continued shoulder pain, you may also be a candidate for pain management treatment, which can include prescription pain medication, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections.

HAND AND ELBOW INJURIES

An injury to your hand or elbow can prevent you from performing many activities of ordinary living which you had taken for granted before the injury.  Even worse, it can severely restrict your ability to work.

It is very important to secure a proper diagnosis of a hand or elbow injury.  To determine the extent of your hand or elbow injury and to make a proper diagnosis, the doctor will usually order a diagnostic study such an MRI or EMG/NCV testing.  Many times, the insurance company does not want to authorize this diagnostic testing because the insurance company does not want to pay for the treatment and because it does not want to know the true extent of your injury.

If you can get the proper treatment, you may be diagnosed with a wrist fracture, an arm fracture, an elbow fracture, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, De Quervain's tenosynovitis, epicondylitis (tennis elbow), a nerve injury, a tendon injury, or an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) Injury.

Your doctor may recommend a surgery, such as a carpal tunnel release surgery, cubital tunnel release surgery, wrist arthroscopy, elbow arthroscopy, a ligament repair, or a tendon repair.  If you have continued pain in your hand or elbow, you may also be a candidate for pain management treatment, which can include prescription pain medication, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections.

Call today for a free consultation.

Please call, email or complete the form to contact the O'Connell Law Firm with any questions you have regarding your workers' compensation case as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in a workers' compensation claim and the longer you wait to contact an attorney, the more time you give the insurance company to start setting traps for you. The consultation is free and you do not pay any attorney's fees unless we recover benefits for you.

The material and information presented on this website is intended for informational purposes only. This information is not intended as professional advice or professional services. The O'Connell Law Firm, LLC, does not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with you bu providing this information. Your receipt of the information on this website also does not create an attorney-client relationship with the O'Connell Law Firm, LLC. If you transmit information to us through our contact form or by other electronic means, the privacy and confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, transmission of information to us does not create an attorney-client relationship. We will, however, treat any information you transmit to us in accordance with our privacy policy.

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