OneSource Business Solutions Blog

Paying Out Workers’ Compensation Claims

Work injury claim

A topic every business owner in Georgia with three or more full-time or part-time employees must address is workers’ compensation. To learn more about who’s covered and who isn’t, click here. But let’s say you’re compliant with all the workers’ comp rules and one of your team members gets injured on the job.  Now what?

Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation handbook defines two types of injuries: catastrophic injuries and non-catastrophic injuries. Both injury types carry unique payment structures and time-off requirements.

Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries are injuries that prevent employees from performing nearly any basic work duty. This includes injuries such as amputations, head injuries, blindness, paralysis, and severe burns. In other words, catastrophic injuries prevent employees from performing their past duties or nearly any other job available in the job marketplace. Georgia allows catastrophically injured employees to receive two-thirds of their average weekly pay (up to the current maximum allowed under law) until they’re able to return to work. In addition, employees with injuries classified as catastrophic are entitled to medical benefit and vocational rehabilitation.

Non-catastrophic Injuries

Non-catastrophic injuries refer to any injury not classified as catastrophic. This is the most common bracket of injuries, and it covers a massive number of potential injury types (e.g., burns, fractures, broken bones, sprains, etc.). Both types of injuries allow workers to collect two-thirds of their average weekly pay, up to the maximum. However, unlike catastrophic injury rates, non-catastrophic wage benefits are on a time limit. In general, you cannot receive non-catastrophic workers’ compensation benefits for more than 400 weeks. That drops to 350 weeks if you are deemed capable of performing work with restrictions.

Difference In Payment of Benefits

There are four distinct types of workers’ compensation benefits available to employees based on the nature of the accident and injury. These include:

  1. Temporary Total Disability Benefits: Any employee injured on the job and deemed unfit to work by a WCO or panel of physicians is eligible for two-thirds of their maximum wage (not to exceed the maximum allowed under law). Again, catastrophic injuries aren’t limited in date. Non- catastrophic injuries last for a maximum of 400 weeks (or 350 weeks when deemed capable of performing work duties.)
  2. Temporary Partial Disability Benefits: Injured employees who are forced to work jobs that pay less than their previous job due to an injury are eligible for temporary partial disability benefits. Instead of paying a blanket two-thirds of their weekly salary, this type of benefit pays two-thirds of the difference in salary between their old and new job.
  3. Permanent Partial Disability Benefits: In some cases, severe injuries do not prevent employees from continuing their normal jobs. For example, an office worker may continue to work their regular job despite losing a leg in a catastrophic injury. In this case, the employee is eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. The percentage of pay will be determined by a physician (using AMA guidelines), and the maximum number of weeks is outlined in O.C.G.A 34- 9-263(c). Per the example, the loss of a leg results in 225 weeks of “x percentage” pay. This must be paid even if the employee  continues to work at their regular salary.
  4. Death benefits: In the extremely unfortunate case that an employee dies on the job, their dependents are eligible for death benefits. This is also two-thirds weekly pay up until the maximum set by law. Funeral expenses are also payable up to a maximum.

As you can see, there is more to workers’ compensation compliance  than meets the eye.  In the unfortunate event that an employee is injured on the job, wouldn’t you prefer to have a partner to help you during that time?  Partnering with a trusted, local PEO firm like One Source for workers’ compensation can ease the stress of workman’s compensation. 

Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable team members.