Author Archives: Skip McManes

Skip McManes

About Skip McManes

An attorney dedicated to defending the injured worker, Skip McManes has practiced law for over two decades. After briefly serving as an insurance defense lawyer and seeing their unethical ways, Skip decided he had to fight against the insurance companies to protect his fellow workers.

6 Things You Need to Know About Workers Compensation Laws

Workers Compensation Laws

Workers Compensation Laws

Although the majority of Georgians want to work and earn an honest living, sometimes on-the-job injuries can make it difficult, if not impossible. According to state reports, there were 31,977 workers compensation claims in the last recorded year. That’s about the equivalent of the entire population of Douglasville being out of work, or more than twice the population of Dallas, Georgia, having to take time off for recovery. Sadly, many never even return to the workforce, and those who try to muddle through despite setbacks have trouble doing so without the help of a personal injury lawyer. If you’ve been hurt, especially if your situation involves a catastrophic injury, there are some things you should know before you settle with the insurance company.

1. Workers Compensation Laws Vary By State

Each state has specific workers compensation laws that determine if an employer is required to have insurance to cover employee incidents, how much money a hurt employee can receive, how long benefits will be available for, and a myriad of other things. In Georgia, any person or business that employs three or more people is required to purchase insurance to cover them.

2. Georgia’s Compensation for Limbs, Ranks Amongst the Lowest in the Nation

Individual states also set caps on how much an employee will receive if he loses a limb. Pro Publica researched each state and ranked them all based on the rate for each limb. A Georgian who loses a hand at work receives $60,930 less than the national average, and $654,967 less than someone in the highest-paying state will.

3. Your Payments Have an Expiration, Even Though Your Disability Doesn’t

Although the state makes some allowances for catastrophic injuries, many payment schedules have cut-offs, regardless of whether the individual is capable of earning the same income or not. For instance, someone who loses an arm or leg in Georgia can only receive payments for up to 225 weeks. Despite the fact that the limb is gone forever, payments cease after about four years.

4. Your Lifelong Income Will Likely Suffer After Injury, Even if You Return to the Workforce

OSHA recently performed a study that showed people who are hurt on-the-job pick up about 50% of the costs associated with the injury. Even more concerning, is that 10 years after the incident, injured individuals make 15% less than they would have if the event had never occurred. For some people, it’s not a huge loss, but for much of the working-class, that 15% can mean the difference between being able to pay for electricity and food for their family.

5. Your Benefits Will Be Determined By Someone’s Opinion

If a worker loses a hand entirely, it’s almost a given that he will be eligible for the full benefit available, or $60,930. However, if that hand isn’t lost entirely, perhaps it was trapped and mangled in a machine, a doctor determines how much function has been lost. So, if a doctor determines that the hand’s functionality is only reduced by 25%, the payment will only be $15,232.50.

6. Your Decisions After an Injury Can Impact How You Are Compensated

Insurance companies generally try to settle on a fixed amount, especially when catastrophic injuries are involved. It’s in their best interest to do so, because they often pay out less this way. However, it’s at a cost to the injured worker, which is why it’s not always a good idea to settle. A personal injury lawyer can assist in the entire process, in navigating the medical opinion phase, and can help you earn fair reparations if you’ve been hurt on-the-job.

If you you have been hurt on the job and have a catastrophic injury and need help understanding Workers Compensation Laws in the state of Georgia contact us at McManes Law for a free legal consultation.

Defective Machinery and Workplace Injuries

Workplace Injuries

Workplace Injuries

Workplace accidents can result in simple cuts and scrapes or may be far more serious and include burns and electrocution caused by unsafe or defective equipment. Unfortunately, some injuries can be very serious causing amputation or even death. Most of us expect to be fully trained to use any type of equipment but we also assume that the equipment does not have any safety flaws built into it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Types of equipment that can malfunction

Regardless of how accustomed you are to working with machinery, there are some types of equipment that can cause injuries. Some of these are large pieces of machinery like cranes or bulldozers. However, even smaller equipment like drills, saws, sanders and nail guns can malfunction and result in serious injuries. When these types of incidents occur due to a manufacturing defect or misuse of equipment in the workplace, not only may victims be eligible for workers compensation benefits, they may also be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Who is responsible for the injury?

Employers have an obligation to ensure that employees are properly trained and have the necessary safety equipment available for all types of machinery. They may be at fault if they have failed to provide training and safety equipment. However, there are other types of flaws that could potentially cause injury that may be the responsibility of the manufacturer of the equipment, the distributor and the retailer. If your employer has a maintenance contract on any equipment, they could be liable for your injuries as well.

What rights to I have to compensation?

First, most employers are required to provide workers compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to provide you a paycheck while you are unable to work in the event of an injury. In addition, all of your medical expenses including medication and rehabilitation therapy are part of the coverage. In the event you are killed on the job, your family is entitled to specific benefits.

When your injuries or death are caused by a machine malfunction such as a fire, electrical short that causes electrocution or burns, a defect in the safety mechanism that results in broken bones, or amputation, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney immediately. There is an investigatory process which must be followed to determine who is responsible for your injuries and determine the level of compensation you may be entitled to.

While some professions are inherently dangerous, workers have right to expect the machinery they work with every day to be safe. When you are injured because of defective equipment or if you are a surviving family member of someone killed in a workplace injury, contact Skip McManes at McManes Law for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Workers Compensation Claim Denied

Workers Compensation Claim Denied

Workers Compensation Claim Denied

The last thing you expect after being injured on the job is to have your workers compensation claim denied. However, this happens all too often. You have the right to appeal a decision but if you try to appeal without legal help, you may find the outcome is less than satisfactory.

Employers are required by law to notify their workers compensation insurance company about any on-the-job accidents within 10 days of them being reported by the employee. Insurance companies may try a number of tactics to avoid paying the full amount of your claim including:

Workers Compensation Claim Denied

  • Injuries from other than job – one of the most popular tactics an insurer will use is arguing that your injuries were not a result of a workplace accident but occurred because of activities you participated in outside the job. To prove this claim, the insurer will often ask you to sign a medical release so they can access your medical records. It is never a good idea to give an insurer unfettered access to medical records that are not associated with your workplace injury. Speak to your worker’s compensation attorney immediately if they ask for this type of a broad release.
  • Make an offer you cannot refuse – sometimes insurance companies will make an almost immediate offer to settle your workers compensation claim. This is almost always a tactic that is used that allows them to settle a claim for less than it may cost them over time. For example, if your injury requires long-term medical care, you are entitled to receive not only the cost of medical care but transportation allowance to and from any medical appointments. For an insurer, offering a lump sum up front can be a far more cost-effective option.  If you do not already have worker’s compensation attorney, it is highly recommended you contact one before agreeing to any settlement offer.
  • Withhold benefits until you settle – another common tactic insurers may use is to stall payment of benefits until you are facing crippling financial problems and then offer you a settlement. This is because most insurers know that workers can only hold out so long without the income from their worker’s compensation claim. This method often works because employees who are out of work need the money sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, this also means you are likely to waive compensation for future medical care.

After your workers compensation claim has been denied, you are entitled to appeal that claim.  If your workers compensation claim is denied or insurance companies are using unusual tactics to avoid paying your claim you need to contact an attorney immediately to help protect your rights under Georgia’s workers compensation laws.

Top Mistakes That Delay Workers Compensation Claims

workers compensation claims

Top Mistakes That Delay Workers Compensation Claims

When filing a workers compensation claim, attorneys and clients must be aware of companies and the mistakes that can hold up the progression of claims. Here are the most common mistakes that occur within the workplace;

  • Time Lapses

When an accident occurs, a workers compensation claim should be filed as soon as possible. Many times, employers do not stress the importance of claimants reporting the accident or filing their claim in a timely manner which can then hinder the investigation.

Workers Compensations Claims

  • Lack of Proper Investigation

When a worker has an injury, the immediate supervisor is responsible for investigating the occurrence, but does not always do so. This impacts the claim, because the information is not fresh.

  • Inadequate Documentation

Having thorough and complete notes during the entire investigation is key. Every witness should have a signed affidavit, and the accident should be secured immediately. It is imperative that pictures, diagrams and any medical reports are accurate, but this is not always the case.

  • Communication

The employer often loses touch with the claimant once they are out on an injury, failing to keep them in the loop on the progress of their claim.

  • Lack of Medical Release

The claimant should sign a medical release at the time of the injury. This is a requirement to obtain the medical records needed to move forward with the claim. Employers often wait to get this information, which delays the claim.

  • No Transitional Programs

Quite a few employers do not have a light-duty or transitional program to allow the injured worker to come back to work, which can eliminate large claims or minimize the expenses.

  • Being Passive

When an employee is hurt on the job, the employer’s responsibility is making sure the injured worker gets the medical attention they need.  Many employers are not timely in their coordination of care and are passive about the employee’s well-being and their return to work.

  • Lack of Job Safety

Hiring people who have not been properly trained; not posting safety rules, and neglecting to keep adequate records can hurt the employer’s defense and delay the claim.

  • Lack of Understanding

In most cases, the employer is the first person contacted after an injury. Knowing the rules and regulations associated with workers compensation is important. Many employers do not understand what their role is, which delays claims and medical attention. They should have a working relationship with the claims specialist to understand the process from start to finish.

An attorney will work with you to pinpoint these deficiencies and assist in getting your claim approved, paid and if possible, get you working once again. A workers compensation attorney specializes in getting your case heard and addressed to achieve favorable results.

Call Skip at McManes Law a Workers Compensation attorney working for you

Injured on the Job? What You Must Know About Your Rights

Hurt On The Job

Injured on the Job? What You Must Know About Your Rights

Whether you work in an industry where you must be constantly on the lookout for hazardous conditions and equipment or you are employed within an office atmosphere that appears to be perfectly safe, thousands of people just like you are injured on the job each year. While it makes sense that you are more likely to become injured if your everyday job duties include being around heavy machinery, noxious chemicals or other risky surroundings, even if you work in what appears to be the most benign office environment, the process is the same if you are injured on the job. Your quick, level-headed and prompt action will help ensure that your rights are protected.

First Things First

If you have sustained on injury while you were performing your job duties, you must immediately take the necessary steps to protect both your long- and short-term health. Even if you do not think that your injuries warranted doing so, you should always seek the advice of a trained medical professional. Not only will doing so allow you to get the necessary care to help minimize the effects of your injury, it will provide a valuable timeline — as well as professional knowledge — should you need to go to court to collect damages.

Time is Money

In no other aspect of life is this phrase more poignant then when you have been injured while on the job. If you sustained an injury of some type — whether it is physical, emotional or something else — you must report it as soon as possible. The reasons for doing so are two-prong. Firstly, the quicker you obtain medical care, the more rapidly you can be on the road to recovery. Secondly, nearly all states have a statue of limitations that restricts the responsibility of your employer if you do not report the incident immediately. In many cases, an injury must be reported within 30 days of occurrence in order for your employer to be held responsible.

File a Claim

Every state in the United States has specific laws on their books pertaining to the rights of workers. In order to make a record of your injury — as well as collection of the benefits that are rightfully yours — you must file a claim with the proper agency. Your employer should provide this information for you in order to make the process easier.

If, however, you discover that your employer is being uncooperative about the matter, you can schedule a consultation with an attorney who is well-versed in the area of worker’s rights within your state. By doing so, you will have someone on your side who can give you solid advice while also helping you navigate the system.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation

Accidents and injuries sustained on the job is a common occurrence. Most employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance, but knowing the protections under the law can assist in getting the help you need.

What is Workers Compensation?

Workers compensation is a form of insurance designed to cover work-related injuries sustained on or off the premises. There are three main areas of workers compensation, which include personal injuries, auto accidents and catastrophic injuries. Every employee operating in a business capacity should be covered by this insurance, but quite a few companies have neglected to have a policy in place or have excluded certain jobs.

What does Workers Compensation cover?

Workers compensation benefits vary depending on the injury. Some of the benefits available include:

  • Medical bills and testing
  • Disability payments for extended injuries
  • Lost wages
  • Retraining
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescriptions
  • Prostheses
  • Mileage reimbursement

All benefits are calculated based on the injury, illness, and its severity. Benefit entitlements and amounts vary based on temporary, partial or permanent damage or injury sustained by the employee.

Common workplace accidents

There are a number of accidents that can occur, but there are four specific instances that have been designated the Fatal Four by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These four accidents are: being struck by an object, slip and fall, being caught in or between objects, and electrocution.

How does the process work?

Once an employee gets injured on the job in any type of accident, a claim with the company should be filed within thirty days. Although this is standard protocol, there are many instances where companies are negligent and employees are forced to solicit the services of an attorney. Even with standard claims, having an attorney available to counsel and assist is important in building your claim.

It is important to have evidence of your injury and any other information that will support your claim, including witnesses and authorized medical professionals who have treated you and can define your illness or injury. You will also have to submit to an independent medical examination for the insurance company to determine how severe your injuries are and the amount of benefits you are eligible for. Once completed, you will receive notification whether or not your claim is approved. If approved, you should receive your benefits within a period of twenty-one days. If your claim is denied, your counsel should be able to file an appeal.

Although common, workplace injuries can place significant burdens on victims and their families financially, physically and emotionally. There are many companies that fight having to pay legitimate claims. Having an attorney who will fight for your rights is key in getting your claim approved and paid in a timely manner. An attorney specializing in workers compensation is trained to assess the facts of the case, gather evidence and put together a strong case to accompany your appeal. It may take time, but they get results and recoup the benefits you deserve.