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   The Barnett Law Firm - Atlanta Workers Compensation Attorney  
  GA Legislature Passes Bill Limiting Workers' Comp Medical Benefits

On April 1, 2013, the Georgia legislature passed House Bill 154 pertaining to the state’s workers’ compensation law. Among other changes, the legislation limits the period for which certain workers’ comp claimants may receive medical care to a maximum of 400 weeks. Prior to the new law, workers’ compensation medical benefits in Georgia were available as long as treatment for the injury was required, even if that meant for life. The new law will apply to all workplace injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2013.

Nature of workplace injury determination

Under the new law, the type of injury dictates whether or not the 400-week limitation on medical benefits applies. If an employee is injured on the job, and the injury is “catastrophic,” he or she will be entitled to workers” comp medical benefits for as long as the injury requires. However, if an employee’s worksite injury is not “catastrophic” in nature, medical treatment for the injury will only be covered by workers’ compensation for the first 400 weeks.

For purposes of workers’ compensation, catastrophic injuries include:

  • Spinal cord injuries resulting in severe paralysis of the arm, leg or trunk

  • Injuries requiring arm, hand, foot or leg amputation

  • Brain or closed-head injuries resulting in severe sensory, motor or communication disturbances; complex integrated disturbances of cerebral function; disturbances of consciousness; or episodic neurological disorders

  • Second or third degree burns over 25 percent of the body

  • Third degree burns over five percent of the face or hands

  • Total or industrial blindness

  • And a final “catch-all” provision for those whose injuries are such as to prevent them from being able to perform their prior work and any work available in substantial numbers within the national economy for which such employee is otherwise qualified

Workers’ compensation health care benefits

Pursuant to Georgia law, workers’ comp health care benefits include hospital care, medical and surgical treatment and supplies, and any other treatment prescribed by a licensed physician which the State Board of Workers’ Compensation deems “reasonably required and appear likely to effect a cure, give relief, or restore the employee to suitable employment.” Artificial members as well as prosthetic devices and aids damaged or destroyed in a compensable accident are also covered workers’ comp medical benefits




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The Barnett Law Firm
150 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Ste 225,
  Decatur,  GA. 30030   •     404.378.1711 

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