There are many players involved in the
workers’ compensation process. At The Barnett Law Firm, we can explain how
each one will affect your situation and your claims.
Contact a lawyer
at our Decatur law firm if you have any questions surrounding any of the
following people or organizations.
State Board of Workers’ Compensation
(The “State Board”) — The State Board is an administrative body
created by the General Assembly to regulate and administer the workers’
compensation laws in the state of Georgia. It is composed of a three judge
panel: the Chairperson of the State Board and two additional Directors
appointed by the Governor. The State Board also employs numerous
individuals to regulate and administer the laws. Insurers and self-insured
employers are required to file periodic reports and other documents with
the State Board, including reports of job injuries and notices of payment
or suspension of weekly benefits.
Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”)
— ALJs are employed by the State Board. Their job is to resolve disputes
between injured workers, their employers and insurance companies. They are
the only judges with the authority to decide disputes concerning
disability benefits, medical care or other benefits under workers’ comp
laws. If the parties cannot resolve their dispute, either party may file a
motion or request a hearing which an ALJ will decide.
Workers’ Compensation Carriers
— These are insurance companies registered with the state, which provide
employers with coverage for disability benefits, medical care and other
benefits under workers’ compensation laws. If the workers’ comp laws
apply, an employer is required by law to pay a premium to the
insurer and maintain this coverage.
Adjusters — These are the
individuals who work for the insurance companies and are responsible for
issuing disability checks, authorizing and paying for medical care and
otherwise administering the workers’ compensation claim for the insurance
Case Managers — Sometimes
referred to as rehabilitation suppliers or case nurses, these are
individuals who are hired by the insurance companies to assist the
adjuster by coordinating medical care and, in some cases, vocational
rehabilitation or training for the injured employees. They may also get
involved in expediting the injured employee’s return to work. Case
managers may attend physicians’ appointments or may limit their
involvement to coordinating medical care over the phone
Q1. How do I contact
the State Board of Workers’ Compensation?
Its address and phone number is:
State Board of Workers’ Compensation
270 Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-1299
The State Board has branches throughout the
state. You can obtain the address and phone number for the branch closest
to you by contacting the State Board in Atlanta or accessing their
Q2. My injury is fairly minor and I
don’t feel comfortable with a case manager getting involved in my medical
care. Do I have to agree to case management?
Most case managers work as independent
contractors for the insurance company or employer. If that is true in your
claim, case management is voluntary and you are free to reject it. If they
are employees of the insurance company or your employer, you may have to
work with case management.
For the most severe injuries that are known as
“catastrophic” injuries, case management is mandatory, but the case
manager must be specially trained and licensed to manage such injuries.
Q3. Should I ever allow voluntary case
Sometimes injured workers need the assistance
of a case manager who will work on behalf of the injured individual to
speed up the delivery of medical care and help explain medical issues.
There are many good case managers. Their main concern is to save money for
the insurance company, but they may help you receive quality care.
If you agree to a case manager, never allow
the case manager to meet alone with your doctor. Some of them may try to
influence the doctor’s opinions, contrary to your best interests.
Q4. If I have any questions about my
rights under workers’ comp laws, can I call the State Board for
The State Board is not permitted to give you
legal advice. They will answer non-legal questions, but if you have any
questions about your rights or obligations, contact a qualified workers’
Q5. Should I provide a recorded
statement to an adjuster?
Adjusters sometimes ask injured employees for a recorded statement to
investigate the claim. What you say in a recorded statement may be taken
out of context or otherwise used to deny your claim. You should consult
with an experienced workers’ comp attorney before you give a recorded
statement, or you may say something you later regret.