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How catastrophic injury relates to workers’ compensation

If you suffer permanent blindness as a result of a workplace injury, the nature of your injury can entitle you to permanent benefits in your workers’ compensation package. Georgia law describes a number of injuries that qualify as catastrophic injuries. Workers that experience these kinds of injuries are entitled to a wider range of compensation benefits under law.

According to Findlaw, Georgia state law defines a number of injuries as catastrophic. These can include a number of impairments resulting from brain injuries. A person may have problems with any of the five senses, or have trouble with motor functions, or be impaired cognitively and not be able to process information clearly. A catastrophic injury can also involve a neurological disorder or an inability to speak or communicate.

Other catastrophic injuries can involve the following:

  • Limb amputations, including the loss of a foot, a hand, an arm or a leg
  • Spinal cord injuries that result in strong paralysis
  • Second or third degree burns exceeding a quarter of the human body
  • Blindness

Catastrophic injuries can also include anything that has made it impossible for the worker to perform the work that the worker had previously undertaken prior to the injury. Also, the injury should hinder the worker from taking a job that the employee would be qualified for if not for the injury.

The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation makes it clear that workers with catastrophic injuries are entitled to greater compensatory benefits, including medical benefits for the remainder of the injured worker’s lifetime. Workers that are permanently disabled shall receive benefits on a weekly basis, with benefits determined by the extent and form of the disability. The law will also dictate benefits based on certain catastrophic injuries. For example, a worker who has lost a limb to amputation can receive benefits up to 225 weeks.

Additionally, a catastrophically injured worker can receive assistance in finding new work. While a catastrophic injury may prevent a person from going back to a previous place of employment, the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation does provide assistance in either finding a new job or training the injury victim to perform another job.