Q: I am unable to work. Can I apply for Social Security benefits and how long will it take to get those benefits?
You can apply for Social Security Disability benefits at any time after you stop working either online or at your local Social Security Office. However, the general rule is Social Security requires you to be disabled for 12 months, or prove you will be disabled for at least 12 months, before you are eligible for benefits.

Q: I have applied for disability benefits but been denied. What do I do now?
Once you receive your denial letter, it will say you have 60 days to file either a Request for Reconsideration or ask for a Hearing. Both of these procedures are considered a Social Security Appeal. If you miss the deadline (60 days) you must have a very good excuse for filing a late appeal. If you are denied your Social Security benefits and wish to appeal, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible so that no deadlines are missed.

Q: I’m in desperate need of benefits. How can I get a decision faster?
If your condition is life threatening, it is possible to ask for a TERI decision. This allows your case to be decided quickly. Also, if your circumstance warrants, a “dire needs” hearing can be requested. But remember, thousands of people are waiting for their Social Security decision so there are no guarantees your case will be moved ahead of any others.


Q: I have been hurt on my job. What do I do next?
Notify your supervisor immediately. In Georgia, the general rule is you most notify your employer of an on the job injury within 30 days of the injury. If you delay past that time, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to assert a claim. After notifying your employer, you should be directed as to where and how to obtain medical treatment. Also, if you are out of work for at least 7 days, you will be entitled to wage benefits. These are very technical matters and it is wise to consult with an attorney if you have an on the job injury so that you do not inadvertently give up any rights.

Q: I was hurt on my job. Can my employer fire me?
Yes! Unfortunately, in Georgia an injured worker has no rights to maintain his job if he has been injured on that job. Many, many people are fired after they have experienced an on the job injury. That is why if you are injured you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Over the years, I have spoken to many injured workers who were afraid of losing their jobs and, therefore, did not report their on the job injury. They ended up being fired and they missed the deadline to file their Workers’ Compensation claim and were left with nothing. Please do not let that happen to you. Please contact an attorney as soon as possible if you have been injured to learn your rights.

Q: I’m about to settle my case. How much can I expect for “pain and suffering”?
Nothing! Sadly, the Workers Compensation Act does not provide for recovery of “pain and suffering”. However, when the insurance company evaluates a case for settlement, we make sure they take into account all future benefits an injured worker may be entitled to. We want to do everything possible to maximize your settlement.

Q: In my opinion, the insurance company is not offering enough money to settle my case. Can I take them to Court and ask for more money?
No. In Workers’ Compensation cases, the Judge has no power to make the insurance company settle. The Judge can award wage and medical benefits, but Judges do not get involved with settlements.


Q: While slowing down for traffic, someone ran into the back of my car. Do I have a case against the driver of the other car?
Yes. If someone runs into your car (or you personally) and it was not your fault, then you have a claim for property damage, personal injury, lost wages (and potentially other claims against the at fault driver). However, there are limits which govern when you can bring a case so you should talk to an attorney at your earliest convenience if you have been injured in a car wreck.

Q: The insurance company wants to take my statement. Should I give it?
I usually advise my clients not to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster without me present. A lot of times, the insurance adjuster just wants to document their file. However, sometimes the adjuster will “dig” deeper trying to get information they can use to deny or devalue your case. You must remember that the insurance company does not have your best interests at heart. Therefore, you have to be very careful how you proceed.

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