Work Accident Attorney Advice: Issues with Workers’ Compensation Check

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by Jonathan Smith 

As a partner with Morrison & Hughes, handling workers’ compensation claims, I often hear from injured workers who call me because their weekly workers’ compensation check is late, missing, or totally denied.  What can be done about a late or missing check, and how can an injured worker avoid losing out on these weekly “indemnity” benefits? How long does a hurt employee wait before googling “work accident attorney near me!”

Work Accident Attorney Advice on Your Missing or Incorrect Check

It is important to understand each kind of benefit, why they are paid, and the tricks that insurance companies use to cut them off so you’ll be aware when you first report a work accident. Let’s take a minute to cover each category of checks, and the rules that apply.

Weekly/Temporary Total Disability Check:

When it comes to Worker’s Compensation payments, these are most often Temporary Total Disability Checks (TTD).  These checks are issued when you are either (1) totally incapable of working, or (2) your employer will not offer you work within the light duty restrictions your doctor has assigned.  If your TTD check normally shows up on a specific day of the week and it hasn’t arrived, the cause is generally one of the following:

  1. The check is still in the mail and will show up in a day or two.  This is the biggest culprit when it comes to late Worker’s Compensation checks. This used to happen occasionally, but with recent troubles with the United States Postal Service, this is happening with greater frequency.  If your check normally shows up on Tuesday, but it hasn’t arrived, be patient and it may show up in a day or two.  Generally, the best path of action in this circumstance is to wait a couple of days for it to arrive.  As long as the check was issued timely, there is no entitlement to a late fee. If you wait an extra two or three days, and your check still hasn’t shown up, alert your work accident attorney of the issue and ask for an update on the status of your check.
  2. The check has not issued.  If your check hasn’t issued, then there are only a few select reasons for why the insurance company/employer has not issued your check.  You should ask your attorney why the check has not issued and what your legal avenues of redress are.  Generally, a capable work accident attorney can get this issue straightened out in a couple of days, assuming the insurance company has simply made a mistake, and has not denied your case.  It may take a few days after that for the check to arrive.
  3. The check has issued late.  Good news!  The check is on its way.  Bad news, you are without the funds to which you are legally entitled, and the rent is due!  In a circumstance where the check is not issued timely, you are also entitled to a late fee of 15%. Your entitlement to a late fee is dependent on when the check is actually mailed (postmarked).
  4. What if my check is issued and never shows up? You remain entitled to the check, but you may have to wait for the check to be cancelled and reissued.  Make sure that a check was sent in the first place.

Temporary Partial Disability Check:

This is the second most common type of weekly check issued in Georgia Worker’s Compensation.  TPD is issued when you are back at work earning less than before your injury (or after you are out of work on light duty restrictions long enough that the insurance company files a certain form, and your pay rate goes down).

The reasons for why your TPD check is late, and your legal ability to fix that, are similar to those listed above for TTD payments.  Of note, there are a few different ways to calculate TPD. You should pay close attention to how your TPD is being calculated to ensure that your employer does not “short-change” you.  If it isn’t correct, you could be losing significant amounts of money and could be entitled to a late fee for the delay in appropriate payment of this weekly check.

Permanent Partial Disability Checks:

Permanent Partial Disability benefits are typically due a few months after you’ve returned to work or reached the end of TTD/TPD payments.  This is an area where Employers and Insurance Companies save tons of $$$$$ by not issuing checks when they are due.  Many Worker’s Compensation Claimant’s are unaware that they are entitled to these checks.  This applies most often to the “good worker” who does not hire a work accident attorney.  If you were in a work accident and received significant medical care, you are almost certainly entitled to the payment of these funds.  The bad news is that if you sit on your rights and don’t ask for this payment, it may never issue.

Settlement Check:

Congratulations!!  You’ve settled your case and are getting a BIG check.  When it comes to settlement checks, the rules change.  The employer/Insurer are entitled to 20 days to issue settlement funds, once the settlement is approved by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. That’s the bad news.  The good news is that if settlement checks are issued late or incorrectly, you could be entitled to a significant amount in late fees.  Good attorneys pay very close attention to the timely issuance of settlement funds.

Mileage Checks:

During your Worker’s Compensation case you are entitled to payment of your mileage and medical expenses for approved medical treatment.  Many individuals miss out claiming travel and parking expenses, along with certain medical expenses.  When a request is completed correctly, the insurance company/employer 15 days to issue payment before late fees are added by function of law.

My Check Issued but it is Wrong:

This situation comes up occasionally.  If your check is in the incorrect amount, immediately bring it to the attention of your attorney, depending on the nature of the error and the type of check, you could be entitled to late fees.

What Should I do to Get this Process Started with a Skilled Work Accident Attorney?

Call us at (404) 800-5297. Email us at mh@morrisonhugheslaw.com. Reach out to us via our online contact form. Our attorneys are conveniently located in Atlanta, Marietta, Alpharetta, Hiram, and across Georgia. Our workers’ compensation lawyers are absolute experts, and we are available to help with your injury case. The sooner you call in the big guns, the sooner reinforcements arrive. No one should face the insurance company unarmed.