Workers' Compensation Claims and the Automobile Industry
Automobile manufacturers, including KIA, Porsche, and hundreds of other auto manufacturing suppliers, have relocated to Georgia because of the state’s trained workforce, competitive business environment, and access to interstates and ports. Georgia now has more than 250 automotive manufacturing facilities employing almost 22,000 workers, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
The growth of the auto manufacturing industry in Georgia has led to an increase in the number of Georgia workers who have experienced automotive manufacturing injuries. Factory workers face real dangers in these environments.
Types of Auto Manufacturing Injuries
With its physical demands and challenging work environment, auto manufacturing poses many hazards for workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in automobile and motor vehicle manufacturing have higher rates of injury and illness than workers in most other industries.
Auto workers are exposed to dangerous machinery and assembly line work, and many of the jobs are physically demanding.
Among the common types of injuries experienced by auto manufacturing workers are:
- Back injuries
- Repetitive motion injury-carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lifting injuries
- Struck by object
- Slips or trips
- Getting hands caught in machinery
- Falls from heights
One of the biggest scams in these industries is the on-site nurse.
When workers are injured on the job, instead of sending their workers to a doctor, employers will first send injured workers to the on-site nurses, who will find nothing wrong with them. Often, these nurses will give them Advil and tell them to get back to work.
These on-site nurses are not looking out for you. Insist on seeing the panel of physicians and even record your conversations with the nurse. It will help later in the claim.
A serious injury can force you to be out of work for weeks or months. A catastrophic injury such as amputation of a hand or foot or a serious third-degree burn may leave you with permanent disabilities and require physical rehabilitation. Georgia’s workers’ compensation system pays for medical care, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and replacement of lost income if you cannot work, no matter whose fault the accident was.
Companies must post a list of at least six doctors who are authorized to treat on-the-job injuries in a common work area. Workers may select the doctor who provides their medical care from the list of doctors posted by the employer.
An injured worker’s compensation benefits from an on-the-job injury depend on their pay rate at the time of the injury.
Depending on the extent of the injury, injured workers may be eligible for three different types of income benefits:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Medical treatment, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits can all be provided by workers’ compensation.
As part of workers’ compensation, you are entitled to reasonable medical care to treat your injuries. Emergency treatment, doctors’ appointments, imaging tests, lab work, and surgery may all be considered appropriate medical care. If you fractured your arm while working in auto manufacturing, your workers’ compensation insurer should cover emergency care, treatment, an X-ray, and prescription medication.
Employers have a responsibility to provide workplaces that are safe and free of known hazards, but some companies cut corners on safety to save money. But several injuries at auto supply manufacturing plants in Georgia and other southeastern states have attracted the attention of federal workplace safety inspectors.
In 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that its inspectors would target the automotive supply manufacturing industries in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama for comprehensive inspections because of the serious injuries that have occurred, including amputations and deaths. The stepped-up inspections aim to provide safer workplaces for workers.
You deserve full compensation if you or a family member has been injured on the job. You must understand your legal options. At Parsons & Associates, P.C., our workers’ compensation attorney will review your accident and explain your legal rights at no charge. We fight for the full benefits that injured workers deserve.