Under House Bill 154 signed into law by Governor Deal – there are certain significant changes to our workers’ compensation system for employees injured on or after July 1, 2013:
1) On a positive note, the maximum weekly benefit amounts have been increased. The maximum temporary total disability rate for injuries on or after July 1st will be increased from $500.00 to $525.00. The maximum rate for temporary partial disability will be increased from $334.00 to $350.00.
2) The new law limits medical treatment to 400 weeks from the accident date unless the injury is deemed catastrophic. Prior to this law, there was no time designated statute regarding closure of medical treatment.
3) For those returning to work, the employee must now attempt a suitable job offered by the employer for either 8 cumulative hours or one scheduled work day – whichever is greater prior to requesting commencement of benefits. Prior to this, the employee did not have to show that he/she worked a specific duration of time.
Again, these new laws only affect employees injured on or after July 1, 2013.