The State Board of Workers’ Compensation has expanded the use of filing a Petition for Medical Treatment (PMT) as it relates to an employee’s failure to attend a medical appointment. Pursuant to Rule 205(c), employers and insurers are now able to use a new form, PMT(b), to petition the Board for a telephone conference with an administrative law judge (ALJ) during which the employee must “show cause” why an order should not be issued directing the employee to attend an appointment with an authorized treating physician.
- 03.28.2019Georgia Workers’ Compensation Legislative Update: Senate Bill 135 Passes the House of Representatives
On March 28, 2019, Senate Bill 135 passed the House of Representatives, after previously being passed in the Senate, and awaits Governor Brian Kemp’s signature before officially becoming law.
In a closely watched case, the Supreme Court of Georgia recently held that an insurer’s duty to settle arises only when the injured party presents a valid offer to settle within the insured’s policy limits. In First Acceptance Insurance Co. of Georgia, Inc. v. Hughes, No. S18G0517, the court unanimously reversed the Georgia Court of Appeals and reinstated a summary judgment ruling in favor of First Acceptance, finding that the insurer did not act negligently or in bad faith as a matter of law.
The Georgia Legislature is currently considering a bill that will have a substantial impact on workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia. The bill, if passed, would result in an increase in the temporary total disability rate to $675 per week and the temporary partial disability rate to $450 per week. Additionally, the bill proposes some limits to the 400-week cap in medical benefits to provide for replacement and maintenance of items such as prosthetics, spinal cord stimulators, pain pumps or certain types of durable medical equipment, provided that the item or service was furnished within 400 weeks of the date of the injury.
The Georgia Court of Appeals has affirmed and relied upon the bright-line rule established in the recent case of Frett v. State Farm Employee Workers’ Compensation, which was litigated by Swift Currie partner Chad Harris through his representation of State Farm. In Frett, the Court of Appeals concluded the ingress/egress rule does not apply to accidents and injuries occurring on regularly scheduled breaks where the employee is free to pursue personal matters. In a decision rendered on Feb. 26, 2019, in Daniel v. Bremen-Bowdon Investment Co., the Court of Appeals applied the ruling in Frett and found the claimant’s injuries are not compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
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