Workers’ compensation insurance covers most on-the-job injuries, whether that means a car accident during a business trip or a repetitive motion injury caused by typing for long periods. Although the vast majority of Georgia employers are required to carry this form of insurance, some are not – and if that happens to you, you’ll need an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process of filing a claim.
Which Organizations Must Carry Workers’ Comp?
The basic principle behind workers’ compensation systems is that they reduce the overall amount of civil litigation, both for the companies and for the workers. By allowing injured workers to seek compensation without proving that their employer was at fault, workers’ compensation is supposed to be a more straightforward way for workers to recover after an accident. This is why Georgia law requires all companies with more than 3 employees to purchase workers’ comp insurance and maintain it at all times.
Of course, some employers attempt to get around this requirement by misclassifying their workers as independent contractors, or by under-reporting the number of full and part-time employees they have on staff. Additionally, government agencies, agricultural businesses, and railroad services are not required to carry workers’ compensation at all. If any of these scenarios apply to you, you will have to seek out an alternative method to get funding for your medical costs and other expenses.
What Happens If I’m Not Covered by Workers’ Comp?
The workers' compensation system is regulated by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation in Georgia, which oversees over 250,000 employers. By checking their website, you can confirm if your employer carries this kind of insurance. For those who do not have an employer with insurance, there are a few different options available to you, depending on your unique situation.
If your employer is breaking state law by failing to carry insurance, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation is authorized to penalize them with up to $1,000 per violation. This is also true if your employer has insurance, but fails to submit your forms in a timely manner, which can result in up to $10,000 in fines for the company. Therefore, companies have an incentive to work with the State Board, and you can also report your employer for failing to follow their legal obligation.
If your employer simply does not have to carry insurance, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to get appropriate compensation. Because civil lawsuits require that you prove fault, however, this will only be successful if your employer actively contributed to your workplace injury.
Finally, in some cases you may be able to avoid litigation by filing a claim with the Uninsured Employers’ Fund, which is a state-operated fund designed to protect those who are not covered by workers’ comp. For short-term and long-term disabilities, there are also temporary disability programs provided by Social Security to cover your losses.
Personalized Assistance for Any Claim
At Herbert Chestnut & Associates, we know the Georgia workers’ compensation system inside and out. We also regularly help clients file civil lawsuits, and we can assist you with filing for Social Security Disability Insurance too. Whatever your needs, we'll create a tailored and customized legal strategy that will reflect your unique situation – and increase your chances of getting a fair outcome. When you’ve been injured, you don’t have to navigate this on your own: Give us a call!
Call (770) 661-0091 for a free consultation on your workplace injury today.