Stephen Hasner | Workers' Compensation | November 25, 2022
Under Georgia workers’ compensation law, any employer with three or more employees, even part-time employees, must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Even companies with one or two employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance if they are a corporation or an LLC.
Not all employers carry this insurance even when the law demands that they do. Yet there are serious legal consequences for failing to maintain workers’ compensation insurance when the law requires it.
Georgia allows some companies to self-insure rather than purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a third party. Obviously, a company that self-insures must hold enough assets to guarantee the payment of their employees’ work-related injury compensation. Although the application process is lengthy, Georgia allows more than 300 companies and 100 government agencies to self-insure.
Who Doesn’t Need To Carry Workers’ Compensation?
Georgia state law and federal law exempts several types of employers from the obligation to carry workers’ compensation insurance:
- Companies and sole proprietors with one or two employees that are not LLCs or corporations;
- Government agencies;
- Railroad companies; and
- Farm laborer employers.
You can search online to find out if your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance.
Penalties for Failing To Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Georgia imposes many penalties on employers who neglect their legal obligation to carry workers’ compensation insurance. These penalties include:
- A fine of $500 to $1,000 for failure to submit required forms. These fines are re-imposed with every failure to submit the required forms.
- Georgia can impose fines of $1,000 to $10,000 each time a company unjustly denies compensation to its employee.
- Intentionally failing to purchase workers’ compensation insurance results in a fine of $500 to $5,000 for each violation.
- Georgia can add 10% to the workers’ compensation award for employees of a company that fails to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
- Deliberately failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage results in a misdemeanor criminal charge that can result in a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and up to a year in jail.
Georgia enjoys great discretion when imposing these penalties.
How To Report Your Employer
If your employer fails to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, you can anonymously report them to the State Board Enforcement Division by completing the appropriate documentation and sending it to ReportFraud@SBWC.ga.gov.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
In Georgia, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation administers the local workers’ compensation program. The workers’ compensation program is a substitute for the usual personal injury compensation system created solely to handle work-related injuries. Workers’ compensation will compensate you for your medical expenses and for at least a portion of your lost wages.
Worker’s compensation is no-fault, meaning that you don’t have to prove your employer was at fault. In fact, in most cases, you can win your claim even if you were the party at fault. The major downside to the workers’ compensation system is that you cannot file a lawsuit except under unusual circumstances.
This means that you cannot claim noneconomic damages such as emotional distress as well as pain and suffering. Noneconomic damages add up to well over half the value of many personal injury claims.
The Great Loophole: Working Around the Workers’ Compensation System
If you doubt your ability to obtain workers’ compensation coverage because your employer has not purchased any, there may be a workaround that will allow you to obtain far more than workers’ compensation would ever award you.
If you can find a third party who is responsible for your injuries, you can file an ordinary personal injury lawsuit against them. You will have to prove fault, but if you win, you can obtain noneconomic damages – which might more than double the value of your claim.
Let an Experienced Atlanta Workers’ Comp Attorney Guide You Through the Process
The Georgia workers’ compensation system can be a bureaucratic nightmare, especially if there is controversy surrounding your claim. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can help you every step of the way and maximize the value of your claim.
Contact the Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help
We serve in Fulton County, Chatham County, and its surrounding areas: