Stephen Hasner | Workers' Compensation | October 12, 2017
Workers’ compensation law in Georgia is complicated, and a recent Georgia Court of Appeals opinion further strengthens the state’s interpretation that workers’ compensation is the sole remedy for injured employees. While those who were injured in car accidents by someone else’s negligence may file third-party personal injury claims, this 2016 case clearly delineates that Georgia’s workers’ compensation law is the only recourse injured employees have to obtain compensation from their employers for injuries sustained on the job—including those injuries sustained in car accidents.
What Happens When a Company Doesn’t Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?
In Saxon v. Starr Indemnity and Liability Company, Gregory Saxon was riding as a passenger in one of the company’s delivery trucks when the driver, a coworker, rear-ended another vehicle. Saxon was injured in the accident, and he approached his employer regarding workers’ compensation. Starr, however, hadn’t purchased this legally mandated coverage, so Saxon instead pursued a personal injury claim against his employer.
Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act
Before Saxon’s case went to trial, Starr’s insurance company argued that Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act, which determines that workers’ compensation benefits are the sole remedy for injured employees, should preclude the case from going to trial.
Saxon countered if that were so, then he would have no recourse because Starr lacked workers’ compensation coverage. Saxon asked the court—in the interest of fairness—to allow his case to proceed. The trial court agreed with the insurance company’s claim and dismissed Saxon’s case. Saxon appealed the decision, and the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the case’s dismissal.
The Georgia Court of Appeals’ Decision
The Georgia Court of Appeals found that Saxon was not left without remedy for the injuries he suffered in his on-the-job vehicular accident. Indeed, the court explained that all Georgia employers are required to cover their employees with workers’ compensation insurance, and that those that fail to do so are liable for the full amount warranted by any workers’ compensation claim.
If the employer, furthermore, is insolvent as a business, the obligation to compensate an injured employee then falls on the employer’s agent who was responsible for obtaining workers’ compensation insurance in the first place.
You May Have Two Cases: Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury
Georgia’s workers’ compensation law is complicated, and if you drive on the job, it can be more complicated still. If you’ve been injured in a car accident while working, you need an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney to guide your claim to its best possible outcome.
In fact, if you’re injured in a car accident by someone else’s negligence, you may also have a third-party personal injury claim. Car accidents can cost you a great deal more than just lost work and medical expenses, and if your injuries were caused by another’s negligence, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you recover your actual losses through a third-party personal injury case.
Consult with an Experienced Atlanta Work-Related Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured while driving on the job in Atlanta, you have a workers’ compensation claim. If your job-related injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you may also have a personal injury case. These cases can be extremely complicated, but Hasner Law is here to help you understand your case and your rights as we fight to obtain the full compensation to which you’re entitled. Please give our Atlanta office a call at (678) 888-4878 . You can also reach a member of our legal team via live chat.