How Do I Find Out If My Employer Has Workers’ Comp?
It may not be highlighted in new employee orientation, but almost all employed workers in Georgia are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Most businesses are required by law to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage to protect their employees. Businesses that disregard the requirement can face serious consequences.
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance for workers who are injured while on the job or who become ill because of work conditions. Workers’ comp pays for medical treatment and replaces a portion of wages during the injured worker’s recovery. It also provides additional benefits for workers with long-term disabilities. In return, the employer is shielded from being sued by the injured employee as a result of the injury.
Since few employees come into contact with the Georgia workers’ compensation program before they need injury benefits, most workers know little about the program. If an employer tries to deny workers’ comp benefits or states that no benefits are available after an accident, the injured worker may need some help to verify what benefits are available.
Most businesses in Georgia are required to have worker’s compensation insurance, as stated above. The Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation has an online search tool accessible here to identify the insurance coverage held by employers. If you believe your employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance and no record of coverage can be found, you can contact the Board’s Enforcement Division at (404) 657-7285 or toll-free at (800) 743-5436.
If you have been injured on the job in the greater Atlanta area, the knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers at Adamson & Cleveland, LLC can provide a free consultation to review your rights to workplace injury benefits. We can help you file a claim and help you seek the full compensation available by law.
What Types of Employers Must Offer Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?
Every employer, individual, firm, association or corporation regularly employing three or more full-time, part-time or seasonal employees in Georgia is required by state law to have workers’ compensation insurance. Corporations, including LLCs, must include corporate officers or members among the three-or-more employee count, regardless of whether they exempt themselves from coverage.
“Employee” or “worker” refers to any person, including minors, working full-time or part-time, whether a contract for the work is written or implied. A partner or sole proprietor is not an employee of a business unless he or she wants to obtain workers’ comp insurance and be covered by it as an employee.
Exceptions to the law include:
- Employees of railroads
- Employees of U.S. government agencies
- Farm laborers
- Domestic workers.
There are federal programs that provide work-injury benefits for railroad workers and other employees of the U.S. government. Agricultural workers and individuals hired as domestic help have traditionally not been covered by workers’ compensation.
How Long Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Workers’ compensation benefits are payments for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Permanent disability
- Fatal workplace injuries (payments to survivors)
Georgia workers’ compensation insurance pays for all authorized doctor bills, hospital bills, physical therapy, prescriptions and necessary travel expenses related to medical treatment for an injury or illness caused by an accident on the job. You may also be entitled to payments for the cost of physical and vocational rehabilitation.
An injured employee is entitled to weekly income benefits if unable to work for more than seven days. The payment is two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage, up to $675 per week.
Your first wage-replacement check should be mailed to you within 21 days after the first day you missed work. If you miss more than 21 consecutive days, you will be paid for the first week.
You are entitled to benefits for up to 400 weeks for a temporary total disability, if you cannot work but are expected to recover. If you have been disabled by a catastrophic injury, you may be entitled to lifetime permanent disability benefits based on the type and extent of your disability.
Georgia workers’ compensation law also provides specific benefits for loss of use of a part of your body. For example, if you lost an arm or leg you would receive benefits for a set period of time.
If your doctor releases you to return to work with limitations or restrictions, your benefits may be reduced by the amount of money you earn by working.
The goal of workers’ compensation is to assist an injured worker until he or she can return to work. If you are released from medical care to return to work with no limitations or restrictions, your income benefits will be suspended and eventually cease if there are no further complications from your injury.
In the event of a worker’s death, workers’ comp pays up to $7,500 in burial expenses. Dependents who were wholly dependent on the worker’s earnings for support at the time of the fatal injury may receive benefits equal to temporary total disability payments.
Can I Sue If My Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
If your employer has not purchased workers’ compensation insurance but was required by law to do so, then you may have a right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses through a personal injury claim.
Such a claim requires you to be able to show that the employer was negligent or in some way caused your accident and injury by failing to provide a safe workplace.
There are numerous codes, laws, standards and guidelines in place that inform business owners of their duties for maintaining safe workplaces and protecting employees. A failure to maintain work safety standards may be used as evidence in a personal injury claim.
Our experienced Georgia workers’ comp attorneys can also assist you with a personal injury claim seeking compensation for medical expenses and lost wages that should have been covered by workers’ compensation. A personal injury lawsuit also may demand compensation for your pain and suffering.
Contact Us Now for Legal Help After a Workplace Injury in Georgia
If you were hurt in a workplace accident in Norcross, GA, Gwinnett County, or anywhere in the greater Atlanta area, the workers’ comp attorneys at Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, can help you pursue the full worker’ comp benefits available by law. From filing your workers’ compensation claim to appealing a denied claim, our attorneys have the experience to recover the compensation that Georgia law says you should have.
Schedule a free and confidential legal consultation by contacting us today.
Alan is a Gwinnett County native who proudly serves his community and provides skilled representation to injury victims and their families as a founding partner of the personal injury law firm of Adamson & Cleveland, LLC. Alan earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and went on to graduate, summa cum laude, from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. He is also a graduate of Gerry Spence’s renowned Trial Lawyers College (TLC) in Wyoming. In his free time, Alan frequently speaks at continuing legal education seminars. He also volunteers as a youth baseball coach and assists his local high school’s moot court competition team.