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    Georgia Worker's Compensation

    Georgia Worker's Compensation

    Any business that regularly employs three or more employees in Georgia must carry workers' compensation insurance. "Regular" refers to any employee who works for a company regularly, regardless of the individual's average weekly salary.

    Corporate executives are considered employees if a company is incorporated. Georgia permits up to five policemen to waive their own coverage. However, this does not negate their status as a corporation employing at least three individuals.

    Even companies with fewer than three employees should consider purchasing workers' compensation insurance. The workers' compensation rate is proportional to the number of employees, making the insurance affordable for small businesses.

    How Workers’ Comp Works In Georgia

    How Workers’ Comp Works In Georgia

    According to the Georgia workers' compensation law, coverage must begin on the first day of employment.

    When an employee sustains a work-related accident, workers' compensation insurance covers the cost of authorized medical treatment. This includes hospitalization, medications, and physical rehabilitation.

    If an employee must take time off work, workers' compensation also gives temporary partial disability payments or temporary total disability benefits. Typically, the sum is two-thirds of their average weekly wage.

    In the event of a catastrophic injury that results in permanent partial or entire disability, such as the loss of a body part, the injured employee receives weekly payments for a period of time defined by the severity of their damage.

    Typically, policies include employer's liability insurance, which can help pay legal costs if an employee holds the employer responsible for an injury. However, the exclusive remedy provision in the majority of workers' compensation agreements precludes employees who accept workers' compensation benefits from suing their employers.

    Penalties For Not Having Workers’ Comp Insurance In Georgia

    In Georgia, failing to have workers' compensation insurance could result in both civil and criminal sanctions. Workers' compensation is governed by the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation, whose enforcement division will examine any incidences of noncompliance or suspicions of fraud. In circumstances of non-compliance, employers may face the following:

    Liability

    Workers Compensation Insurance

    If an employer does not provide the necessary workers' compensation coverage, the employer is responsible for compensating injured employees in the same manner as if workers' compensation insurance had been in place. If the employer lacks insurance, the employer could be held liable for attorney's fees, fines and penalties, and a 10% increase in compensation to the injured worker.

    Civil Penalties

    Each violation of workers' compensation requirements could result in a fine between $100 and $1,000. False claims presented to the board may result in fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per offense. If an employer fails to offer the required insurance coverage, the civil penalty per violation might range from $500 to $5,000.

    Criminal Penalties

    Employers who knowingly refuse or fail to maintain insurance coverage may be found guilty of a misdemeanor. The offense is liable for a fine of $1,000 to $10,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both if convicted.

    Workers’ Compensation-Related Statistics In Georgia

    It doesn’t matter how skilled, experienced, or knowledgeable a worker is. Work-related injuries and illnesses can still occur at anytime and anywhere. And these can have great effects on a worker’s health, lifestyle, and productivity. They may also result in financial and mental stress.

    Additionally, work-related injuries and illnesses can have a negative effect on your business. It might result in lower productivity, morale, and profitability. They might even lead to damaged reputations and closure if the incident is not handled correctly.

    You can avoid these by securing sufficient worker’s compensation coverage for your employees. In addition to being required by Georgia law, it supports and protects your business from financial losses due to workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

    Consider these Georgia workers’ comp-related statistics:

    • Georgia reported more than 78,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019
    • 75,300 of the recorded cases were injuries, while the remaining 2,700 were illnesses
    • 41,600 of the 78,000 reported workplace injuries and illnesses were severe cases
    • 56% of DART cases (workplace injuries and illnesses that require work restrictions, days away from work, or job transfers) resulted in at least one full day away from work
    • Based on the reported information, Georgia has an average incidence rate of 2.5 work-related injuries or illness cases for every 100 full-time workers
    • Georgia is one of only 14 states and the District of Columbia with an incidence rate that is lower than the national total recordable cases (TRC) rate of 2.8
    • TRC rates range from 0.5 in the information sector to 3.5 in education and health services
    • Trade, transportation, and utilities, education, and health services accounted for 55% of occupational injuries and illnesses in Georgia’s private employment sector

    Frequently Asked Questions 

    These are some of the most frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation in Georgia:

    Is workers’ compensation coverage required for all businesses in Georgia?

    Workers’ compensation insurance is a requirement for businesses that employ at least three full-time employees, regular part-time employees, and seasonal workers. It’s required by Georgia law.

    If a business is incorporated, are officers considered employees?

    Yes, they are. In this scenario, the corporation is the employer, and all officers are considered employees of the business. Up to five officers may waive coverage after completing a form WC-10 and filing it with your insurance carrier.

    Are there any exemptions from workers’ compensation in Georgia?

    Consultants, freelance workers, and independent contractors are exempted through a 1099 form; they are responsible for the payment of their own income tax. As such, they are not entitled to receive workers’ compensation. Other exemptions include:

    • Domestic workers
    • Farm workers
    • Railroad carriers
    • U.S. government agencies

    Other Insurance Types

    The State Board of Workers' Compensation Settlement Division of Georgia analyzes and approves workers' compensation settlements consisting of lump amounts or recurring payments.

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