If you are injured on the job, you may assume your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will cover your medical bills and disability benefits while you are unable to work. But that relief can turn to distress if you find out that your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
As an injured employee, you have rights under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act. For over 25 years, workers’ compensation attorney Gregory Smith has fought to protect the rights of injured workers across Georgia. Gregory Smith Law, LLC is here to help you understand your legal options if your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp coverage.
Because our law firm focuses solely on workers’ compensation law, Gregory Smith Law, LLC has the experience and resources to handle even the most complex workers’ compensation cases. Let Augusta workers’ compensation attorney Gregory Smith offer trusted guidance if you’re struggling after a work-related injury to get the compensation needed to recover and get your life back on track.
Contact our firm today for a free initial consultation to discuss your legal rights and options for seeking benefits after you have suffered a work injury.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a benefits program established by Georgia law that provides medical and income benefits to workers who suffer a job-related injury or illness. Workers’ compensation benefits include payment for all necessary medical treatment, partial wage replacement for time missed from work, and payments for permanent disabilities. It also provides payments to dependents of workers who are killed on the job.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault benefits system. An employee does not need to prove that an employer caused the injury to collect benefits. An injured employee is entitled to benefits solely because their injury or illness occurred in the course of performing their job duties. In exchange for providing workers’ comp benefits to employees, the employer is shielded from personal injury lawsuits with limited exceptions.
Georgia Employer Requirements for Workers’ Compensation
Under Georgia law, any business that has three or more employees is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Full-time, part-time and temporary employees are covered. Under certain circumstances, an employer may be self-insured for workers’ compensation purposes.
Even if your employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance on the date of accident, you may still pursue a worker’s compensation claim against the company. Many uninsured companies have the financial ability to pay workers’ comp claims “out-of-pocket”. In the event the employer is insolvent and unable to pay an Award of benefits from the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, an injured employee may sue the owners and officers of the business personally to collect the amount of the Award.
Gregory Smith Law, LLC can help you verify whether your employer should provide workers’ compensation benefits to you if you have been injured on the job.
Employer Liability and Penalties
Any business that knowingly neglects to provide workers’ compensation insurance may face criminal penalties and civil fines. The State Board of Workers’ Compensation can assess fines and penalties of hundreds to thousands of dollars for employers who don’t have workers’ compensation insurance and can also award a 10 percent increase in financial compensation to injured or ill workers when their employer lacks workers’ comp coverage.
Employers who fail to file the required forms for workers’ compensation claims or who make false or misleading statements to deny workers’ compensation claims can also face fines ranging from $100 to $10,000, depending on the circumstances of the violation.
Employers who don’t secure workers’ comp insurance or self-insure also face possible criminal penalties. Georgia law makes willful failure to secure workers’ comp insurance a misdemeanor offense. A conviction for failing to provide workers’ compensation can carry a sentence of up to one year in jail or prison, along with a potential fine of $1,000 to $10,000.
Do You Need a GA Workers’ Comp Lawyer?
You should contact a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney if you are injured at work or suffer an occupational illness and your employer is disputing your right to receive benefits. A workers’ comp lawyer can help you evaluate your legal rights and options and assist you with pursuing the benefits available by law.
A workers’ compensation attorney at Gregory Smith Law, LLC can help if you are having trouble getting the benefits you believe you are entitled to after a work injury or illness. An attorney can review the denial of your workers’ comp claim and help you provide additional information to the insurer to get the denial overturned or help you file a formal workers’ comp claim with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Contact Gregory Smith Law, LLC for a free, no-obligation case review to speak to a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer. Learn about how our firm can help you if you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness and your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance.