Some of our clients seem surprised to learn that their employer is required to carry workers compensation insurance. They assumed that, because their company is so small, their employers were exempt from carrying insurance. Our Albany workers comp attorneys have helped clients who have been injured on the job.
Most Companies in Georgia Are Legally Required to Maintain Workers Compensation Insurance
Despite what many people think, any company in Georgia that has three or more employees is required to carry workers compensation insurance. It doesn’t matter if the employees are part-time or full-time either.
Your employer must maintain workers comp insurance because you never know when an employee will be injured. It isn’t fair for employees to be responsible for their own medical bills if they were hurt on the job.
There Are Few Exceptions to This Rule
There are a few exceptions to the laws requiring employers with three or more employees to have insurance. First, there are entire categories of workers who aren’t eligible for workers comp benefits in Georgia:
- Agricultural workers
- Federal employees
- Railroad employees
- Domestic servants
- Casual workers
- Temporary workers
- Independent contractors
Unless you fall into one of these groups, your employer is required to carry workers compensation insurance. If they fail to do this, your workers compensation attorney in Albany will report them.
Not only will your attorney have to report them, but they’ll also have to file suit against your employer.
Why Can’t Employers Choose Whether They Carry Insurance?
When the legislature in Georgia decided to implement the workers compensation program, they did so for several reasons. The overarching reason was to protect employees and employers.
In the years leading up to the workers compensation system, most workers were subjected to deplorable working conditions. They didn’t have enough money to sue their employers.
At the same time, employers couldn’t afford to defend themselves every time somebody got hurt on the job. It could cost tens of thousands of dollars a year just to defend personal injury suits.
The Point of Workers Compensation Is to Protect Both Employers and Employees
The purpose of workers comp is to help take care of injured workers. It is also intended to protect employers. If they had to defend a lawsuit every time an employee got hurt, they would possibly go bankrupt.
In a way, the Georgia workers compensation laws help protect companies from themselves. If a company chose to go without workers compensation insurance, they would find themselves in hot water.
Business Owners Don’t Have the Right to Not Maintain Insurance
According to Georgia’s workers compensation laws, any company with three or more employees must carry insurance. This is not optional. If a company is not insured and a worker gets hurt, there will be serious consequences.
The first problem is that the employees Albany workers comp attorney would report the company to the State for non-compliance. The company would then be issued heavy fines and other penalties.
The second problem is that the employee’s workers compensation attorney in Albany would have no choice but to file suit. If the employee wins, which they likely would, the company would have to pay out of pocket.
There Are Stiff Penalties if Your Employer Isn’t Covered
If your employer is caught without the requisite workers comp insurance, they can be issued serious penalties. The fines can range anywhere from $500 to $5,000 per violation.
This means that they could be forced to pay $5,000 each time an employee is hurt. This will be in addition to any damages they have to pay in a lawsuit.
What Can Your Albany Workers Comp Attorney Do if Your Employer is Uninsured?
If you are injured at work and find out your employer isn’t insured, you have options. Your Albany workers comp attorney can file suit against your employer and demand compensatory damages.
One of the benefits of suing your employer rather than going through workers compensation is that you can demand full damages – not just lost income and medical care.
If Your Company Isn’t Insured, Can You Sue for Personal Injury?
If you do need to sue your employer, it will be through a personal injury case. Your workers compensation lawyer in Albany will file a civil complaint against them. You will name your employer and any other potential defendants.
When you sue for personal injury, you can demand the following types of damages:
- Medical bills and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage (if any)
- Emotional distress
Your attorney will have to prove each type of damages listed in your initial complaint. However, if your workplace accident was legitimate, this shouldn’t be difficult.
How Will Your Employer React if You Sue Them?
When your employer learns that your Albany workers comp attorney has filed suit, they won’t be happy. While it was their own fault that they didn’t have the necessary insurance, they will be angry with you.
The good news is that it’s against the law in Georgia to fire you in retaliation for filing a legal claim. The same would be true if they were covered by workers compensation insurance.
Let One of Our Albany Workers Comp Attorneys Review Your Claim
If you’re injured on the job, you should be able to count on your employer to take care of you. The least they can do is pay your medical bills for treatment related to your injuries. If this doesn’t happen, you need to talk to an experienced Albany workers comp attorney.
Our workers compensation attorneys in Albany have helped hundreds of clients get the benefits they deserve. If your employer doesn’t have workers compensation insurance, you still have options.
We recommend you call our office so we can schedule your free, initial consultation. Take the time to have someone who understands the law review your claim. If they think it’s worth pursuing, they’ll let you know.
Since the consultation is free, you have nothing to lose.