(a) A principal, intermediate, or subcontractor shall be liable for compensation to any employee injured while in the employ of any of his subcontractors engaged upon the subject matter of the contract to the same extent as the immediate employer.
(b) Any principal, intermediate, or subcontractor who shall pay compensation under subsection (a) of this Code section may recover the amount paid from any person who, independently of this Code section, would have been liable to pay compensation to the injured employee or from any intermediate contractor.
(c) Every claim for compensation under this Code section shall be in the first instance presented to and instituted against the immediate employer, but such proceedings shall not constitute a waiver of the employee’s right to recover compensation under this chapter from the principal or intermediate contractor. If such immediate employer is not subject to this chapter by reason of having less than the required number of employees as prescribed in subsection (a) of Code Section 34-9-2 and Code Section 34-9-124 does not apply, then such claim may be directly presented to and instituted against the intermediate or principal contractor. However, the collection of full compensation from one employer shall bar recovery by the employee against any others, and the employee shall not collect a total compensation in excess of the amount for which any of the contractors is liable.
(d) This Code section shall apply only in cases where the injury occurred on, in, or about the premises on which the principal contractor has undertaken to execute work or which are otherwise under his control or management.