Most businesses today have more than 3 employees. As per the law, these businesses must have some type of insurance to cover the worker in case of an injury or an illness. In the past, it was not uncommon for Georgia employers to demand that employees buy their own personal injury policies.
There are countless cases where employers have been sued in the past for injuries their employees have suffered at work. And this is not a trivial matter. When the injuries are severe and result in limbs that no longer function normally or head trauma, often the employer is responsible for all the medical bills, surgeries, and rehabilitation and drug prescriptions. The fact that they failed to provide this to their injured employees resulted in many employers going bankrupt because they got sued and had to pay out enormous sums of money.
To circumvent this problem, every state in the US has now made it mandatory for employers to carry workers’ compensation for employees to cover them in case of injury or death. Workers’ Compensation is basically coverage that the employer purchases to ensure that in the event of a job-related injury, the worker is provided benefits to cover their medical bills and be compensated for any lost wages. In the event of the death of the employee due to the work-related injury, the employee’s dependents will receive the benefits.
How do Georgia employers benefit from offering workers’ compensation coverage?
While many employers may not like this extra burden, having workers compensation is a two-way street with benefits for both the employee and the employer. Employees obtain benefits irrespective of who was at fault. In return, employers are protected from litigation by injured workers seeking financial compensation for any injury, emotional trauma, pain, and suffering. In other words, it is a form of “compensation bargain” through which both the employee and the employer are protected in the event of an unfortunate accident. Employees no longer have to go through legal battles to get benefits and employers can avoid getting involved in a negligence lawsuit.
The laws regarding workers’ compensation are fairly comprehensive and provide specific benefits to workers who suffer an illness or injury related to work. These benefits range from the recovery of lost wages, death benefits, medical expenses, rehabilitation, and outpatient clinic visits. For employers who fail to have workers compensation insurance for their workers, this can result in the employer not only being penalized heavily by the state but also having to personally pay for any medical injuries suffered by the employee.
In Rome, GA, the same rules apply for all employers who employ 3 or more people. Every employer must meet the worker’s compensation obligations by purchasing an insurance policy from a private insurance company. Georgia, like other states, follows a no-fault system when it comes to workers’ compensation. This means that no matter who is at fault if a worker suffers a work-related injury, the employer is required to compensate him for medical expenses and income replacement.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover for Georgia Employees?
For the employer, it is important to know that workers compensation insurance only covers for an illness or work-related injury, but the injury does not have to always occur in the workplace. For example, if the employee is traveling on business or delivering a parcel as part of the job and gets injured, then he or she is covered. However, employees who are grossly negligent, horsing around or get injured during non-work related activities usually are not covered.
Workers are eligible for compensation for repetitive stress-related injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or if they have been exposed to toxic chemicals in the workplace. Workers can also receive compensation for any medical condition that is aggravated as a result of the work, such as exposure to toxic chemicals that cause lung damage. However, the onus is on the employee to prove that it is work-related and not something else that they did like smoking or drinking alcohol.
What is not covered under Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law?
As far as the employer’s responsibility is concerned, they are to compensate all employees who incur injuries while performing a job-related task at the workplace or elsewhere. However, there are certain exemptions which include:
- If the employee was drinking or drunk at work and got injured
- If the employee was using illicit drugs and got injured while using heavy equipment
- If the injury is self-inflicted
- If the injury occurred because of horseplay
- If the injury occurred as a result of an altercation with another employee
- If the injury occurred as a result of criminal activity at work
- If the injury occurred at work but during off work hours
- The injury is claimed after the worker is terminated
- If the injury occurred while the employee was freelancing.
What Are the Georgia Employer’s Responsibilities for Workers’ Compensation?
The employer’s responsibility does not simply end at purchasing the coverage for employees. The employer still has other responsibilities that include the following:
- Must place notices in the workplace that provides workers of their rights and benefits.
- The notice should also provide the name of the insurance carrier, a toll-free number and how to file in case of an injury.
- Must let the employee know that they have the right to seek medical treatment but only by approved doctors that have been contracted. Employees who seek outside medical care may not be compensated.
- The notice should provide information on all the potential benefits for workers compensation. If an injury has been reported, the employer has to file an application with the insurance carrier.
Find the Answers to Your Workers Compensation Questions by Contacting the Bader Law Firm
Workers’ compensation is a legal requirement if a business wants to operate in Rome, GA. If the employer neglects to abide by this requirement, there can be severe penalties and consequences. For any workers’ compensation related matters and if you need legal advice, please contact Bader Law firm. Our team of qualified and experienced attorneys will be sure to provide you with the assistance you need to settle any issues that may be the result of a work-related injury and compensation.