Workers’ compensation is a form of no-fault coverage for employees who suffer injuries or certain financial or personal losses as a result of a workplace accident or while performing work-related tasks. This coverage is required by businesses in Georgia that have at least three employees, although some farmworkers, federal employees, domestic workers, railroad workers, and independent contractors are not required to have—and therefore may not be covered—by workers’ compensation.
In some cases, a different form of legal protection for workplace injuries may exist for those not covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers Who Are Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Businesses with at least three employees are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage under Georgia workers’ compensation laws. However, the following businesses and work categories are exempt from this requirement:
Anyone employed in by the U.S. federal government is not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. Instead of workers’ compensation, these employees are typically eligible for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation—or DFEC coverage—for workplace injuries or losses.
Instead of being eligible for employer-sponsored workers’ compensation coverage, railroad employees may be able to recover compensation through the Federal Employee’s Liability Act (FELA), or 45 U.S.C. § 51. If a railroad worker suffers an injury on the job or as a result of the negligence, recklessness, or carelessness of the railroad, the worker can sue the railroad for damages under FELA. Typical losses that may be compensable, depending on the case, include medical treatment costs and lost income or wages. The injured worker may also be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering.
Farmworkers are those who work at a business whose primary operations involve growing, planting, or harvesting crops or raising or processing livestock. Farmworkers are usually not covered by workers’ compensation laws, as outlined in O.C.G.A. 34-9-2.
Someone who works on the docks or in a port loading, unloading, or building ships may be considered a longshoreman. Instead of workers’ compensation, these workers are covered by the Department of Labor’s Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
Independent Contractors/Sole Proprietors
Self-employed, independent contractors and sole proprietors such as consultants and freelancers are typically ineligible for any sort of workers’ compensation. Such workers hold tax-exempt status and pay their own income tax, meaning they are not covered by workers’ compensation provisions. However, contractors and sole proprietors may be able to purchase a work injury policy from their own insurance company, which they may be able to use instead of workers’ compensation.
If an independent contractor or sole proprietor was injured while working due to another party’s negligence, they may also be able to pursue compensation from the liable party in a personal injury lawsuit.
Small Business Owners
Georgia businesses with three or more regular employees must provide their employees with workers’ compensation. Very small businesses with two or fewer workers are exempt from this requirement. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC) allows users to search for their employer online to determine if they carry workers’ compensation insurance.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Filing for and Receiving Benefits
Keep in mind that your status and eligibility for workers’ compensation is only part of the story if you want to file a claim for compensation or coverage for work-related injuries or damages. Even if your employer provides coverage, you must prove that your injuries or losses occurred during or as a result of work-related tasks or errands.
Furthermore, your injuries must also be covered by your employer’s policy, and certain coverage limits may also apply.
If the SBWC denies your workers’ compensation benefits, you can appeal the results twice, first with an SBWC judge, and a second time before the Appellate Division.
Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for Assistance With Your Case
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers helps injured workers in the Atlanta area with their workers’ compensation claims. Whether you are just getting starting on your claim and want assistance, or if your workers’ compensation claim was denied and you want representation during the appeals project, Bader Scott Injury Lawyers may be able to help you.
For a free, no-obligation consultation on your case with a member of our team, call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers today at (678) 562-5595. A representative is standing by to discuss your injuries, your legal options, and whether or not you may be covered by workers’ compensation.