A large fire occurred this week at a Georgia Pacific plant in Texas, leaving several of the plant’s workers with serious burn injuries.
The plant where the fire occurred is in a relatively rural area, in the city of Corrigan, Texas. Some of the workers with less serious burns were taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance. However, because several of the workers sustained more severe burns, they had to be airlifted to a hospital in Houston in order to get proper treatment.
In the southeast U.S. workers with serious burn injuries are often airlifted to hospitals that offer specialized care for burn victims, like Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta or the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta. Because the Burn Center in Augusta is so well-renowned, it is common for workers whose injuries occur out-of-state, especially in South Carolina, to be transported there for treatment.
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Potential clients often ask us whether injuries that occur out-of-state can be covered under Georgia law. It is common for workers who live in Georgia to be injured while on a job just across the state line in South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, or Florida. It is also common for construction workers or truck drivers who live in Georgia to be injured in states all across the country.
O.C.G.A. § 34-9-242 outlines what jurisdiction the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation has over injuries that occur outside of Georgia. Generally, three elements must be met in order for the Board to have jurisdiction over a claim occurring out-of state: (1) the contract of employment must have been made in Georgia; (2) the contract must not expressly state that the work to be performed will be done exclusively outside of Georgia; and (3) either the inured worker’s residence or the employer’s place of business must be in Georgia.
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Thus, while the Georgia Pacific corporation is headquartered in Georgia it is unlikely that any of the injured workers in the Texas fire could file a claim here as they could not meet all three of the elements outlined above. However, there are many out-of-state injuries that would be covered by Georgia law. In fact, many workers who are injured outside of Georgia should explore whether they can file their claim in Georgia, as the benefits offered in Georgia are sometimes better than the benefits offered under other states’ laws. If you have suffered an out-of-state accident and would like to speak with a Georgia attorney about filing your claim in Georgia please contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers.