As an essential aspect of protection, workers’ compensation provides crucial benefits to businesses in the event of work-related injuries or illnesses. One common question arises: How much does workers’ comp pay in Georgia?” By delving into the specific regulations, requirements, and processes surrounding workers’ compensation in Georgia, this article aims to equip business owners with the knowledge they need to navigate this vital system effectively and understand the monetary benefits employees may receive through workers’ compensation.
Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance a requirement?
Workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia is required for businesses with more than three employees.
Even if you do not have three employees in your business, Georgia workers’ comp insurance still offers important protection to you, your employees, and your company.
Workers’ compensation can pay for the following:
- Emergency Treatment
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Death benefits
Not having coverage could result in substantially higher out-of-pocket expenses for a work-related injury in Georgia compared to the cost of workers’ comp.
Customers may ask for a Certificate of Insurance (COI).
Before they work with you, some clients may require that you have a Certificate of Insurance. This could be for workers’ compensation and other coverage. An active policy can give you a competitive advantage.
Different agencies may also require a COI to issue you with a professional license. To receive a license for general contractors in Georgia, you will need to provide proof of workers’ compensation and general liability insurance.
What types of businesses buy Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?
Workers’ compensation insurance can provide financial protection to almost any type of business, regardless of whether it has employees or not.
Accidents and injuries can occur anywhere, even in desk jobs.
Who is exempted from Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Georgia?
Georgia’s workers’ compensation law exempts sole proprietors. However, many sole proprietors opt to have coverage, particularly if they own a construction business.
If your company is a corporation, you can exclude up to five officers from the workers’ compensation policy. However, they will not be eligible for benefits in case of an injury. If you’re the CEO, you can exempt yourself.
You would still be considered an employee if you have three or more employees at your business.
For example, an assistant hired to do basic office work may develop carpal tunnel syndrome or another similar condition. You could be liable for the treatment costs and lost wages of your employee if you do not have workers’ compensation coverage.
Workers’ compensation coverage is important even for businesses that are less likely to experience workplace accidents. This will help you avoid unplanned costs and disrupt your business.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation System Explained
Workers’ compensation can save you from having to pay for injuries that occur at work. Workers’ compensation typically covers up to the policy limits for:
- Medical costs
- Loss of Income
- Permanent injury
- Survivor benefits
For example, you own a small landscape business and have a few workers. A falling tree branch causes a deep cut in the arm of an employee while on the job. He’ll need to visit the emergency room to get stitches. Workers’ compensation will cover his emergency treatment costs and lost wages during recovery.
Workers’ compensation can also cover the costs of burial and survivors’ benefits up to the limits.
Workers’ compensation doesn’t cover situations where the injured person has violated company policies or committed misconduct, or if they have used drugs or alcohol.
Georgia workers’ compensation income benefits
In Georgia, income benefits will be paid if the employee is unable to work for more than 7 days. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation will determine the maximum amount per year.
Temporary Disability is offered when an injury at work prevents the injured worker from working for 400 weeks or more. The injured person can receive two-thirds of their average weekly salary up to $675.
Reduced Work Disability is available if the injured employee can only return to a job that pays less. The employee can receive reduced weekly benefits of up to $450 a week, depending on their earnings.
Permanent Disability Benefits are paid if the doctor determines that an individual will not fully recover. The American Medical Association determines the number of weekly benefits that can be received based on both the type and severity of the injury.
Workers’ Comp death benefits in Georgia
Workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the deceased employee to their dependents. This amount is up to $675 and can be capped at $270,000.
Dependents can be defined as:
- Surviving spouse
- Dependent stepchildren
The workers’ compensation death benefits cover burial costs up to $7500.
Settlements for Workers’ Compensation in Georgia
After the state board has approved a workers’ compensation claim, two settlement options are available: liability or non-liability.
Liability settlements: When the insurance company settles the claim with no dispute about the accident or your injury.
Settlements without Liability: With non-liability, the claim has been resolved, but there may be outstanding questions about eligibility for benefits or disputes.
Settlements can be made in Georgia as a single lump sum payment, or as a structured settlement that is paid monthly or annually over a specified period.
What penalties are there for not having Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?
Failure to obtain workers’ compensation when required by Georgia law could result in civil penalties of up to $1,000 or criminal penalties such as fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment.
Although getting worker’s compensation is not always required by law in Georgia, your employees may still sue you for medical costs and lost wages after an injury at work.
If, for example, one of your employees injures his back while installing a heavy fencepost, workers’ compensation coverage could cover the injury. Your employee may sue you if you do not have a current policy and demand that you pay their medical bills. This could result in long-term financial loss.
What is the cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia?
Workers’ compensation costs differ across industries because the risk of an injury at work is higher for certain occupations. The following factors can influence the price:
- The number of employees, and the types of work that they do
- Your insurance claim history
- The places where you conduct business
Find the right workers’ compensation coverage for your Georgia business with BizInsure
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