Georgia workers' compensation insurance: Your ultimate resource


Understanding Georgia workers' compensation insurance

Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws require any business with three or more employees to be covered by an active workers’ compensation insurance policy. 

If you’re a business owner in Georgia, it’s crucial to protect yourself, your business and your employees with workers’ compensation insurance. 

What is workers' compensation?

Imagine a safety net that catches you when the unexpected happens at work – that's workers' compensation insurance. It's not just any coverage; it's your assurance that both you and your team are protected in case of work-related injuries or illnesses. This coverage provides medical care, financial support, and legal protection, ensuring a smoother path to recovery.

Without workers’ compensation, the cost of an injured or ill employee’s medical treatment could become the responsibility of your business.

Georgia workers' compensation laws

Georgia doesn't play by the same rules as everyone else. The greats state  follows a no-fault system, meaning the blame game is off the table. 

If you're injured on the job, you're generally entitled to benefits regardless of who's at fault. This system is designed to swiftly support injured employees, helping them regain their health and return to work without unnecessary legal battles.

Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation states that the law requires employers with three or more employees (part-time or full-time) to be covered by a workers’ compensation insurance policy. 

Penalties for failing to provide workers’ compensation in Georgia include:

  • Fines ranging from $500-$5,000 per violation
  • Misdemeanor charges against the offending corporate executive or business owner
  • Potential jail time of up to one year
  • Additional criminal fines ranging from $1,000-$10,000

Georgia workers' compensation insurance

Coverage and benefits

Who is Covered?

Workers' compensation in Georgia covers employees who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses while performing their duties. This coverage includes medical treatment, wage replacement, and related benefits to support injured workers during their recovery.

Available workers' compensation insurance policies cover a wide range of workers, including full-time and part-time employees, as well as seasonal and temporary workers. It typically applies to employees across various industries and job roles, providing benefits in case of work-related injuries, illnesses, or occupational diseases.

Who’s exempt from workers’ compensation?

There are certain groups of workers that Georgia's workers' comp law doesn't cover. Even if an employer has three or more workers, folks in these categories may not be required to get workers' comp benefits.

Georgia's workers' compensation rules do not apply to:

1. Railroad workers

2. Farmers and farm workers

3. Federal government employees

Benefits Provided

Georgia workers’ comp insurance provides three types of benefits for work injuries:

  • medical benefits
  • lost wages
  • permanent disability

These benefits cover:

  • Work-related accidents, injuries and/or illnesses 
  • Missed wages resulting from time away from work for recovery
  • Ongoing care costs for work-related injuries or illnesses
  • Funeral costs for fatal work-related illness or accidents
  • Permanent disability benefits

Georgia workers’ compensation rates

If workers are away from work for more than seven days because of a work-related injury or illness they are eligible to receive weekly income benefits. These are two-thirds of their average weekly earnings and a max of $675 weekly. 

These benefits cannot be received for over 400 weeks. Luckily, most workers recover before that time. 

Georgia workers’ compensation cost

Ah, the big question – what's the cost? Well, it varies. Several factors influence the cost of workers' compensation insurance in Georgia:

  • Industry: Different industries have varying risk levels, affecting your premium.
  • Payroll: The size of your payroll impacts your premium – more employees, higher cost.
  • Claims History: Your past claims history can sway the cost – a clean track record can save you money.
  • Safety Measures: Implementing safety measures can actually lower your premium, making it a win-win for your team and your budget.

As of 2020, the Georgia’s workers’ compensation index rate was $1.64. So, if you had “three employees with a total payroll of $100,000, you’d pay $1,640 around per year for workers’ compensation."

Georgia workers' compensation insurance

Georgia workers' compensation insurance process

Georgia’s workers’ comp claims process

In the event of a work-related injury or illness, employees must promptly notify their employer and seek medical attention. 

In Georgia, workers have 30 days from the day of the accident to report an injury to their employer. 

Employees are responsible for reporting the incident to their employer and the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation (SBWC). The injured employee should complete the necessary forms and provide supporting documentation to initiate the claims process.

According to the Georgia government website, employees should take the following steps when suffering a work-related injury or illness.

  • Within 30 days of the accident or onset of illness, fill out the WC-14 form. Be sure to provide your name and address and the complete name and address of your employer and their insurance company, a detailed explanation of your injury and what benefits you are seeking. Note if you only seek to “notify SBWC of a claim or if you also want a hearing or a mediation”.
  • Submit the forms in person or through mail at the address listed on the form in Section E (“Certificate of Service”).
  • Send copies of the form to your employer and their workers' compensation insurance carrier.
  • Notification of benfits: Your employer’s insurance claims office will notify you if your benefits were approved and what they are. 
  • If you disagree with the approved benefits or if your claim was denied, you have the right to request a hearing from SBWC .
  • Medical treatment: To remain eligible for benefits, get the medical or rehabilitation care ordered by your physician or SBWC In order to remain eligible for benefits, you must return to work when your physician determines you are able, even if you must get a different job as a result of your injury.
  • Return to work: You must return to work when your physician determines you are able to, even if you must get a different job as a result of your injury. This is also required to remain eligible for benefits

Selecting a workers' compensation insurance provider

Insurance Requirements for Employers

Employers in Georgia with three or more employees must carry workers' compensation insurance or qualify for self-insurance, depending on their size and industry. Compliance with these requirements is essential to protect both the employer and employees.

Choosing the Right Insurance Provider

When selecting a workers' compensation insurance provider, consider factors such as the provider's experience in the industry, financial stability, coverage options, claims process, customer service, and cost. 

It's advisable to request multiple quotes and compare the offerings before deciding.

Covering your business and employees with a trusted insurer—like Cake—brings peace of mind so you can focus on your bottom line.

Cake Insure assumes no responsibility for the management or control of customer safety activities. Please ensure your business meets the requirements of all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances related to workplace safety.  The guidance provided herein is not intended to act as legal advice.  Please refer to the Georgia's State Board of Workers' Compensation website for additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the penalties for non-compliance with workers' compensation laws in Georgia?
How do I verify an employer’s coverage?
How long do I have to report a work-related injury or illness?
Are independent contractors covered by workers' compensation insurance?
Can an employee sue their employer for a work-related injury or illness?

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