Does your employer have workers’ comp coverage?
Of the many tools that have been established to protect workers in Georgia, workers’ compensation insurance is among the most important. Most employers are required to carry insurance, but too many businesses overlook this crucial step.
Here’s what you need to know about workers’ compensation insurance, and how to find out if you are being adequately protected.
Why is workers’ compensation insurance important?
Workers’ compensation is an essential tool in protecting your rights. If you are injured on the job, or even if you have an injury that is made worse by your job, you are likely entitled to compensation. Although it can include the lost wages you rely upon while missing work, you do not need to be unable to work to qualify. On the contrary, any injury can entitle you to some form of compensation, no matter how slight.
Generally, employers do not pay claims directly. When an employee is injured on the job, they file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer’s insurance company. Once this claim is filed, the insurance company investigates your claim, examines the events that led to the injury, determines the extent of your injury and hopefully awards compensation for your injuries and losses.
The job of a workers’ compensation insurance company can be quite complex. Due to this inherent complexity, an employer is unlikely to be able to go through this process on its own. More importantly, the amount of compensation for a claim can be quite large depending on the injury. Because of this, many employers may be unable to pay the extent of the claim. This has the strong potential to deny you the compensation you deserve.
For all these reasons, Georgia makes workers’ compensation a legal requirement for almost every employer. An employer who operates without the proper insurance is not only breaking the law, but they are putting your rights in jeopardy.
Is your employer required to have workers’ comp insurance?
At the most basic level, any Georgia employer with 3 or more employees is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. It does not matter if these employees are part-time, full time or even seasonal.
Moreover, if the business is operating as an unincorporated business or an LLC, the members or corporate officers are considered employees. Thus, even your boss likely counts toward the tally.
Unless you are working for a single person and there are no other employees, your employer is likely required to have workers’ compensation insurance.
But there are a few exceptions.
For instance, if you are employed by a railroad carrier, government agency, as a domestic assistant or as a farm laborer, your employer may fall into an exception. Yet, you should never assume that your employer is exempted. These categories can be difficult to define. If you are in doubt, the best practice is always to speak to a qualified attorney.
How to find out if your employer has workers’ compensation
It is crucial that you know whether or not your employer is properly insured. However, this is not a conversation many employees feel comfortable having with their employer. Since almost every employer is required to carry insurance, Georgia has made it simple to determine if you are properly protected.
By visiting the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Verification website, you can quickly and easily determine if your employer is insured. The process is completely free.
It is important that you know the proper name of your employer and that you spell their name correctly. Often, businesses will operate under a different name for legal and public purposes. The legal name of your employer is likely the name that appears on your paystub, but not necessarily.
If you are unsure, you can either ask your employer the legal name of the business, or you should feel free to contact the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation with your concerns.
What to do if your employer isn’t properly insured
Finding out that your employer is not taking the proper steps to protect you can be a scary situation. Luckily, it is easy to make sure your rights are protected. If you know or suspect that your employer is not properly insured, you should contact a trusted attorney with experience dealing with workers’ compensation matters. You should not have to deal with the misactions of your employer by yourself. A trusted attorney knows the proper steps to take to correct the illegal actions of your employer and protect your needs.
Don’t wait until it is too late. You don’t want to find out that your employer is uninsured after an accident has already happened. Do your research, protect your rights and ensure that your employer follows the law.