What Happens to My Workers’ Compensation Benefits if My Employer Shuts Down?
Because of the pandemic, many businesses are now struggling to keep going—to maintain payroll, pay rent or keep inventory on hand. Even under ordinary circumstances, it’s a fact of life that not every business makes it.
But when you’re receiving workers’ compensation, it can feel extra worrisome if your employer shuts down. What happens to your benefits? And if your accident is recent and your claim is still being processed, do you even have a chance to claim workers’ comp in the first place?
Who pays for workers’ compensation?
The good news is that businesses don’t personally pay out workers’ compensation benefits. Georgia has its own workers’ comp system: the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Employers carry workers’ compensation insurance, and when an employee files a claim, it’s these insurance companies that make payments and pay settlements.
This means that even if your employer goes out of business, they’ve already paid for the insurance that now covers your claim. As long as your injury took place when you were still working and your employer was in business, your benefits should be OK. The same is true if your employer files for bankruptcy.
It does get tricky, however, if your accident was recent and your claim is still being processed. Your employer may be harder to communicate with, or the individuals whose job it was to work with the workers’ comp insurance company may be impossible to reach. If your claim has been delayed because your employer went out of business, it’s definitely important to speak to an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer to find out what options you have to move the process along.
What happens to my benefits if I’m laid off?
Layoffs are another unfortunate reality for many businesses, especially during the pandemic. Receiving workers’ compensation benefits is not in itself protection from being laid off. Your employer can fire you with cause or let you go if that’s what they would have done despite your injury.
They cannot harass, demote or fire you because of your injury, however. This is retaliation, and it exposes the employer to a potential wrongful termination lawsuit.
If you believe you were laid off for a reason other than a legitimate business decision, contact an Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer to discuss your case.
Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer can help you maintain payments or negotiate a settlement after your employer goes out of business. At the Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera, we’ll work to explain Georgia’s workers’ compensation system and the benefits available for your injury or disability. Contact our office today for a free consultation or call us at 404-445-6010.