Late last year, a Walton court sentenced a man to 5 years in prison for selling fake workers’ comp insurance to Georgia businesses. The man, who presented himself as a legitimate insurance agent, misled companies into purchasing insurance from him—insurance that didn’t actually exist or cover their employees in the event of an injury.
While the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division investigated the man and brought charges, the case exposes a risk for employers and employees. Additionally, some companies purposely misrepresent themselves or otherwise avoid carrying workers’ comp insurance.
So how do you know if your employer has the correct coverage? And what should you do if they don’t?
Georgia’s laws on workers’ comp insurance coverage
First off, it’s helpful to know what Georgia law requires when it comes to workers’ comp.
Workers’ comp is insurance for employee accidents and occupational illnesses, helping injured workers get by while they receive treatment and recover. It’s also a benefit program for workers who are permanently disabled, as well as the dependents of workers killed on the job.
In Georgia, companies with three or more workers are legally required to carry workers’ comp insurance, even if the employees work part time. Federal government employees, railroad employees, farmers and farm laborers and domestic servants are excluded. (However, some businesses voluntarily carry workers’ comp, making it smart to always first talk to a workers’ comp attorney after an on-the-job injury.)
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation isn’t an insurance provider. This means businesses purchase insurance from a carrier or become self-insured. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation enforces state laws. The Enforcement Division may:
- Fine individuals who make false statements for the purpose of denying benefits
- Fine businesses for not carrying workers’ comp insurance (at up to $5,000 per violation)
- Pursue criminal charges against businesses
How to check your employer’s workers’ comp status
If you’re concerned your employer isn’t carrying workers’ comp insurance, it’s simple to check their status through the state. With the online verification system, you can look up your employer by name or address. You’ll then see their insurance provider and policy number.
If you believe your employer isn’t complying with workers’ comp laws, you can report it by accessing a form through the state’s website. Unfortunately, some workers realize their employer is not insured only after an injury. If you’ve been hurt on the job and your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp coverage, you’ll need an Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer to ensure you’re protected. You still deserve your benefits, even if your employer is in the wrong.
Contact an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer
If you’ve been hurt in a workplace accident and your employer does not have coverage or tries to claim you aren’t covered, you need help. Contact the Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera today for a free consultation, or give us a call at 404-991-5097.