by Aidan Kang, CFA
Senior Writer
UPDATED: June 14, 2023

Georgia law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation though there are some exceptions. Still, those that are required to carry this type of insurance don’t always do. Serious legal consequences can follow for an employer that fails to maintain this coverage.

What Is Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?

In Georgia, workers’ compensation is a program used for handling work-related injuries. For employees, this system compensates for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages in the event of a workplace injury.

Since workers’ compensation is no-fault, an injured employee does not need to prove the employer was at fault. Likewise, if you caused the workplace accident that led to your injuries, you will still be covered as long as it wasn’t intentional. Workers’ compensation has a major downside, which is that an employee can’t file a lawsuit against their employer.

Georgia employers with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation coverage even if the employees are part-time only. If a company is a corporation or LLC, it is also mandated by law to carry this insurance even if it only has one or two employees. The only other option is to self-insure, which the state also allows for some companies.

However, self-insured companies must hold enough assets to guarantee they can make payments to their employees for work-related injury compensation. There are exemptions for several types of employers for carrying workers’ compensation, including any company or sole proprietor with one or two employees that are not corporations or LLCs. Government agencies, railroad companies, and farm laborer employers are also exempt.

What Happens When an Employer Fails to Carry Workers’ Comp Insurance?

If an employer is not self-insured or exempt from carrying workers’ compensation, they will face penalties for neglecting this obligation. There are fines that range from $500 to $1,000 for failing to submit the required forms. The state can also impose fines of $1,000 to $10,000 every time a company unfairly denies worker’s compensation to an injured employee.

Companies that intentionally fail to purchase workers’ comp insurance will receive a fine ranging between $500 and $5,000 for every violation. The penalties for an employer that doesn’t provide this coverage when they are required to provide it go beyond being just a civil matter. Failure to comply is also a misdemeanor criminal charge. In addition to a fine of $1,000 to $10,000, the employer can spend up to a year in jail.

How to Report an Employer That Is Shirking Workers’ Comp Responsibilities

If you were injured at work and your employer has either failed to provide workers’ compensation or is refusing to follow proper protocol in filing the paperwork, you can report them. Your report can be kept anonymous, allowing you to have peace of mind knowing that your employer won’t be able to retaliate.  You can also click here to contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Georgia to help you with your case.