Expert answers to all your business insurance questions.
What does workers’ comp cover in Georgia?
Let’s talk about what workers’ comp actually covers.
First things first: you should know that workers’ comp works differently than other insurance products you might already be familiar with. It doesn’t have limits in the same way other coverages do—instead, the state makes all decisions regarding what’s covered and for how much money. You don’t have to worry about choosing any coverages or financial limits. It’s all done for you.
So everything you’re about to read is mandated by the State of Georgia. It’s just information for your reference. You won’t need to think about it when you purchase a policy.
Got it? Great. Let’s see what’s covered.
What does Georgia workers’ comp cover?
Workers’ comp coverage pays medical expenses, lost wages, and death benefits for an injury or illness that an employee sustains while at their job (or for a job-related cause). Workers’ comp might also pay for things like ongoing medical support and job retraining. (And the amount an insurance company might pay is technically unlimited—a serious injury resulting in a disability, for example, might require lifetime financial support.)
Let’s break that down a little bit more.
When an employee gets injured on the job or has a job-related illness, workers’ comp will step in to provide the funds for appropriate treatment. For example, if you have a landscaping business and a team member seriously cuts their hand with a sharp blade, workers’ comp will cover the cost of treating the injury as well as the cost of any rehabilitation that might be necessary afterward. Workers’ comp also covers repetitive use injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome as well as illnesses from workplace exposure to chemicals. Basically, if an employee ever has a medical problem from a work-related cause, workers’ comp will pay out.
If an injury or illness makes it impossible for your employee to work—and if they’ll miss more than 7 days of employment—workers’ comp will pay the employee a portion of their lost income. The employee will generally get 2/3rds of what they had been making before the incident, with a cap of $575 per week.
Also, there are situations where an injury makes it impossible for an employee to return to their old job. In some cases, the employee is able to return to work but must take employment which doesn’t pay quite as much. Workers’ comp covers that situation—it will pay out a benefit to help cover the difference between what the employee was making and what they are able to make now.
Finally, if an employee sustains a serious injury that makes it physically impossible to ever return to work, workers’ comp might also pay a lifetime financial benefit to cover their lost income.
If the worst happens and an employee dies from a work injury, workers’ comp will help pay for burial expenses. It will also pay lost wage benefits to any dependents of the employee (as long as they’re eligible).
Are there any exceptions to workers’ comp coverage?
Yep. While workers’ comp will often pay out for an injury that was the result of unintentional misconduct—say, an employee who was injured because they weren’t paying attention to what they were doing—coverage does not apply to employees who were injured because of “willful misconduct.
What’s that? Willful misconduct is a catch-all legal term that refers to any intentional wrongdoing—think fighting, horseplay, acts committed from alcohol or drug abuse, or a willful malicious act committed by a third party for personal reasons.
Translation: if an employee gets drunk and falls off a ladder, workers’ comp probably isn’t going to cover it. (Makes sense, right?)
In the end, workers’ comp is both important coverage for your employees and a good deal for you. Because workers’ comp pays for all of the hefty financial benefits above, you won’t have to. Also, since workers’ comp is the exclusive remedy for injured workers, they likely won’t be able to sue you for any personal injury damages. Peace of mind for everyone.
Go back to The Complete Guide to Georgia Workers’ Comp or Get an instant estimate on workers’ comp coverage.