Workers’ Comp Insurance for Small Businesses in Georgia

Having Workers’ Compensation is important for any company, but especially so for small businesses that could be at risk of financial issues should they be without insurance when a worker is hurt on the job in Georgia.

Although small, small businesses are rarely small enough not to need Workers’ Compensation in Georgia. If eligible, LLC members or corporate officers of small businesses can file for a Workers’ Compensation exemption. Small businesses must have policies in place at all times, as a lapse in coverage could align with a workplace accident, leaving your company responsible for a worker’s damages. Furthermore, non-compliance typically comes with expensive financial penalties for small businesses enforced by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.

For more information on how our Georgia Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers can help your small business, call the team at NPN Brokers at (866) 340-9120.

Workers’ Comp Insurance Needs for Small Businesses in Georgia

Depending on how small your small business is, chances are it will need some form of Workers’ Compensation liability coverage in Georgia.

Any company, regardless of industry, that employs more than two workers has to get a Workers’ Compensation policy in Georgia. Few small businesses actually employ less than three workers, meaning most will have to get insurance. So, whether you own a coffee shop, corner store, book store, or dog walking business, you will likely require Workers’ Compensation, depending on whether or not you employ workers in addition to yourself.

Because coverage is mandatory in many cases, some carriers in Georgia might increase costs for small businesses. Our Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers can help you find inexpensive coverage in Georgia, including policies that do not require contracts, deposits, or audits.

A Workers’ Compensation policy must be in place for as long as a small business is required to have it. This means that if your previous carrier canceled your policy, you must get a new one before the cancellation takes effect. If your workforce drops below three workers, you should still keep your small business’s insurance policy. Workplace accidents can still occur, regardless of the number of workers employed by your small business in Georgia.

Workers’ Comp Insurance Exemptions for Small Businesses in Georgia

Small businesses might be eligible for certain Workers’ Compensation exemptions depending on the way they are formation. That does not mean, however, that they should always use those exemptions.

Georgia permits up to five corporate officers or LLC members from the same company to exempt themselves from coverage at the same time. This can reduce the number of workers included in your small business’s information, allowing you to benefit from lower insurance premiums. Georgia does not allow corporate officers or LLC members to exempt themselves for the purposes of eliminating a company’s Workers’ Compensation liability.

It is important to understand that if an employee of your small business exempts themselves from Workers’ Compensation, they will not be eligible to receive benefits if hurt on the job. This means filing for exemptions might not be the best course of action, especially if eligible workers are involved in day-to-day operations or at risk of workplace injury.

Sole proprietors, farm laborers, partners, and independent contractors are also exempt from needing Workers’ Compensation in Georgia. Employees can file for exemptions using Form WC-10 or revoke a previous exemption using the same form.

Liability for Small Businesses without Workers’ Comp Insurance in Georgia

Not having Workers’ Compensation can put your small business in jeopardy if a workplace accident happens in Georgia. The financial implications alone could cause serious issues for companies that are on the smaller side.

If you need to have Workers’ Compensation under Georgia law but do not get it, your small business could be held liable for a worker’s injuries in the same way as if they had insurance. That is to say, an injured worker will still receive benefits, but instead of a carrier paying them, the employer will. Benefits will cover a portion of an employee’s lost wages as well as their medical expenses. Workers’ Compensation does not provide damages for pain and suffering in Georgia.

Additionally, the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation reserves the right to increase benefits paid to an injured worker by 10% to further punish a small business for not having the proper insurance coverage.

Regardless of your small business’s industry, workplace injuries can be extremely expensive. Covering an injured employee’s medical bills and lost wages for weeks, months, or possibly years, could cause serious financial strain on your small business in Georgia.

Small businesses can be held liable for any workplace injury, provided it was not caused intentionally by a hurt worker.

Penalties for Small Businesses without Workers’ Comp Insurance in Georgia

In addition to being financially responsible for an employee’s damages, small businesses without Workers’ Compensation can face more financial penalties from the state.

For each documented violation of Georgia’s mandate to provide Workers’ Compensation to employees, small businesses can incur a fine of between $500 and $5,000. Any attempt to interfere with the claims process can result in a fine of up to $10,000. Other Workers’ Compensation law violations, like failure to provide the necessary information to employees, can result in fines of up to $1,000.

Additionally, failure to provide Workers’ Compensation when required to is a misdemeanor offense that carries a fine of up to $10,000 or 12 months in prison and, in some cases, both penalties.

The Board of Workers’ Compensation in Georgia can be made aware of an employer’s failure to provide insurance from employee reports. These typically occur after workplace injuries, but employees can report their small business for non-compliance at any time.

Get Workers’ Comp Insurance for Your Small Business in Georgia

Call our Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers at (866) 340-9120 for a quote from NPN Brokers.