Workers’ Comp Insurance for Trucking Companies in Georgia
Typically, trucking companies will need Workers’ Compensation in Georgia. Whether or not they will need to provide coverage for all workers will depend on if they are independent contractors.
Many trucking companies employ 1099 employees, meaning their Workers’ Compensation requirements may differ. Independent contractors do not need to be covered by workplace liability policies in Georgia. If you employ regular workers, they must be covered and can submit claims for benefits even if injured when driving out of state for your trucking company. Making sure drivers have the proper licensing endorsements to operate trucks and are properly trained can allow your trucking company to lower the number of filed Workers’ Compensation claims.
For more details on what NPN Brokers can do for you, call our Georgia Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers at (866) 340-9120.
When Trucking Companies Need Workers’ Comp in Georgia
Trucking companies may or may not need Workers’ Compensation in Georgia. Whether they do will be based on the number of workers they employ and how those workers are classified according to state definitions.
Often, the majority of a trucking company’s workforce is made up of drivers. These workers transfer goods, often across the country, on behalf of their employers. Commonly, truck drivers are hired as independent contractors by a larger trucking company and are not hired as regular employees. When trucking companies do this, they do not need to provide Workers’ Compensation for independent contractors, regardless of how many they employ.
If the truck drivers employed by your company are not independent contractors and are instead regular employees, they will most likely need to be covered by Workers’ Compensation. This is the case whether they are full-time or part-time workers. Even if all your truck drivers are independent contractors, your company might also employ administrative workers or others as regular employees. If your trucking company has more than two regular workers in Georgia, excluding independent contractors, it must get Workers’ Compensation.
There is no law requiring employers to extend Workers’ Compensation coverage to independent contractors. That said, our Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers can find affordable coverage that allows you to include independent contractors on your policy with little added cost. Whether or not you do will be entirely up to your trucking company in Georgia.
Before you anticipate not needing Workers’ Compensation for drivers employed by your trucking company, check their employee classifications. If you mistakenly assume that you do not require insurance for your workers and do not get it, you might face penalties in Georgia.
Workers’ Comp for Trucking Companies with Out-of-State Drivers
Truck drivers typically travel far distances across many states when completing a job. If one of the truck drivers you employ is covered by Workers’ Compensation, they can still file a claim if they are injured in another state.
Some trucking companies might be under the impression that if their drivers primarily operate in other states, Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation laws will not apply. That is not the case. So long as the employment contract originated in Georgia, the trucking company’s place of business is in Georgia, and the employment contract is not for work down solely outside of Georgia, out-state injuries can qualify a worker to file a claim with your trucking company.
By extension, this also means that trucking companies can also be liable for compensating employees for injuries sustained out of state if they are not insured. While it can be harder to prove that an accident occurred while a truck driver was working when it happens out of state, it can also be harder to disprove. Suppose a driver’s claim does not meet the additional criteria the State Board of Workers’ Compensation has set for out-of-state claims. In that case, a driver cannot recover damages from your carrier, despite otherwise being covered by Workers’ Compensation.
If a driver is an independent contractor, they cannot file a claim for an out-of-state injury, just as they are not eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits for an injury that might occur in Georgia.
How Trucking Companies Can Reduce Workers’ Comp Claims in Georgia
Though Workers’ Compensation is a requirement for most trucking companies in Georgia, insurance policies can still be molded to fit a company’s needs. Trucking companies can limit claims and the overall cost of insurance by following a few key guidelines.
By hiring workers only as independent contractors, trucking companies can see a sharp reduction in Workers’ Compensation claims. Independent contractors typically cannot file insurance claims, even if injured on while working in Georgia. However, requiring workers to be independent contractors is easier said than done, despite independent contractors being common in the trucking industry.
Short of solely hiring 1099 employees, trucking companies can strategically hire and train drivers. Vet drivers by asking for references and ensuring all drivers have a Class A commercial driver’s license before hiring them. Then, mandate that all new employees go through rigorous training. Inform drivers about the dangers of operating a truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and explain how they will be ineligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits if the cause of their injuries is substance-related.
A high number of workplace injuries among truck drivers in Georgia are due to drowsy driving. Overworking drivers or allowing them to work overtime for more hours can cause them to become fatigued and nod off at the wheel. Not only might such action result in a Workers’ Compensation claim, but possibly a larger accident that causes injuries to other drivers on the road. Taking the steps to train drivers and prioritize their safety can allow your company to see fewer Workers’ Compensation claims and, in due time, less expensive premiums.
Find Coverage for Trucking Companies in Georgia
Call the Georgia Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers at (866) 340-9120 to get a quote from NPN Brokers today.
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