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Don’t even think about going without workers’ compensation insurance

by on
in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Georgia employers that skip obtaining or maintaining workers’ compensation coverage, beware: Employees who get hurt on the job can still collect benefits—for years.

They just won’t be getting the payments from your insurance carrier. Instead, they will collect them directly from your company. And that can become an expensive proposition.

Bonus: The case could continue for years, especially if you miss payments. That means, on top of everything else, you’ll be spending a fortune on legal fees alone.

Recent case: Back in 1994, Brenda Taylor was working for Peachbelt Properties when she suffered a workplace injury. At the time, Peachbelt wasn’t carrying workers’ compensation insurance. Taylor filed a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, which awarded her workers’ comp benefits for total disability. The order said the company owed her $127 per week, plus attorneys’ fees and penalties.

Taylor’s attorneys then took the order to court and got a ruling allowing her to collect a lump sum payment of $37,000—plus the weekly payment going forward. But Peachbelt didn’t make any payments and apparently thought the problem would go away. It must have grown fairly confident, as Taylor did nothing about it for almost 10 years.

Then she did a lot. Taylor’s attorneys went back to court, trying to collect on the growing balance. Although they were not able to get an order for the entire past-due amount because of a missed deadline to revive the judgment against Peachbelt, they were able to get an order for the lump sum plus weekly payments starting retroactively in 2000 and continuing into the future. Her attorneys now have the go-ahead to have the sheriff’s department enforce the order to seize on company assets to collect the thousands still due Taylor. (Taylor v. Peachbelt Properties, No. A08A1865, Court of Appeals of Georgia, 2008)

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