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Preventing and Preparing for Injuries at Work in Georgia – Small Business

This is the second in a series of articles on helpful legal tips for how to avoid problems in your Georgia workers’ compensation claim.  The first article and this article discuss things you can do before a work injury ever happens to make sure you are fully prepared.

Recently, an attorney in our firm spoke to a person about an injury on the job in Georgia.  The person who was injured had owned his own business for years.  The person had done the right thing and purchased workers’ compensation coverage.  However, a couple of years before the injury at work, the individual had dissolved the company and was operating his business as a sole proprietor.

The reason this matters is because a sole proprietor is usually an employer, not an employee.  As you can read in my first article in this series, Georgia workers’ compensation law usually only provided benefits for “employees” who are injured on the job.  As a result, this person who suffered a clear work-related injury was not covered because, as a sole proprietor, he was an employer and not an employee.

In the same situation above, if the business had been incorporated and not dissolved, there would very likely have been coverage since corporate officers are considered employees as long as they do not choose to exempt themselves from workers’ compensation coverage.  So, if you work as a sole proprietor, one of the ways that you can prepare for a work injury is to consider incorporating your business.  There can certainly be other advantages or disadvantages to incorporating a business other than coverage under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation law so you should probably talk to an attorney who specializes in small business matters to consider all possible advantages and disadvantages before making such a decision.

It is also important to know that there are ways that an unincorporated sole proprietor can choose to be covered under Georgia workers’ compensation insurance but it requires jumping through a few legal hoops and must be done before a work injury ever occurs.  Specifically, O.C.G.A. §34-9-2.2 currently provides, “Any sole proprietor or partner of a business whose employees are eligible for benefits under this chapter may elect to be included as an employee under the workers’ compensation insurance coverage of such business if he is actively engaged in the operation of the business and if the insurer is notified of his election to be so included.”   However, before trying to elect coverage under this section, it is important to know that there are requirements for how the forms must be completed and filed; so it would be best to discuss this option, as well as the option of incorporating the business, with a Georgia attorney.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.

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Jason Perkins

Workers' Compensation Attorney

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