What happens if I don’t get workers’ comp in Georgia?
If you’re gathering information about what it means to get a workers’ comp policy for your Georgia business, you’re also probably wondering if you can get away with not having a policy. A fair question.
First things first: in Georgia, workers’ comp is legally required for all businesses with at least three employees.
If you meet those requirements, you need to get workers’ comp. (Questions? Read more about which businesses are required to get workers’ comp.) It’s the law. And if you don’t comply, there are consequences.
Here’s what can happen if you don’t purchase workers’ compensation for your Georgia company:
You will be liable for the cost of any employee illness or injury.
Workers’ comp protects both employers and employees by paying out for any illness or injury that happens because of workplace-related reasons. If you don’t carry coverage, you will be responsible for all costs arising from a workplace incident. Think medical bills, lost wages, and the cost of rehabilitation. The state might also assess attorney’s fees, civil penalties, and a 10% increase in compensation to the employee—all of which could be very expensive.
You could be sued.
If you don’t carry workers’ comp coverage for your employees, an injured employee can file suit against you for any damages. And the cost of a financial settlement in such a case would likely be much higher than if you had simply gotten a workers’ comp policy in the first place.
You could face serious fines and jail time.
The State of Georgia doesn’t mess around. They can fine you up to $10,000 per incident for not having workers’ comp. You also might be prosecuted in a criminal court and spend up to one year in jail. (Did we mention that they’re not messing around?)
Your workers’ comp bill will be higher.
You’ll eventually need to purchase workers’ comp if you want to keep operating your business. And if you’ve ever been in violation of workers’ comp laws, potential insurers will either quote you a higher rate or refuse to insure you altogether—and that could put you out of business.
Going without workers’ comp coverage is just not worth the risk.
Choosing to ignore workers’ comp law might be tempting if funds are tight. But going without coverage is not a good way to tighten the budget. It exposes you and your business to significant legal risk and will almost certainly cost you more money in the long run.
Finally, workers’ comp protects the people who make your business successful, so it’s also just the right thing to do.