Prior to the passage of the Workers' Compensation Act, an employee who was injured on the job could not expect benefits from the employer. Men, women, and children were often subjected to harsh and oppressive working conditions with little or no recourse for work-related injuries. Courts often denied recovery to employees by holding that employees assumed risks in taking the job, were negligent, or were barred from recovery by the negligence of a fellow employee. Filing a suit in court was also unsatisfactory because trials were expensive and often lengthy. This posed a problem to an employee who needed money immediately to pay for medical expenses and replace lost wages. A successful suit could also force a small company out of business.
Today, the workers' compensation law provides for specific benefits to be paid to employees for injuries arising out of and in the course of employment, without regard to negligence or fault, and at the same time, provides the employer with limited liability. In Georgia, employers obtain worker's compensation coverage through private insurers or programs of self-insurance. The rights granted an employee under the law preclude any other legal remedies against an employer by an employee due to a work-related injury.
The law is applicable to all employers, including public corporations and nonprofit organizations that have at least three full-time or part-time employees.
There are several categories of workers who are specifically exempted from the workers' compensation law: federal government employees, railroad employees, farmers and farm laborers, and domestic servants, to name a few.
If facts concerning a claim are contested or liability is questioned, either the employee or the employer/insurer may request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge to resolve the issues. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision, a party may request a review by the Appellate Division. Further appeals may be taken through the court system; however, the courts can review only disputed questions of law, while Administrative Law Judges and the Appellate Division determine both factual and legal issues.
The workers' compensation program is entirely funded by assessments from insurance companies and self-insured employers.
To provide superior access to the Georgia Workers' Compensation program for injured workers and employers in a manner that is sensitive, responsive, and effective and to insure efficient processing and swift, fair resolution of claims, while encouraging workplace safety and return to work.
We are committed to being a service-oriented organization that:
- Treats people with respect;
- Is responsive and sensitive to clients needs;
- Listens carefully;
- Communicates clearly and openly;
- Acts with integrity and fairly;
- Provides educational opportunities for employees, employers and other participants in the system;
- Strives for excellence through innovation, personal initiative, teamwork and staff development; and
- Manages resources effectively to achieve positive results in the system.
Georgia state government offices observe 12 holidays during the year.
Subsequent Injury Trust Fund (SITF)
Subsequent Injury Trust Fund (SITF)
Although the Subsequent Injury Trust Fund is a separate state agency, the Board and the Fund work closely together. The Fund reimburses the employer/insurer for a portion of workers' compensation benefits paid in cases where a preexisting permanent impairment combines with a subsequent injury to produce a greater disability than would have resulted from the subsequent injury alone.