Georgia Workers’ Comp Laws Staff Profile Picture
Written By:

Some of the most dangerous injuries reported in the state of Georgia result from workplace accidents in industries such as construction, oil, manufacturing, and transportation. The most common cause of workplace fatality was transportation accidents, but exposure to harmful substances and slip-and-fall accidents were also significant causes of fatal injury. Of all industries throughout the state, the private construction industry saw the most fatal and severe workplace injuries.

Aside from those who suffer fatal injuries, thousands of other workers are left with long-term, debilitating injuries that impact their wage-earning ability and quality of life. Just like fatal injuries, serious workplace accidents can permanently alter the lives of workers and their families. To support injured workers, the state of Georgia has clear regulations on who is eligible to receive workers’ compensation and for how much. The following guide to workers’ compensation laws in Georgia is intended to provide an overview of the relevant rules and regulations for those seeking compensation for their workplace injuries.

Coverage Stipulated in Workers’ Compensation Act

In 1920, the Workers’ Compensation Act was passed in the State of Georgia due to increased rates of industrial accidents. Since it was codified into law, workers’ compensation insurance policies are required to cover all medical bills related to workplace accidents and any loss of wages. The amount of workers’ compensation will be determined based on the severity of the employee’s injury. Most of the rules and regulations in this guide are based on the Workers’ Compensation Act and related statutes.

Mandatory Report of Accident

Georgia law requires both the injured employee and their employer to report any injuries on the job site to the Board of Workers’ Compensation within 30 days of the accident in order to qualify for workers’ compensation. There are exceptions to this rule, however; for example, if the employee is prevented from giving notice due to physical or mental incapacity or if their employer misled them, they may be able to give notice after 30 days. In most cases, however, it is best to report to the Board as soon as possible to begin your workers’ compensation claim.

How Pain and Suffering is Calculated in Georgia

Georgia law allows accident victims to seek pain and suffering damages in addition to physical and financial losses. Pain and suffering damages encompass the emotional trauma, chronic pain, or lessened quality of life caused by a workplace injury. While workers’ compensation generally does not cover pain and suffering losses, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation lawsuit against your employer and reclaim these damages.

Employer’s Right to Access Medical Records

To receive workers’ compensation, an injured worker must be able to present evidence that establishes their injuries were caused by the accident in question. Georgia law allows employers to request all medical records related to workplace accidents to avoid fraudulent injury claims. An injured employee must provide copies of these records within 30 days of the request from an employer or insurer. Failure to do so may result in a denial of their workers’ compensation claim. 

Care From Approved Medical Professionals

While injured workers have the right to expect their medical care to be fully covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation policy, the employer has the right to stipulate an approved physician to examine their employee. If the employee fails to report to this physician, they may lose their right to workers’ compensation. However, if the employee objects to the approved physician for any reason, they have the right to file for a provider change. 

Workers’ Compensation Payment Vs. Injury Lawsuit

Worker’s compensation insurance exists to ensure workers are fairly compensated for their injuries without employers paying these costs out-of-pocket. If the worker's compensation offer from your employer does not adequately cover the losses you incurred, you may have the option to file a lawsuit for the total amount of your damages. However, if you have already accepted workers’ compensation payments from your employer, you are no longer eligible to file a lawsuit to claim further compensation. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly review any offers made to you by your employer or their insurer.

Civil Penalties

Civil penalties may apply to Georgia employers who fail to report accidents to the Board of Workers’ Compensation or make misleading statements in order to deny benefits to their injured employees. Failure to report a workplace accident can result in fines of $100-$1,000 per violation. Fraudulent statements regarding workplace injuries could result in fines of $1,000-$10,000 per violation. Additionally, civil or criminal penalties could apply to employers who fail to provide workers’ compensation coverage. The civil penalty for failing to provide coverage under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws is a $500-$5,000 fine.

Criminal Penalties

Although negligent employers usually face civil penalties, there are situations where criminal penalties might be enforced. Generally, only extreme negligence or fraud cases will justify criminal charges against an employer. Employers found guilty of not carrying a workers’ compensation insurance policy can be charged with a misdemeanor, fined $1,000-$10,000, and given a prison sentence not to exceed 12 months.

Georgia Workers’ Comp Insurance Requirements

Is your employer required to carry workers’ compensation insurance? In most cases, yes. If you are self-employed or work as an independent contractor, you are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia. In any other case, employers are likely required to carry a policy. According to state law, any employer in Georgia with over three people employed in the business (either full-time or part-time) must carry a workers’ compensation insurance policy. This policy should cover all accidents that take place on the job site, while operating a commercial vehicle, or while traveling for work. If an employer does not have adequate coverage, they could face severe penalties and fines. Workers may report their employer for lack of adequate workers’ compensation to the Enforcement Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.

How Much Can Someone Sue For Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?

Workers’ compensation is meant to function as a temporary support system as injured workers recover from their injuries before returning to work. Therefore, the state of Georgia has imposed limits on the amount of total workers’ compensation workers can claim. If you were injured on or after July 1, 2022, you could receive up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage (not exceeding $725 per week). Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be eligible to receive these workers’ compensation payments for up to 400 weeks. 

Unfortunately, some employers will utilize any means to avoid claiming liability for their employee’s injuries. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied or delayed, you may be eligible to file a complaint with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation or seek legal action. A qualified workers’ compensation attorney can help protect your best interests as you seek the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury.   

What Is the Statute of Limitations in Georgia for Workers’ Comp Claims?

Injured employees can only claim worker’s compensation benefits if they file within the statute of limitations. In Georgia, injured workers have one year from the date of their injury to file a claim for these benefits. The exception to this rule is if your employer pays for your medical treatment or temporary and/or partial disability; in that case, injured workers will have one year from the date of their last employer-paid medical treatment or two years from the date of the last disability payment to file a claim. However, it is in your best interests to file a claim as soon as possible to avoid any potential gaps.

Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ compensation ensures that injured workers are supported while they heal. Some injuries will necessitate longer-term disability support, while others will require only short-term medical care. The following benefits will all be awarded based on the severity of the injury and your needs following the accident.

Lost wages

Most workplace injuries require at least a temporary absence from work. In some cases, it may take workers weeks, months, or even years to return to the workforce. This sudden loss of income can be detrimental to workers and their families. Worker’s compensation can provide temporary income for workers who have been displaced due to an injury. 

Medical care

Even if your workplace injury seems relatively minor, you must seek medical care immediately to determine the extent of the injury. Severe injuries may require emergency medical care, surgical intervention, or rehabilitation. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should reimburse all medical costs associated with your workplace injury.


If your condition will last longer than a year and will impact your ability to work, you are eligible for disability payments. As soon as you are injured, you should receive medical attention to categorize the level of disability. For example, your injury may be categorized as a temporary partial disability, temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, or permanent total disability. The degree of disability will determine the amount you will receive in compensation and how long you will receive compensation.   

Funeral Costs and Death Benefits

If you have lost a loved one due to a fatal workplace accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for their funeral costs and additional death benefits. Death benefits will apply if you are a dependent of the deceased (a spouse or a child under 18)  and have been financially impacted by the loss of income. 

Legal Resources for Injured Workers in Georgia

Injured workers and their families have the right to support following a workplace accident. If your employer refuses to provide you with rightful compensation or if you need immediate assistance before filing a workers’ comp claim, there are multiple organizations that provide injured workers with legal and financial assistance. 

State Board of Workers’ Compensation

The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation was established in 1920 to address the needs of injured workers throughout the state. The Board of Workers’ Compensation ensures that Georgia employers are sufficiently insured to protect both themselves and their employees in the event of workplace accidents, serving over 3.8 million workers every year. To learn how to file your workers’ compensation claim, visit the Board’s File a Claim page or call toll-free at (800) 533-0682. 

Department of Labor’s Office of Worker’s Compensation

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Worker’s Compensation (OWCP) offers multiple disability compensation programs for federal workers injured on the job. If you are a federal employee who is seeking worker’s compensation, the OWCP offers a Federal Employees’ Compensation Program, Federal Black Lung Program, Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program. To learn more about filing a federal workers’ compensation claim, visit the Department of Labor’s contact page.

Kind Souls Foundation

While most injured workers are in immediate need of medical and financial assistance following a workplace accident, there are real mental health impacts that can accompany severe injury and long-term loss of employment. Kind Souls Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded to address the mental health impacts of job displacement for workers nationwide. If you are struggling with your mental health after a serious workplace injury, Kind Souls Foundation provides a secure emotional support chat, virtual emotional support sessions, and a resource database. These resources are free to use and can be accessed via their website.

Share Staff Profile Picture StaffAuthor

Step into the world of, your go-to hub for credible insights. We don't take accuracy lightly around here. Our squad of expert reviewers, each a maestro in their field, has given the green light to every single article you'll find. From rigorous fact-checking to meticulous evaluations of service providers, we've got it all covered. So feel free to dive in and explore. The information you'll uncover has been stamped with the seal of approval by our top-notch experts.