Owners of large farms often rely on the contracted labor of migrant workers to help them fulfill their staffing needs around the busy harvest time. However, since these farms so rarely need this volume of labor, farm owners usually lack the infrastructure necessary to provide transportation for these workers. As a result, farm owners will often contract under-the-table transportation companies to get workers from their homes to the farm.
According to a recent Georgia news source, the system that many farm owners use to get temporary workers to their farms is dangerous and too often underinsured. The article discusses a November 2015 accident in which six farm workers were killed and another seven injured when the bus they were riding in struck a concrete bridge support, ripping the roof off the bus. The company that operated the bus had not registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, meaning that it was not legally permitted to transport workers. Furthermore, the driver of the bus did not even have a commercial driver’s license.
To make matters worse, the company’s workers’ compensation policy did not cover the bus ride. As a result, since the transportation company carried just one-fifth of the required insurance on the bus, the families of the deceased were left with a much smaller total sum of money than necessary to cover their expenses and losses.
Workers’ Compensation Claims in Georgia
As a general rule, workers who are injured on the job in Georgia are able to seek compensation while they are recovering from their injuries through the workers’ compensation program. The workers’ compensation program is a type of insurance coverage that is mandatory for many Georgia employers. If an employer is covered by a workers’ compensation policy, the injured worker will not need to establish that the accident was anyone else’s fault to obtain benefits. The benefits an injured worker may obtain range in duration and amount, but they generally continue until a worker is able to return to the job.
It is important to keep in mind that if a company has a workers’ compensation policy, a workers’ compensation claim is likely the injured worker’s sole remedy. However, if a company does not have a workers’ compensation policy, an injured worker may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the company. This may also be the case if a third party is responsible for the worker’s injuries. Personal injury lawsuits may result in a greater total recovery amount, due to the availability of non-economic damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering or punitive damages. To learn more about Georgia workplace injuries, contact a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney.
Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Workplace Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia workplace accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation while you recover through the workers’ compensation program. However, even if your employer did not have this insurance, you may still be entitled to compensation through other means. To learn more about Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws, call the workers’ compensation attorneys at J. Franklin Burns, P.C. With decades of experience representing injured workers in a wide variety of cases, we understand the complexities of the workers’ compensation system and can confidently advise you throughout the process. Call 404-303-7770 today to set up a free consultation.