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What's crucial in workers' comp, where I work or where I live?

Every state has workers' compensation law in place. That does not mean that all plans are the same. Indeed, where Georgia and Alabama are concerned, differences in benefit amounts can be significant. This has the potential for generating major confusion.

If you work in Georgia but live in Alabama, it might be important to know which state will exercise jurisdiction over benefits in the event you suffer a disabling injury on the job. For example, in Georgia, if you lose an arm due to a work injury, you could be eligible for lifetime benefits worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If that same injury occurs to workers in Alabama, compensation might be capped at less than $50,000.

Determining jurisdiction

One of the key factors states use in making the call on jurisdiction is the nature of the job at the time of injury. Georgia's rules on insurance state any business with at least three employees must carry insurance. It does not matter if the workers are part-time or full time. If they are on a regularly set schedule, they count.

Nor does it matter where you live. A person who lives in Alabama but regularly works in Georgia will likely be under Georgia's jurisdiction. The same might be true for someone who lives in Georgia but regularly works across the border in Alabama.

Obviously, considering the variations in potential benefits, it makes sense for a worker to know which rules will apply so that they can seek the maximum level of compensation possible. An experienced attorney can provide answers to such questions when they arise.

In some instances, it might be possible for injured employees to be entitled to benefits from their home state and the state where the injury occurred. Again, an attorney can help assess all options.

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