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West Georgia Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Blog

What makes someone an independent contractor in a work injury?

As we discussed in a previous post, independent contractors are typically exempt from workers' compensation. However, sometimes employers try to misclassify their employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying for their workers' compensation premiums.

A company may create a written agreement with a worker labeling them as an "independent contractor," but this designation alone is insufficient to classify them as such. The distinction really comes down to the terms of an individual's work. In today's post, we outline some core qualifying traits of an independent contractor:

Is everyone covered by workers' compensation?

We've dedicated many previous posts to discussing Georgia workers' right to workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation is a type of insurance designed to support workers and their families in the event of on-the-job accidents or negligence that incapacitate a worker.

While workers' comp insurance extends to the vast majority of workers, not all categories of workers are covered. In today's post, we examine the main exclusions to workers' comp:

Can a temporary worker sue their place of work?

Many companies use workers' compensation as a way of shielding themselves from litigation if one of their employees is injured or killed on the job. Instead, employees who suffer injury can file a workers' compensation claim with their company.

But what is the law with respect to temporary workers? Do they have the right to sue the business that has contracted their services?  Who provides workers' compensation benefits?  Can the temp worker sue the company where he was performing work?

OSHA enforces safety regulations for temporary workers

If you work as a temporary worker, you may feel like you're at the bottom of the totem pole. You may not receive medical insurance or paid time off. However, you are still entitled to fundamental health protections.  

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently released a bulletin addressing their Temporary Worker Initiative. The program describes employer and staffing agency responsibilities to temporary workers engaged in jobs with exposure to significant noise or respiratory hazards.

How Georgia’s new driving laws affect the school year

Children are not the only ones who feel agitated about going back to school. The beginning of the school year means more cars, buses and pedestrians to deal with in the driveways. Needless to say, many Georgia drivers are not happy about adding 10 or 20 more minutes to their daily traffic.

However, the state has passed several new laws this year that changes how drivers should approach the school year. Some laws are harsher than before while others are more lenient. Given how children are some of the more common victims in pedestrian crashes, it is important for Georgia parents to be aware of the new requirements that drivers must follow.

Do you work for a 'Dirty Dozen' company?

Workplace safety isn't on the "nice-to-have" list of goals for employers. Federal and state laws establish that workers have the right to operate in safe environments. That means making sure they get information about all the known risks around them, the training necessary to avoid harm and any equipment that might be essential for maintaining safety. Unfortunately, not every employer lives up to those obligations. And even where they do, work-related injuries still occur.

Workers' compensation insurance, also established by Georgia law, is supposed to ensure that injured workers get the care and income support they may require to return to the work force. However, employers with fewer than three employees are exempt, and then some who should have coverage seek to shed responsibility by denying claims or misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Fighting for your rights can be stressful, but can be made easier with help from a skilled attorney.

How crashworthy is your vehicle?

When it comes to buying a vehicle, some research suggests that what reviewers think is more important to consumers than anything else. One recent study reports that of about 2,200 respondents queried, 60 percent said they would be more inclined to look at a vehicle based on reviewer reactions. The next most important factor was safety ratings.

Crashworthiness might not spring to mind as being important, but those with experience in personal injury law know it can be a crucial area to explore after any crash. If a vehicle is unsafe by virtue of bad design or negligent manufacturing, potential liability for any injury expands beyond the driver that caused the crash to vehicle manufacturers.

Can I seek workers' compensation when hurt by co-worker violence?

Headlines are not lacking items of violent and injury-causing events in workplaces. There was a time when shootings by disgruntled post office workers were common enough that the phrase, going postal, came into existence. Today, it can describe any situation in which someone displays uncontrolled anger in the extreme.

Such violence in the workplace is not a thing of the past. Indeed, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a website dedicated to the subject. And it reports that nearly 2 million U.S. workers suffer injuries in job-site violence every year. The question this begs is, can such occurrences qualify the victim for workers' compensation? The answer is that it depends.

How to prevent barbecue fires

If there's one thing the South does well, it's barbecue. Everyone has their specialty. Maybe you're a rib person, or perhaps brisket is more your style. (Brisket is my favorite!)  Maybe you go for charcoal, or you could be a propane convert. Whatever your preference, all barbecues have one thing in common: FIRE!

Each year, barbecue fires injure 7,000 people in the United States. You may think you know better than most--and that could be true. But it could also be that you've just been lucky so far. In today's post, we discuss some basic safety tips for anyone operating a grill:

Don't get hurried into accepting a car accident settlement

You're driving home after a fun night out with friends. Out of nowhere, an inattentive driver runs a red light and side swipes you--sending your car spinning out of control. You wake up in the hospital, with a cast around your arm.

A million thoughts are running through your head. How long before you can return to work? Who will take care of your kids while you're hospitalized? And how can you make sure the other driver pays for your pain and suffering?

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