When you run a business employing even a modest number of employees, your insurance expenses can mount up quickly. One of the main reasons is that you must normally obtain general liability and workers’ compensation insurance policies to cover employees who get injured on the job.
Likewise, if your workers will be using your vehicles or their own to carry out their job tasks, you will also need to obtain adequate vehicle insurance coverage. Finally, if you manufacture or sell certain types of products, you’ll probably need to obtain some type of comprehensive products liability insurance to protect you when someone is injured by one of your products – and decides to sue you.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
All businesses with regular, on-site employees must obtain worker’s compensation insurance from their states to cover employees who suffer injuries while performing their work duties. This normally requires the employer to pay a set amount of money into a state fund and then purchase an actual policy through the most competitive and reputable company s/he can find and afford.
The good thing about workers’ compensation insurance is that it was designed to limit lawsuits against businesses due to employee injuries. Also, it provides a dependable framework for employees to quickly and efficiently obtain the medical care (and any retraining/rehabilitation) they may need in hopes of returning to work (unless totally and permanently disabled). However, this insurance is still fairly expensive for employers.
General Liability Insurance
Most businesses have people who come to the workplace where they attend meetings or otherwise interact with one or more employees. Should one of these individuals fall or become injured on your property, you’ll need this type of policy to help you pay for that person’s injuries if they’re seriously hurt and sue you for damages. This same injured party may also sue you for lost wages, pain and suffering, and all of their medical bills.
Be sure to inquire about special insurance “riders” or provisions that can cover you if an employee willfully, negligently or maliciously harms another person while working for you. Also, ask plenty of questions regarding your coverage level.
For example, find out what the maximum amount of money is that your carrier will pay out on claims for you during a single calendar year (and per incident). Give very serious thought to obtaining a higher level of coverage if your business requires employees to take risks with their personal safety on a daily basis –such as those working on construction jobs.
In addition, give serious thought to meeting with your Peachtree City business attorney so you can inquire about all of the legal distinctions between “employees” and “independent contractors”. Make sure you understand the full extent of coverage you may or may not owe to such workers. Also, always err on the side of carrying too much -- rather than too little insurance.
Finally, keep in mind that many small businesses that try to “self-insure” later come to regret that choice once they discover how expensive it can be to settle a serious personal injury lawsuit.
To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today. You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.