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Disability Law: Georgia Law Blog
Georgia Workers? Compensation Law Update ? An Injured Truck Driver Cannot Maintain A Workers? Compensation Case In Georgia Against A Statutory Employer In Some Instances
By Jack E. Clay
As I mentioned in a recent article, the concept of statutory employment has a long and somewhat misunderstood history even among lawyers. On July 7, 2007, the Court of Appeals decided Axxson Timber Company v. Wilson. This case involved whether a worker who suffered an on the job injury can maintain a workers? compensation claim against a statutory employer under O.C.G.A. §34-9-8(d). In order for an injured worker to maintain a case under Georgia Workers? Compensation Law in this instance, the law requires that the injury occur at a place that the statutory employer had undertaken to execute work and which was otherwise under the control and management of the statutory employer.
The problem with this case is the claimant was injured at a Mill in Florida. Accordingly, the court found that because the injury did not occur on Axxson Timber Company property or property that Axxson Timber Company controlled and the injured employee could not pursue a workers? compensation case. In quoting the Court of Appeals, ??imposing a workers? compensation liability on a shipper for an injury that occurred at a location over which it had no control would render the shipper and insurer, which was not the intent of the Georgia Workers? Compensation Act?.
This case seems to limit the rights of injured workers to bring cases against statutory employers. Although the results in this case were defendant on its particular facts, a precedent has been set that limits the rights of injured workers. This is especially concerning in the context of cases involving truck drivers. If a truck driver is working for a shipper that does not have workers? compensation insurance and suffers an injury at the point of destination, they may be unable to maintain a workers? compensation claim against a statutory employer if such statutory did not own or manage the location where the injury took place. This case is even more troubling as White Trucking Company, the direct employer, did not have workers? compensation insurance. Please remember if you are a truck driver or have a friend or family member that is a truck driver and has been injured in a workers? compensation accident, please consult and attorney regarding your potential case. In many cases, even though the direct employer may not have workers? compensation insurance coverage because they are a small company, there are other statutory employers against which you can file a workers? compensation claim.
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