2021 Georgia Code
Title 34 - Labor and Industrial Relations
Chapter 9 - Workers' Compensation
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 34-9-2.2. Eligibility of Sole Proprietor or Partner for Workers' Compensation Insurance

Universal Citation: GA Code § 34-9-2.2 (2021)

Any sole proprietor or partner of a business whose employees are eligible for benefits under this chapter may elect to be included as an employee under the workers' compensation insurance coverage of such business if he is actively engaged in the operation of the business and if the insurer is notified of his election to be so included. Any such sole proprietor or partner shall, upon such election, be entitled to the employee benefits and be subject to the employee responsibilities prescribed in this chapter.

(Code 1981, §34-9-2.2, enacted by Ga. L. 1984, p. 1218, § 1.)

Law reviews.

- For article, "Workers' Compensation," see 53 Mercer L. Rev. 521 (2001).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Purpose of Workers' Compensation Act.

- The Workers' Compensation Act, O.C.G.A. § 34-9-1 et seq., is in derogation of common law. However, because it is highly remedial in nature, it should be liberally construed with a view of applying the beneficent purposes of the Act, so as to effectuate its humane objectives and its purpose, and to extend them to every class of worker and employee that can fairly be brought within its provisions. Subsequent Injury Trust Fund v. Lumley Drywall, 200 Ga. App. 703, 409 S.E.2d 254, cert. denied, 200 Ga. App. 897, 409 S.E.2d 254 (1991).

Reimbursement from Subsequent Injury Trust Fund.

- Sole proprietor who elects workers' compensation coverage as an "employee" under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-2.2 is an "employer" for purposes of reimbursement from the Subsequent Injury Trust Fund established by O.C.G.A. § 34-9-350. Subsequent Injury Trust Fund v. Lumley Drywall, 200 Ga. App. 703, 409 S.E.2d 254, cert. denied, 200 Ga. App. 897, 409 S.E.2d 254 (1991).

Knowledge of preexisting permanent impairment.

- If the evidence shows to the satisfaction of the board that a sole proprietor/employer hired oneself with knowledge of the proprietor's own preexisting permanent impairment, the terms of the workers' compensation law (see now O.C.G.A. § 34-9-1 et seq.) are satisfied. Subsequent Injury Trust Fund v. Lumley Drywall, 200 Ga. App. 703, 409 S.E.2d 254, cert. denied, 200 Ga. App. 897, 409 S.E.2d 254 (1991).

No coverage absent premium and notification.

- When there was evidence that the agency which handled the insurance included a sole proprietor as an insured employee as a matter of course, but no premium based on the proprietor's salary was charged, and there was no evidence that the sole proprietor elected to be so insured or notified the insurer of the proprietor's decision, the proprietor was not covered because the proprietor was not an employee. King v. James King Cleaners & Laundry, 199 Ga. App. 796, 405 S.E.2d 909 (1991).

Exempt employer as covered employee of another employer.

- Employer in the employer's own business who had exempted oneself from workers' compensation coverage the employer procured for the employer's own employees could be a covered employee of another employer. Peters v. Kevin Moody Constr., 223 Ga. App. 133, 476 S.E.2d 772 (1996).

Employer who expressly exempted oneself from coverage under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-2.2 was barred from making a claim against the employer's own company and the employer could not claim under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-8(a) to be an employee injured while employed by the employer's company in its capacity as a subcontractor. Greg Fisher, Ltd. v. Samples, 238 Ga. App. 825, 520 S.E.2d 280 (1999).

In an action for injuries against a principle contractor, because the plaintiff was not a subcontractor of the defendant, the contractor's election to protect oneself under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-2.2 would not be treated as a forfeiture of the employer's common law rights when O.C.G.A. § 34-9-11(a) does not mandate such loss of the right to sue a third party tortfeasor and when O.C.G.A. § 34-9-8 affords the employer no benefits or protection. Kaplan v. Pulte Home Corp., 245 Ga. App. 286, 537 S.E.2d 727 (2000).

Workers' compensation claimant, who elected not to be included in a partnership's workers' compensation coverage under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-2.2, could claim coverage under the workers' compensation policy of an employer of the partnership. Atlas Constr. Co. v. Pena, 268 Ga. App. 566, 602 S.E.2d 151 (2004).

Cited in Sherwin-Williams Co. v. Escuadra, 224 Ga. App. 894, 482 S.E.2d 505 (1997); Cypress Ins. Co. v. Duncan, 281 Ga. App. 469, 636 S.E.2d 159 (2006).

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