GAA STATEMENT ON WORKERS' COMPENSATION INSURANCE
For Tree Services
The Georgia Arborist Association (GAA) recommends that all tree service companies -- regardless of size -- that perform work on residential properties have a workers’ compensation insurance policy.
Any worker employed by the company and present on the job site, including the company owner, should be included on the workers compensation policy. Company owners must specifically notify their insurance company that they want to be covered under the policy because it is not normally included. Corporate officers or members of LLCs can elect not to be covered. However, if company officers will be on job sites, they should not opt out of coverage. Having a policy that protects the workers, the tree service, the tree service owner and the homeowner protects everybody in the event of an injury.
If an employee of a tree service is injured on a homeowner’s property and the combination of the hospital charges, follow-up treatment and lost wages amount to $200,000, workers’ compensation insurance will cover all of this, including legal defense expenses if the employee chooses to hire an attorney. Without workers’ compensation insurance, the $200,000.00 claim would have to be paid from the tree service’s assets. If those assets are insufficient, the homeowner may be liable. Most homeowner’s policies specifically exclude claims filed by uninsured contractors hired by the homeowner.
The GAA also recommends that homeowners verify workers’ compensation coverage held by a tree service, and that the workers assigned to the homeowner’s job are specifically covered, including the company owner or officer if they are on the jobsite.
For More Information
The State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s website is a good source of useful information: http://sbwc.georgia.gov/.