“A Workers’ Comp Defense Refresher for Georgia Employers”


Debra Chambers and Nichole Novosel authored an April 6, 2022 article for Law360 outlining defense options for employers and insurers under O.C.G.A. Section 34-9-17, which is a statutory exception that provides limited and specific circumstances when an employee’s conduct may be considered in determining whether he or she is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. “The statute sets forth circumstances where an employer or insurer can essentially say, ‘It’s not us; it’s you,’” Chambers and Novosel wrote.

Injuries resulting from employees’ willful misconduct, which do not trigger compensability under O.C.G.A. Section 34-9-17 are defined as:

1) An intentionally self-inflected injury;
2) An injury growing out of the employee’s attempt to injure another;
3) An injury resulting from the willful failure or refusal to use a safety appliance or perform a duty required by statute; or,
4) An injury resulting from intoxication.

Chambers and Novosel provided explanations for what types of injuries would fall under these provisions for willful misconduct and intoxication defenses, including practical considerations when asserting these approaches.

For the full article, Law360 subscribers may click here.


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