In the United States, most employers are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. This is necessary to financially cover injuries from workplace accidents. Some employers may neglect to carry that insurance, or may let their policy lapse. This creates a situation that could have serious financial consequences for that company’s employees, especially if the employee is unaware of his or her legal rights.
Make Sure the Law Does Require Your Employer to Carry Insurance
The rules vary from state to state as to the restrictions placed on employers to carry workers compensation insurance. In some states, every business of a specified size is required to carry full worker’s compensation insurance. In those cases, the size of the business is determined by the number of individuals employed by the company.
The number of employees also varies from state to state. Worker’s compensation insurance may be required in companies that hire just one employee, while other states might not require insurance coverage until the business retains at least three to five employees.
In other states, the employer may have the option of covering insurance requirements through a self-insured program. This means there won’t be a third party insurance company involved, but the employer is still operating within the rules of the law.
Whatever the specific regulations in your state, the employer’s compliance with the law usually means that an injured employee must go through that state’s worker’s compensation office. Claims are filed with the office and forwarded to the employer and the company’s insurer. Again, the exact process may vary slightly among the different states, but, essentially, the rules for filing a claim are straightforward. Always consult a workers compensation lawyer for legal advice.
What Can You Do When Your Employer Isn’t Insured?
In the end, it may work to the employee’s advantage when the employer isn’t in compliance with the law. While it’s generally prohibited to sue one’s employer for a workplace injury, most states have a stipulation that allows for them to file a personal injury suit. These types of personal injury civil suits can only be brought against one’s employer in the event that the company isn’t covered under the state’s worker’s compensation laws. If this is the situation, an injured worker can bring a civil suit against the employer to cover damages.
Recovering Accident Damages: Lawsuit or Workers Compensation?
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit can be significantly more than he or she might have received from a worker’s compensation claim. In a civil suit, the damages would cover the full amount of your losses such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. In comparison, a worker’s compensation claim would only cover two-thirds of lost wages and wouldn’t reimburse the employee for pain and suffering.
Additionally, a jury in a personal injury case can award punitive damages to a plaintiff. If the jury believes that the employer acted egregiously in causing your injuries, they may award an extra sum as a way of punishing the employer. The potential additional costs resulting from a personal injury lawsuit, such as being subjected to punitive damages, compel most businesses to make sure they remain in full compliance with state laws.
Even if your employer is covered by worker’s compensation insurance, it may be beneficial to seek out the advice of an attorney. They can ensure that you’re aware of your rights and can help you receive your entitled compensation. While a personal injury lawsuit can be lengthy, they can help you receive damages for your injuries from an uninsured employer. In either case, the best thing you can do for yourself is to discuss your case with a legal professional ssuch as the Workers Compensation Attorneys Queens NY locals trust who has your best interests in mind.
Thanks to authors at Polsky, Shouldice, & Rosen P.C. for their insight into Workers Compensation.