Worker suffers work-related injury, gives proper notice, and seeks medical attention, only to find out his employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is a reality many injured workers are facing with increasing frequency. Given the current economic climate it should not be surprising that many employers have attempted to cut costs. What is surprising is that many employers have chosen to eliminate their workers’ compensation insurance as a cost-cutting measure . Unfortunately, such actions carry potentially severe consequences for the injured worker and the employer.
When an injured worker discovers his employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance, he or she must first consider whether his employer was required by law to carry insurance.
Here are some general guidelines for determining which employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Please note that a much more in-depth discussion is required to fully analyze this issue, and this is not intended to be an exhaustive discussion on this issue.
- In most industries, all employers who employ three or more workers are required by law to have workers’ compensation coverage. There is ongoing litigation concerning which employees (executives, family members, etc.) must be counted. This can differ based on the type of business (LLC, partnership, corporation, etc.).
- All employers in the construction industry must have coverage, regardless of the number of employees.
Obviously, then this will cover the majority of employers, meaning the strong majority of employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance.
The law, however, exempts the following categories of employers from carrying workers’ compensation coverage:
- Private domestic servants
- Real Estate salespersons
- Farm and Ranch laborers
There has been extensive litigation establishing what specifically falls under these exemptions, but that requires much more in depth discussion under each category.
Your options as an injured worker differ based on whether your employer was lawfully or unlawfully uninsured. Accordingly, it is important to determine whether your employer was required to carry workers compensation insurance.