Not carrying workers’ compensation insurance is a serious matter in New York. The New York Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) fines employers $2,000 for every 10 days an employer goes without insurance. For employers with five or more workers, not carrying workers’ compensation insurance is a felony, while it’s a misdemeanor for employers with less than five workers. Companies also cannot win public works jobs without workers’ compensation insurance.
Are there state run funds that I can draw from if my employer failed to purchase workers’ compensation insurance?
If you are injured on the job, always seek medical treatment immediately, including emergency medical treatment if necessary. After the doctors stabilize your injuries, you should notify your employer of your injury and file a form C-3 to the WCB for benefits. If your employer is uninsured, this is where the case can become very difficult.
The WCB runs the Uninsured Employers’ Fund that pays lost wages and medical expenses for workers whose employer did not purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Workers can file a claim with this fund if the employer does not carry insurance.
What legal actions can I take against my employer?
Per NY Workers’ Compensation Law Section 11, injured workers can file personal injury lawsuits in New York against their employer if the employer failed to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. It states that workers do not have to prove that they were not contributorily negligent, and employers cannot plead that the employee was negligent and caused the injuries.
What Is A Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury lawsuit is a form of civil lawsuit that allows the plaintiff the opportunity to seek compensation for losses that they sustained due to the negligence of another party. Losses that can be claimed include:
- Medical expenses for the treatments directly relating to the injury sustained while at work.
- Wages lost due to an inability to return to a job because of the injury.
- Physical pain and suffering, disfigurement, and severe scarring.
- Emotional trauma including PTSD.
Typically, when a worker files a workers’ compensation claim, they are prevented from suing their employer, however, because when an employer fails to protect their employees, they risk being named the defendant in a lawsuit.
Fully Documented Claims Still Important
Just because a worker is pursuing compensation through other means in the event of a work injury doesn’t mean that he or she does not have to prove eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. It’s still important to establish your injury is work-related and the extent of your injuries and resultant disability.
Workers should collect any applicable evidence in their case, which may include:
- Medical records
- Photographs of the accident and injuries
- Witness contact information
- Pay stubs and a record of days that the injury prevented them from returning to work
What If My Employer Threatened Me?
If, when you were injured or discovered that your employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, your employer threatened to fire you or retaliate in some other way, know that there are programs in place to protect you.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration created the Whistleblower Protection Programs in order to protect any workers who report an injury on the job. If an employer has retaliated, the employee can file complaints with both the state and federal OSHA within 30 days of the alleged retaliation.
You should also contact a workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help protect you and assist you with navigating this difficult time. An attorney can help you fill out claim forms correctly, advise you about other ways you may obtain compensation, speak with insurance companies on your behalf, negotiate an appropriate settlement, and represent you in court.
How Can I Afford An Attorney?
At the Disability Guys, we are completely aware of the financial strain that our clients are already under when they seek our help. That’s why we work on a contingency fee basis. Our fees come directly out of the compensation that we obtain for you. If we don’t win your case then you owe us nothing. That way, you can rest easy knowing that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.