Lever & Ecker, PLLC November 4, 2016 General
In New York, the majority of all business owners are required by law to obtain workers’ compensation coverage so that if any employees become injured or ill because of their job, they won’t have to worry about not being about to afford the medical treatments they need. But as with all laws, there are always those who chose not to follow them. The state Inspector General’s office intends to crack down on those who attempt to save themselves money by not purchasing the appropriate coverage.
In November of 2015, a 53-year-old man and owner of Fingerlakes Excavating LLC was arrested and charged with third-degree larceny, first-degree falsifying of business records, fraudulent practices, and a failure to secure compensation. Three of those charges are felonies.
He was charged after it was found that in order to get two contracts, he had provided a building company with false records showing that he had the necessary workers’ compensation coverage. Without the appropriate coverage, he wouldn’t have qualified for the contracts. According to the Inspector General’s office, he had absolutely no workers’ compensation insurance.
If convicted, he could spend time with prison and be issued heavy fines.
The last thing that any employee wants to hear after they’ve been injured on the job is that their employer has failed to get workers’ comp. While the New York workers’ compensation system isn’t perfect, it still helps thousands of workers every year. Without it, an injured worker could quickly face financial devastation due to expensive medical bills and lost earnings.
While an injured worker may not recover compensation as quickly as they would have through workers’ comp, they still have options:
When an employee files for workers’ compensation, this claim prevents them from filing a lawsuit against their employer. However, if the employer fails to provide the insurance, this opens them up to the possibility of being sued.
Personal injury lawsuits can actually provide a victim with more than coverage for their medical bills and lost wages – it can also compensate them for their physical pain and suffering and even emotional turmoil.
In fact, there may be several parties that can be named as defendants. If you were harmed due to a defective device or a mistake made by a contractor from another company, it may be possible to pursue legal action against them as well.
New York State has an Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) to help those who should have been provided with workers’ compensation.
Both of these methods are time consuming and stressful, which is why it is always a good decision to consult with an attorney as soon as you discover that your employer did not have coverage at the time of your injury.
Don’t let the fact that your employer doesn’t have insurance stop you from getting the medical care that you need. Many injuries, if left untreated, will only get worse over time and may leave the victim with permanent damage.
It is also always important that you follow up with your regular physician, even if you’ve been seen by an ER doctor.
It does not matter who was at fault when you are injured on the job – workers’ compensation insurance is a “no-fault” insurance and should provide coverage no matter what. The only time that coverage may not be provided is if the use of illegal drugs or alcohol was the direct cause of the accident or if the employee was acting outside of the scope of their employment.
If your injury is so severe that you are unable to return to work, you may be able to claim future lost wages in any lawsuits that you chose to file. In addition to this, you can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.