By law, almost every business (with a few exceptions) is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to pay benefits to employees who are injured on the job. Unfortunately, some employers manage to avoid purchasing workers’ compensation insurance, and put their employees at risk.
How to Know if Your Employer is Covered
Most employers, if they do have workers’ compensation insurance, will introduce the policy to each employee upon hire. Information about a company’s specific coverage and reporting procedures may be included in an employment agreement, in orientation materials, or on the company’s employee website or human resource system. Some businesses even have posters displayed on the job site that outline their workers’ compensation policy. Supervisors, company management, and human resource professionals are generally good resources for getting answers to your workers’ compensation-related questions. Your state’s workers’ compensation administration office may be able to offer further details if resources are not available through your job.
Employers who are required to have workers’ compensation insurance but are not covered can face legal penalties that may include fines and imprisonment. The consequences vary by state. In Illinois, willfully opting not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance is a felony and can be punished by up to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Recovering Compensation for a Work Injury if Your Employer is not Insured
Employers who do not carry workers’ compensation insurance leave their employees without a direct system for recovering benefits following an on-the-job injury, but those employees are not completely out of luck. There are other ways for injured workers to be compensated.
In Illinois, the fines collected from uninsured employers go to the Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund (IWBF). The IWBF is one option for employees who do not have access to employer-supplied workers’ compensation insurance. Most states have a similar system for compensating injury victims who are employed by uninsured companies.
Employees can also sue their employers and pursue a personal injury case if their place of work is uninsured. At McHargue & Jones, LLC, we can help. We also represent employees who are involved in a traditional workers’ compensation claim process. Contact us to discuss your work injury questions.
Call (312) 487-2461 or send us a message to schedule a free consultation with our team of attorneys.