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What Happens If Your Employer is Required to Have Workers’ Compensation But Doesn’t Have It?

May 30, 2022

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In Ohio, any business that employs even a single employee is required to purchase workers’ compensation coverage. That includes independent contractors and subcontractors who have their own employees and even certain households who hire domestic helpers, including nannies, gardeners, and more, provided they earn at least $160 per quarter.

In other words, virtually every employer in the state is required by law to have workers’ compensation coverage. But not all of them do. Some employers, especially very small ones, may try to save money by not buying workers’ compensation coverage. When businesses have a small number of employees, or just a single employee, they may be able to fly under the radar for a while.

However, workers in all types of occupations and industries can get hurt on the job. What happens when they do and their employers don’t have workers’ compensation coverage? Our attorneys have the answer, and know what to do if you wind up in this situation.

You Can Still Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Thankfully, if you get injured on the job and your employer isn’t compliant with Ohio workers’ compensation law, you can still get benefits for your medical bills and lost wages. Ohio has created an uninsured employer fund for this very scenario, and that means there’s always money available to pay claims in full to eligible workers who get sick or hurt on the job when their employers don’t have coverage for them.

However, getting approved for workers’ compensation benefits through the state’s uninsured employer fund isn’t any easier than getting compensation through a normal claim. You still need to provide plenty of evidence that your injury occurred at work, and your application needs to be accurate, complete, and submitted on time. Hiring a lawyer to help you file can be a big help in improving your chances of getting compensation.

You May Be Able to Sue Your Employer for Your Damages

One of the perks of purchasing workers’ compensation coverage for employers is that it shields them from liability (aka being sued) after most types of on-the-job accidents and injuries. However, when employers don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, they open themselves up to liability from their injured employees.

If you were injured at work because of dangerous conditions or another form of negligence by your employer and they didn’t have workers’ compensation coverage, you may be eligible to sue them for your damages without going through the workers’ compensation process. It’s important to talk to a lawyer if you were hurt at work and your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation coverage to determine if this option is right for you.

Your Employer Will Face Heavy Financial Penalties and Possibly Even Criminal Charges

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) operates much like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when it finds out that a business or employer either never purchased workers’ compensation coverage or let its coverage lapse. First, it will seek to recover all unpaid premiums that the employer should have paid for the entire time it had uncovered employees or even a single uncovered employee.

When employers don’t have the funds on hand to pay for the unpaid premiums, or they refuse to pay, the BWC has the right to place a lien on the employer’s property. In addition to being required to pay back payments on unpaid premiums, employers who don’t purchase workers’ compensation coverage also must pay flat rate penalties of $30 for each unpaid premium and 15% of the amount due for each month they went uninsured.

And when employers still refuse to cooperate even after the BWC levies these penalties, fines, and liens against them, the BWC can bring legal action against them in civil and even criminal court. Non-compliant employers can be sued for the premiums and penalties they owe the BWC, and they can even be charged with fraud or theft.

You Can Find Out if Your Employer Has Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Whether you’re looking for a new job or are already employed and are curious about your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage status, the BWC has a database that allows you to search its records. Click the link below to search for your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage status.

BWC Employer Look-Up

Contact Us If You Need Help with a Workers’ Compensation Claim

There are many pitfalls that can come along with trying to get workers’ compensation benefits. From your employer denying that your injury occurred at work or not having coverage at all, to your doctor misdiagnosing you or the BWC denying your claim, the chances of hitting a snag somewhere along the way are high.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers have seen and overcome every snag, obstacle, and hurdle imaginable when it comes to benefits claims for injured workers. Contact us today if you or someone you love needs assistance getting compensation. We know what you’re going through, and we know how to help.

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