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What If You Get Hurt on the Job but Your Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?

March 1, 2021

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Unlike some states, Ohio requires that all employers with even one employee carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to help injured workers while they’re unable to earn paychecks, while also protecting employers from being sued and having to pay for on-the-job injuries.

However, not all business owners have valid workers’ compensation insurance, whether it’s because they let a policy lapse or because they simply never purchased it to begin with. If you get hurt on the job and you find out your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, you have two options: sue your employer directly for your damages, or file a workers’ compensation claim anyway and have it paid by your employer.

How Does Suing Your Employer After an Injury Work?

Normally, workers’ compensation insurance protects employers from being sued by their workers if they get hurt on the job. But when those companies don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, they forgo that protection. That means their employees can sue them for their medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses if they get hurt at work.

These claims work similarly to other injury claims in that they require proof that the injury occurred at work and resulted in temporary or permanent disabilities. In addition to being sued by you, your employer may also be sued by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) for non-payment of workers’ compensation premiums or for failing to obtain the insurance.

How Does Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim Work if There’s No Coverage?

Ohio’s BWC anticipates that some employers either won’t purchase workers’ compensation insurance or will let their coverage lapse due to failure to pay premiums. Because of those potential scenarios, the BWC established an uninsured employer fund. This fund is designed to pay compensation to injured workers whose employers don’t buy into the workers’ compensation system.

Note that if you file a successful workers’ compensation claim against your employer and they don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, the BWC will pay your claim and then seek to recoup that money from your employer. In addition to being required to pay this, employers without valid workers’ compensation insurance also face serious financial penalties for every month that they don’t have coverage.

What Exceptions Exist for Purchasing Workers’ Comp Coverage?

There are two major exceptions to Ohio’s workers’ compensation system: businesses that employ domestic workers who earn less than $160 per quarter, and businesses that have a single worker—i.e., a sole proprietorship.

In addition, businesses don’t need to provide workers’ compensation coverage to volunteers unless they are public employers. This includes volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Note, however, that businesses are still required to purchase workers’ compensation coverage even if all of their employees are part-time. The difference is that the amount of compensation paid to those employees after on-the-job injuries is based on the number of hours they work.

How Can You Find Out if Your Employer Has Workers’ Comp Coverage?

The Ohio BWC website has a search function that allows you to look up whether or not a business has active workers’ compensation insurance. This tool can be helpful whether you’ve just started a new job, are looking for a new job, or have been working in the same place for years and want to know what your options might be if you get hurt while working.

We Help with All Types of Workers’ Compensation Claims

Whether your employer has valid workers’ compensation, let their coverage lapse, or never bought any in the first place, we want to help you get the money you’re owed if you get hurt on the job. Our Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers know how the process works in all scenarios, including suing employers directly when they don’t have workers’ comp insurance.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we believe you shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for a work-related injury, especially if your employer doesn’t comply with state law by not buying the coverage they’re required to carry. Let us help you get the money you need to move forward with your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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