In the most states, employers are required to purchase insurance for their employees from a workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If a company has fewer than three to four employees, that employer is not required to carry workers’ comp benefits.
If an employer has more than four employees, however, workers’ comp insurance is a requirement. Companies who are required to carry such insurance but fail to do so face numerous severe penalties including:
- Liability for workers’ compensation benefits or injured workers
- Liability from lawsuits filed by employees who have a legal right to file a workers’ comp claim
Duties of an Employer
When you become an employee of a company that is required to provide workers’ comp coverage, that company has a number of obligations that they are responsible for. These obligations include providing notice of workers’ comp coverage to employees, providing medical treatments necessary for work-related injuries, reporting injuries that occur to the workers’ comp insurance company, reporting any and all accidents that result in injury, and complying with all employee requests for information regarding injured workers.
Fear of Retaliation
Many employees avoid filling workers’ comp claims because they are afraid that they may get in trouble, lose their job, or that the company will retaliate against them in some other way. It is important to remember that an employer cannot legally retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ comp claim.
Consult with a Workers' Compensation Attorney
If an employer violates any of his or her workers’ comp duties or responsibilities and an employee suffers a loss due to the employer’s violation, that employee may be entitled to damages. If you find yourself in such a situation, your best course of action is to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney.
An attorney will be able to discuss your rights and options with you and help you understand what damages you may be entitled to. Some workers’ comp attorneys may be willing to work on a contingency basis, meaning that they will collect a percentage of the damages you are awarded rather than paying legal fees up front out of your own pocket.
In addition to seeking damages for a lack of workers’ comp coverage or a loss due to a workers’ comp issue, a lawyer can help protect your rights under workers’ comp law if you find yourself filing a workers’ comp claim only to discover that your employer has decided to retaliate against you in some way for doing so. Your lawyer will hold your employer to the law, ensuring that such retaliation is addressed and your employer is held responsible.