I always understood and expected that my employer had workers' compensation insurance. Unfortunately, after I hurt myself at work recently, I learned for the first time that my employer failed to pay its premiums and does not, in fact, have workers' compensation coverage. I haven't been paid in weeks. My medical bills are piling up. I don't know when, or even if, I'll be able to return to work. What can I do?
The California Labor Code requires employers to carry workers' compensation insurance. Companies that fail to adhere to this requirement can be ordered to discontinue business operations until they purchase coverage. Companies can also be fined and face other monetary penalties for failing to provide coverage.
The fact that your employer does not have insurance coverage does not change the fact that the employer remains responsible for your bills related to your work injury. It must pay them. You also have the right to sue your employer for your injuries if it does not have workers' compensation coverage in place.
Under these circumstances, you are also entitled to file a claim with the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund, which is designed to protect injured workers whose employers fail to provide workers' compensation benefits.
For additional advice as to what you should do in your specific situation, you should consult with attorneys who specialize in workers' compensation and personal injury claims as soon as possible, because both of these types of claims have strict rules and time limits to follow..
-David L. Winnett, Attorney; The Veen Firm, PC
This Month's Expert; David L. Winnett
David L. Winnett is a trial attorney representing catastrophically injured plaintiffs. Having joined The Veen Firm's Peters Trial Team in 2014, Mr. Winnett brings invaluable experience from his previous work on behalf of defendants. He was a partner at the defense firm Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP where he practiced for 13 years and tried cases involving employment matters, personal injuries and professional malpractice.