All of those signs in the break room tend to cause people’s eyes to glaze over. You probably assumed from the date of hire that your employer is complying with employment law, never bothering to look at those postings. Now, after getting injured while working, you’ve learned that your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance.
You wanted to file a claim, but your manager has told you that it isn’t possible. Suddenly, you’re worried about lost wages and medical bills because the coverage that should be protecting you just isn’t there. The worse your injuries, the more serious the issue becomes.
You may worry about your ability to pay your medical bills. You may also worry about paying your regular bills, like rent or a mortgage, while you’re recovering. California law requires that all employers obtain workers’ compensation insurance or become self-insured. If your employer has failed to do that, you have legal options available to you. As soon as you learn that your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you should reach out to an experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer.
Workers’ compensation insurance isn’t voluntary
All employers in California must carry workers’ compensation insurance or become self-insured. Employers are also not allowed to pass these costs on to workers by deducting from their pay. Obtaining a workers’ compensation insurance policy is part of the cost of doing business in California.
California law is very clear on the matter of illegally uninsured employers. If your employer does not have the mandated workers’ compensation coverage and you get hurt on the job, your employer is financially responsible for all expenses related to your injury. On top of that, the courts could convict your employer of a misdemeanor that carries hefty fines.
Workers’ compensation offers benefits for:
-emergency trauma care after an injury
-ongoing medical treatment
-rehabilitation and physical therapy
-job re-training if necessary
-lost wages after an accident
That means that your employer could be found responsible for those costs in your situation. Every workplace injury and case is different, which is why it makes sense to speak with an attorney as soon as you discover your injury isn’t covered by workers’ compensation because your employer isn’t insured.
Don’t sign anything without legal advice
Your employer may try to coerce you into signing a settlement or even a nondisclosure statement. You should never sign any contract or agree to any terms without first speaking with an attorney. Your injuries will likely incur expenses for some time. Working with an attorney ensures your best interests are protected after a serious workplace accident.