What shall I do if my employer lacks workers’ compensation insurance?
In general, when employees get injured while working, they have to turn to the state-governed workers’ compensation system to obtain recompense for their medical expenses and other benefits, including wage replacement for the time they are away from work due to injuries.
In nearly every state, a bulk of employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, which could be through a self-insured program arranged by the employer or a 3rd party insurer. In several states, employers must essentially have workers’ compensation insurance even with just one employee. In other US states, employers are only required to have insurance when they have a minimum of more than one employee, usually ranging from two to five.
In case your employer doesn’t have a workers’ compensation insurance, many states let you file a lawsuit against your job giver via a personal injury claim. In fact, there are some more advantages of an injury lawsuit compared to a workers’ compensation claim. The first is in the case of a personal injury claim, you can demand or obtain full recompense for your damage without any restriction or cap imposed by law. Whereas most US states just pay half to two-third of the earning loss of a victim under temporary disability benefits, up to a predefined maximum sum of money, and that too for just a limited time period.
Another advantage of suing an employer is that there is a possibility of receiving monetary compensation for your psychological distress post accident under the legal concept of “pain and suffering.” Additionally, you are entitled to obtain “punitive damages” meant to punish your employer if the accident was caused due to their deliberate wrong conduct. Sadly, both these advantages are not associated with workers’ compensation insurance.
Meanwhile, there are a few downsides of filing a lawsuit against your employer. It takes longer to settle a claim. Through workers’ compensation, you can expect reimbursement in a couple of weeks, but when you file a lawsuit, you may have to wait for months or at times years for recompense. The second disadvantage is that you will be required to prove the fault of your employer in causing the harm you sustained, which is not the case with workers’ compensation.
Besides, there are some other ways in which you can pursue recompense for your medical bills and lost earning. Some states keep special funds for those who are injured while working for an employer with no workers’ compensation insurance. You may also receive an amount to pay your medical bills and get back a part of your earning loss under this fund.