Workers’ compensation insurance is an essential protection for employees who suffer a workplace injury. Most employers in the State of North Carolina are required to carry workers’ comp insurance. Unfortunately, though, there are some that fit the requirements to carry the insurance but fail to do so. When an employee of one of these companies suffers a workplace injury, they are left wondering what to do.
Generally, in North Carolina, employers who have a minimum of three employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This requirement holds true whether a private company or a government entity. There are, though, some exceptions to these rules in certain industries. In some cases, it may be a full exemption, and in other cases, the threshold is higher. In other industries, such as construction, the threshold may be lowered.
There are also certain circumstances in which corporate officers and members of limited liability companies may be exempted. If you have questions about whether or not your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, then a workers’ comp lawyer will be able to help you.
Although most employers in North Carolina are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, it is not uncommon for some employers to not have it. This is a serious problem and can result in serious consequences.
The law allows for employers who do this to be fined one dollar per employee per day. The minimum fine is $50 per day, but they cannot be fined more than $100 per day. This means that the employer could be fined between $18,250 and $36,500 for a year of not carrying the insurance.
The consequences aren’t limited to North Carolina Industrial Commission fines, either. There are some circumstances when the failure to carry workers’ comp insurance may end up resulting in criminal charges. The nature of the charge will depend on the intention of the employer.
If the employer merely neglected to provide the coverage, perhaps because they weren’t aware they needed to or thought that they had signed up for coverage, then they could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if it is determined that their failure to acquire coverage was intentional, then they could be charged with a Class H felony.
None of the above describes what might happen to you if you are injured at work and your employer doesn’t carry workers’ comp insurance. If that’s the case, not having insurance doesn’t mean that your employer is not responsible for the costs that come from the workplace injury. They are still required to cover the medical costs and wage replacement benefits.
In most cases, employers have the protection of “exclusive remedy,” which requires that workers’ compensation disputes be managed through the North Carolina Industrial Commission. However, when an employer has failed to provide the workers’ compensation insurance they are required to, this “exclusive remedy” is waived.
This means they may be opened up to a personal liability claim. This is not limited to the business entity, either. It is possible that the individuals determined to have the “ability and authority” to have brought the employer into compliance with North Carolina regulations can be held personally liable for what the employee is due.
If you are injured at work and discover that your employer has failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance, then you aren’t left without a possible remedy. There are options available to you. Contact a workers’ comp attorney in Charlotte to find out what could be done in your case.
A: If your lawyer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, you still may be able to get the compensation that you deserve. An on-the-job injury lawyer can investigate your situation and help you understand the options that you have.
Whether you need to go through the workers’ compensation process or make a civil personal liability claim against your employer or even the individual with proper authority, your lawyer will be prepared to represent you and argue for the compensation that you deserve.
A: There is a seven-day waiting period before workers’ comp begins to be paid. After the initial seven days, the workers’ comp begins. If you are out of work beyond 21 days, then the initial seven days of missed work will be compensated.
A: Workers’ compensation covers a number of different costs related to your workplace injury. The medical bills associated will be covered, as will wage replacement if you need to miss work. Additionally, if your injuries are significant enough that you will need to make a career change, then vocational rehabilitation could be covered, which can help with educational opportunities and career placement.
A: If the workers’ compensation award you’re given doesn’t meet what you believe you should be given or is denied, there is a process to make an appeal. However, as is the case with most facets of workers’ comp, the process can be complex and challenging to navigate. If you need to appeal a workers’ comp decision, then working with an attorney to help you through the process can help ensure that you follow the correct procedures.
If you’ve been injured in a workplace injury, you may have a number of costs starting to pile up. These costs are the responsibility of your employer even if they have failed to carry the workers’ comp insurance they’re required to by law. There are options available to you, including filing a civil claim against your employer or possibly even the individual who had the authority to bring your company into proper compliance.
If you find yourself in this kind of situation, contact the team at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler to discuss your options.