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What If My Employer Doesn't Have Workers' Compensation Insurance?

In California, it is illegal for employers to lack a workers’ compensation insurance policy. So much so that criminal liability can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a year in jail.

But what good is it to you when your boss doesn’t have insurance and you get hurt? How are you supposed to get the financial help you need to afford medical bills, lost wages, and other damages? Although these situations are rare, they can happen when an unscrupulous employer is trying to skirt the law or negligently allows their insurance policy to lapse at the time your injury occurs.

Your Employer Must Pay Your Workers’ Comp Benefits

Generally speaking, an employer will be liable to pay your workers’ comp benefits directly if they do not have a workers’ comp insurance policy. This means that whatever an insurance company would normally provide to afford your workers’ comp benefits, your employer must afford them on its own.

What If My Employer Can’t Pay Me My Benefits?

If your employer doesn’t have the funds to pay the workers’ comp benefits you’re owed, you aren’t out of luck. The employer may face all sorts of additional penalties and consequences, but your full benefits will be paid by the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF).

The UEBTF exists to ensure that employees are awarded workers’ comp benefits when their employers are illegally uninsured. A separate claim must be filed with the UEBTF to begin this process.

You Can Sue for Personal Injury in Civil Court

If your employer lacks a workers’ compensation insurance policy, you may be able to sue for damages with a personal injury lawsuit.

Keep in mind that this isn’t an option normally available – your employer’s failure to maintain workers’ compensation coverage is one of the rare situations in which you’ll be able to sue your employer for a work-related injury.

Hiring a Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help

When your employer lacks workers’ comp insurance coverage, the process involved with getting benefits after suffering a work-related injury is complicated.

You will first need to deal with trying to get money from your employer, who is already illegally uninsured and can waste your time until you find out they can’t afford your benefits. If you need to file a claim with the UEBTF, this is a whole other complicated legal process that can make getting benefits in a timely manner unnecessarily difficult.

This is why you should consider reaching out to a workers’ compensation attorney for help as soon as you learn that your employer doesn’t carry workers’ comp insurance. Representation from attorneys like ours at Smolich and Smolich can help you make sense of a situation you’ve probably never encountered, all while providing the services and advocacy you need to get workers’ comp benefits you may be owed.

For more information about how we can help, contact Smolich and Smolich online today!