Workers’ compensation insurance is a crucial safety net that provides financial and medical benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. In North Carolina, as in many other states, employers are typically required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees. However, what happens if your employer is required to have workers’ compensation but doesn’t have it?
Employer Responsibility For Holding Workers’ Compensation Insurance:
In North Carolina, employers with three or more employees are generally required to have workers’ compensation insurance. [There are exceptions and certain rules beyond the scope of this article, contact us to learn more]. This coverage is designed to provide benefits to employees who are injured on the job, regardless of who is at fault. The primary responsibilities of employers regarding workers’ compensation include:
- Purchasing Insurance: Employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance from an approved insurance carrier or, in some cases, self-insure.
- Posting Notices: Employers must post notices or inform their employees about their workers’ compensation coverage and the procedures for reporting workplace injuries.
- Prompt Reporting: Employers must report workplace injuries or illnesses to their insurance carrier and the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) promptly.
Consequences for Employers Without Workers’ Compensation Insurance:
If your employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance but doesn’t have it, several consequences may occur:
- Legal Penalties: Employers who fail to provide the required workers’ compensation coverage can face legal penalties and fines. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) may take action against non-compliant employers.
- Personal Injury Lawsuits: In North Carolina, when employers do not have workers’ compensation insurance, they lose certain legal protections. Injured employees may have the option to file personal injury lawsuits against their employer to seek compensation for their injuries. This can potentially result in higher damages for the injured worker.
Options for Injured Workers When Their Employers Do Not Have Mandatory Workers’ Comp. Insurance:
If you’ve been injured at work, and your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you still have options:
- Personal Injury Lawsuit: You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your injury. In this case, you’ll need to prove that your employer’s negligence contributed to your injury.
- Third-Party Claims: If someone other than your employer was responsible for your injury (e.g., a subcontractor, a manufacturer of faulty equipment), you may have a third-party claim against that party in addition to any potential personal injury claim against your employer.
- Consult an Attorney: If your employer lacks workers’ compensation insurance, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. They can help you navigate the legal complexities of your case, determine liability, and explore your options for pursuing compensation.
While North Carolina law requires most employers to have workers’ compensation insurance, some employers may fail to comply. In such cases, injured employees may have the option to file personal injury lawsuits against their employer. If you find yourself in this situation, seeking legal counsel is essential. At Kellum Law Firm, our experienced workers’ comp. attorneys can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case – Schedule a consultation here.