Workers’ Compensation and Uninsured Employers
There are hundreds of workplace accidents and injuries that occur every year in California. While the most injuries are reported in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, natural resources and mining, and construction industries, all industries can be dangerous. If you have been injured on the job and your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you need to consult with a San Diego workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
Who is Covered Under Workers’ Compensation Insurance in California?
Under California Labor Code, all employers who have one or more employee, as well as roofers with no employees, are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is true even if the employees are family members. An employee is defined as a person whom an employer engages or permits to work.
As such, if you are an employee, it is highly likely that your employer has a legal obligation to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In California, the law protects you—and you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits—even if you are an undocumented worker.
Filing a Claim with the Uninsured Employers Benefit Trust Fund (UEBTF)
In the event that an employer illegally fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance when the law obligates him or her to do so, and that employer’s employee is injured on the job, the employee can seek benefits through the Uninsured Employers Benefit Trust Fund, or UEBTF. Filing a claim for UEBTF benefits is an 11-step process, and includes (but is not limited to):
- Completing the employee section of a workers’ compensation form;
- Completing the coverage research service request form;
- Gathering important documents (medical evidence, proof of employment, etc.);
- Completing all forms in the UEBTF claim packet; and
- Filing the packet at Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board nearest you.
Filing a Civil Claim Against Your Employer
Benefits through the UEBTF are not the only way to recover compensation after a work-related accident. Because carrying workers’ compensation benefits is a legal requirement, an employer who fails to do so may face civil penalties. (In fact, he or she may also face criminal penalties, and a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to one year or both. The state also issues fines of up to $100,000 for against uninsured employers). If you decide to file a civil claim against your employer, you can recover damages for all of your losses, including:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capacity; and
- Pain and suffering.
Meet with a Workers’ Compensation Insurance Attorney Today
Your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to pay for your expenses if you are injured while performing a work-related task. If your employer illegally chooses not to carry workers’ compensation, however, then you have the right to file a claim with the UEBTF or/and file a civil action directly against your employer. When doing either, seeking the counsel of a skilled San Diego workers’ compensation attorney is within your best interest.
At Berman & Riedel, LLP, our professional team understands what you are going through. We recognize the severity of being injured on the job, and will not give up fighting for compensation on your behalf. To learn more, call us today at 858-350-8855.