What If My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
For many employees, workers’ compensation acts as a safety net, providing much-needed relief in the event of unexpected workplace injuries. While the workers’ comp system is designed to protect workers, there are instances where employers neglect or fail to provide this essential coverage. The repercussions of this neglect can be significant, not just for the employer but also for the injured worker.
Who Is Required to Have Workers’ Comp Coverage in Colorado?
The Colorado law mandates that all employers, whether they employ a single person or hundreds, must secure workers’ compensation insurance. This applies regardless of whether the employee is working full-time, part-time, or even if they are family members.
It’s worth noting that very few employees are exempt from the benefits of workers’ compensation. When an employer doesn’t adhere to the coverage requirements, they face hefty penalties.
For instance, a business could incur a fine of up to $500 for each day without coverage. In extreme cases, the business could even be ordered to cease operations. Moreover, if an employee sustains an injury while the employer lacks insurance, the employer is not only liable for the claim but also faces a penalty amounting to 25% of the injured worker’s benefits.
Your Options If You Are Hurt on the Job
A workplace injury can lead to a host of complications, from permanent disabilities to wage loss and medical expenses. If you are injured at a Colorado workplace and do not have access to workers’ comp coverage, you have two options to seek benefits.
Pursuing Benefits Directly from Your Uninsured Employer
If you are injured under an uninsured employer, they are liable to offer the benefits an insurance company would have provided, plus a 25% penalty. Alternatively, you can choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer in civil court. However, you must choose between the two options.
Often, obtaining benefits directly from an uninsured employer can be a challenging process, especially if the employer disputes your claim or faces other financial constraints. It is important to consult with an attorney to learn more about the process and determine which pathway is right for you.
Seeking Aid from the Uninsured Employers’ Fund
Colorado, like many states, has a safety net for workers injured under uninsured employers. This fund can cover medical expenses and compensate for wage loss. To be eligible, the injury should have occurred after January 1, 2020, while you were working for an uninsured employer. You must also have a conclusive order from a judge confirming your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits.
Speak to a Denver Workplace Injury Lawyer Today
When an employer lacks workers’ compensation insurance, the aftermath of a workplace injury becomes significantly more convoluted. In these situations, the expertise of an attorney becomes invaluable. A Denver workplace injury lawyer can guide you through the process, helping identify your optimal path to financial recovery.
Your attorney can help you assess the different options, calculate your potential benefits, and take the first steps toward holding your employer accountable. Don’t navigate this process alone—contact a Denver workplace injury lawyer to discuss your rights and benefits.