Workers’ compensation benefits can be helpful to both injured employees and employers alike. These benefits can include coverage of cost of medical care as well as partial coverage of wages lost while an employee recovers from an on-the-job injury. Although by law all employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits, not all employers do—and there are a range of penalties that an uninsured employer may face when an employee files a claim.
California state law compels all employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits to injured employees under Labor Code Section 3700. The only exception to this rule is where the sole employee is the same person as the employer (i.e., a self-employed person). Even small family businesses are legally required to offer workers’ compensation benefits to any employee who is injured on the job. One might think that a relative would be unlikely to sue in the event of an on-the-job injury, but this is not always the case—and even if it is, it remains unlawful to not offer these benefits.
The laws governing workers’ compensation are strict, and the penalties can be quite severe for the uninsured employer. The California Labor Code treats failure to offer workers’ compensation as a misdemeanor criminal offense, meaning that employers who break this law could face up to one year in jail (and a fine of at least $10,000 dollars on top of that). Furthermore, employers who are not insured could face an additional financial penalty of $10,000 dollars per employee up to a total of $100,000 dollars in fines. These large fines can be ruinous for small businesses, leading to bankruptcy and dissolution of the enterprise.
There are options for uninsured employers, and we can help you learn more about the right path to take for your business. You can purchase workers’ compensation insurance through an insurance carrier, which guarantees coverage in the event of an employee filing a claim. However, premiums for carrier-provided insurance can be steep and this option is not always the wisest course of action for smaller businesses. Another option is self-insuring. Some companies pool resources together when they take the self-insured route so that the burden of paying out benefits is shared among several employers rather than only being shouldered by a single business.
If you are concerned about uninsured employers penalties in Long Beach, the attorneys at Sacks & Zolonz, LLP can help you get better informed. We are experts in handling workers’ compensation defense issues, and we can offer legal guidance to uninsured employers. We have extensive experience in workers’ compensation defense, and we have a track record of helping our clients avoid major penalties for being uninsured. Call us today for a consultation.