As discussed in a previous post, employers sometimes attempt to prevent injured employees from filing workers’ compensation claims by denying that they have insurance coverage. Since businesses have begun re-opening, we have seen an unfortunate increase in calls from injured workers with questions about how they can secure the workers compensation benefits to which they are entitled by California law when the employer says there is no insurance.
At the Law Offices of Marc Francis, we are Santa Rosa-based experts in work injury and workers’ compensation law. We can determine whether your employer has workers compensation insurance and, if not, discuss the alternatives that may be available to you.
Sometimes small employers tell an injured employee that there is no workers‘ compensation insurance, in hopes that the injured worker will not file a claim for benefits. This enables the employer to avoid reporting the injury to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier because claims may result in an increase in the employer’s insurance costs.
We have experience with situations where such employers instead direct their injured employee to the employer’s ‘friendly chiropractor’ who may describe the injury and its effects in a way that minimizes the nature and extent of the injury, resulting in delays or denials of needed medical treatment or disability benefits. In some cases, we have even seen the ‘friendly chiropractor’ deny that the injury happened on the job. These situations can raise a myriad of other legal issues.
In most cases the employer does have workers’ compensation insurance. We can assist you by investigating the employer’s insurance coverage and identifying the appropriate insurance carrier so that a claim for benefits can be made in order to initiate the process of securing your medical treatment and disability benefits.
However, if the employer was uninsured for workers’ compensation at the time of your work injury there are at least two other possible remedies available.
The Uninsured Employers Benefit Trust Fund (UEBTF), an entity of the State of California, will investigate the claim, and if the required workers compensation insurance was not obtained by the employer for a valid claim, UEBTF will typically step in and provide workers’ compensation benefits. After which they will proceed against the uninsured employer in order to recover those costs on behalf of California taxpayers. The UEBTF process can be lengthy and complicated depending on the particular facts of the case. We will discuss your case with you to help determine how best to proceed.
A second remedy that may be available when your employer has unlawfully failed to secure required workers compensation insurance coverage is a personal injury lawsuit. Under state law, most personal injury lawsuits against your employer for a work injury are barred when the employer has workers compensation insurance. However, when they don’t have coverage, they may be liable for damages in civil court. Recoveries in such cases can be quite substantial depending upon the facts in your particular matter. We can assist you with referrals to personal injury attorneys in appropriate cases in order to maximize your recovery.
If you need medical treatment and/or disability benefits because of a work injury and your employer tells you they have no workers compensation insurance. Contact the Law Offices of Marc Francis at (707) 664-9675 for a free consultation.