The workers’ compensation system was established to provide benefits to people who are temporarily or permanently unable to work as a result of a work-related injury. The benefits are not paid directly by the employer, but rather the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. But, what happens if you are injured and your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance?
Are Employers Required to Obtain Coverage?
Most employers are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance that covers their employees. However, there are a few exceptions. Employers are not required to secure coverage for independent contractors, for example. Sole proprietors are not required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for themselves, either. Certain small businesses and agricultural or horticultural businesses are also not obligated to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. But, the vast majority of employers in Oklahoma should have coverage.
What Happens If an Employer is Not Covered?
If you are injured and your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, seek legal representation as soon as possible. Since you cannot file a workers’ compensation claim, the law gives workers in this situation the right to file a personal injury claim against their employer instead. This means injured workers can still recover compensation for their injuries, but the process of recovering the compensation is much different.
Injured workers who file personal injury claims may receive compensation for their current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Although there are limits on how much compensation victims can recover in the workers’ compensation system, these limits do not apply in personal injury cases.
This legal battle is not the only consequence that employers will face for failing to secure the legally required coverage. These employers may also be ordered to pay substantial fines of up to $1,000 per day. If an employer is reported for not having coverage on more than two occasions, the Workers’ Compensation Commission can also order the employer to stop all business operations until coverage has been secured. These penalties are severe, which is why most employers wisely choose to secure coverage instead of facing these consequences.
Have you been injured at work? If so, contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our team make the process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits as stress-free as possible so you can focus solely on recovering from your injuries. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.