It's difficult to fathom that an employer in New York, required to have workers' compensation insurance, would choose to not carry it. Yet, some employers don’t have coverage.
Fortunately, if you get hurt on the job and then find that your company doesn't have the necessary insurance, there are still ways for you to seek recovery of the costs associated with the medical care you receive and wage loss suffered.
The cost of going without
One of the main reasons why it's hard to imagine an employer not fulfilling his or her obligation to employees is that the potential expense of doing without it is so high. An employer’s failure to secure coverage is a misdemeanor in New York, with fines between $1,000 and $50,000, or imprisonment for one year, or both.
In addition to the criminal misdemeanor, the workers’ compensation law requires uninsured employers to pay penalties for failure to secure coverage. For every 10-day period an employer is found to be without appropriate coverage, the New York Workers' Compensation Board may assess fines between $1,000 and $2,000 per 10-day period.
If you suffer a work injury and there is no coverage in place, you still have a right to file a workers' compensation claim, and experts agree you should. You can get the care you need and seek disability benefits if they are needed. If no policy is in force, the Board's Uninsured Employers Fund is in the position to resolve the matter.
In addition to fines, the Board can hold the employer liable for the compensation and any additional award the Board might choose to impose.
The thing workers need to know and keep in mind is that coverage under the no-fault concept of workers' compensation is available by making a claim.
To be sure it's done properly and pursued diligently, work with an attorney you trust.