Working Without Workers’ Compensation Insurance

I’ve been hurt at work and my employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance.

I’ve been hurt while working under the table and my employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance to cover me.

Let’s not ignore reality.  It should come as no surprise that there are employers who don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, even though it’s required by law.  So what happens to an employee who is hurt while working for an uninsured employer?  The worker can still be protected.

Our legislature has worked to encourage business in Connecticut, in part by reducing or limiting benefits paid to injured workers.  Nevertheless, workers’ compensation insurance is not cheap.

Sadly, there are employers who choose to violate the law and save the cost of compensation insurance premiums.  Because their overhead costs are lower, these employers can then underbid responsible businesses that meet their obligations to their employees.  Legitimate businesses want the State to make sure everyone follows the same rules and competes fairly.  The State takes this job seriously.

If you are hurt while an employee of an employer that has no workers’ compensation insurance-even if you’re working “off the books”-the law makes sure your employer pays the compensation benefits to which you are entitled.

An employer without workers’ compensation insurance has two choices:  it either pays all of your benefits as if it were “self-insured” or it passes its obligations on to the State.

The process gets a bit complicated, and you have to prove your work injury, time lost, medical bills and any permanent injury in a “formal hearing” (workers’ compensation trial) in front of a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.  But when you show Commissioner what you should have received from your uninsured employer, the State takes on the responsibility to pay what you are owed.

The State then takes harsh action against your employer to get its money back.  That action includes fines and jail in addition to recovering what it is owed.  The State does not hesitate to act-all to your advantage.

Some of Connecticut’s largest employers are “self-insured” and do not rely on an insurance company to provide workers’ compensation benefits.  These employers are not the focus of this article.

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