What If My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Comp. Insurance in Massachusetts
Workers’ compensation is a system used to pay money to injured employees and workers who were harmed in work-related accidents. Employees often need time away from work to recover from their injuries, which means they may lose wages. Lost wages combined with expensive medical bills make for a disastrous outcome. Workers’ compensation awards are not paid for by employers but by insurance companies. Employers are required by law to carry this type of insurance or else suffer legal consequences.
Sometimes employers may think that they do not need workers’ compensation insurance because their work environment is safe or they have never encountered a work-related accident. It does not matter what kind of business you have or what type of work your employees do. All employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, if an employer falls behind on insurance payments or willfully neglects to obtain insurance, they may face civil and criminal penalties.
If you are an employee and your employer has failed to pay for workers’ compensation insurance, perhaps by mistake or perhaps not, you should speak to our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.
Failing to Pay Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Massachusetts
The failure to pay for workers’ compensation insurance in Massachusetts may be met with criminal and civil penalties. Together, these penalties can be very expensive and may prove more costly than simply paying for insurance. If your employer has failed to maintain any workers’ compensation insurance, our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys can help you get compensation for your damages from your boss.
Criminal penalties may be assessed against an employer who fails to pay for workers’ compensation insurance. These penalties include a fine of up to $1,500 and a jail term of up to one year. You could also be hit with criminal fraud charges depending on your circumstances. You may be notified multiple times of your failure to pay for workers’ compensation insurance. Each notification could constitute a separate violation that will come with separate fines and penalties.
Civil penalties include a work stop order that will prevent you from carrying on any business until you obtain the necessary insurance. You may also lose licenses or permits required to conduct business and be made to pay civil fines and fees.
There are also collateral consequences for failure to pay for workers’ compensation insurance. Workers who know there is no safety net for when they get hurt suffer from added stress and lower morale. If an employee is injured on the job, they may have no other option than to file a personal lawsuit against you. Ordinarily, this would be barred because workers’ compensation is the required recourse for work-related injuries. Without the right insurance, employees are placed at risk and employers lose protection against legal action. Contact our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys for help.
Employers’ Options for Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Massachusetts
Massachusetts law requires that employers have workers’ compensation insurance. The law also requires employees to file for workers’ compensation for most on-the-job injuries. Private lawsuits against employers are prohibited in the majority of circumstances. Without workers’ compensation insurance, neither party is protected, and employees may go after their bosses for compensation. Our Wakefield workers’ compensation lawyers will help you obtain the compensation you need.
If employers do not pay for this insurance, they run afoul of the law and open themselves up to litigation from employees. Without workers’ compensation, employees may have no other means of getting compensation and will have to sue. Compared to workers’ compensation cases, personal lawsuits can be far more costly to employers. Unlike workers’ compensation, a personal injury lawsuit may consider things like pain and suffering and punitive damages, which can be extremely high. Worker’s compensation is required for the protection of all parties.
Stop Work Orders for Failure to Provide Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts
Employers may be ordered to stop all work and cease business operations if they do not provide employees with workers’ compensation. The only way to lift the order is to comply with workers’ compensation legal requirements. This means you must obtain insurance and pay civil penalties of $100 per day that the work order is imposed. This includes the day the order was imposed and the day the penalty is paid. The longer you wait to get insurance, the more fines you will have to pay.
If your employer tries to continue working while the order is in place, the police may intervene. Dealing with the increasing fines can become increasingly difficult as the business is not operational and not making money. Your employer must also pay employees for the first 10 days of the order. If your boss disagrees with the stop-work order, they have 10 days from its imposition to file an appeal. While the appeal is pending, the order is suspended, and you may have to resume work activities. If your boss is found to be in compliance, the order and fees are rescinded. Our Somerville workers’ compensation lawyers can help you file a stop-work order and put pressure on your employer to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.
Risk to Business Licenses and Permits for Not Paying for Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Massachusetts
According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 152 § 25C(6), failure to pay for workers’ compensation insurance may jeopardize your employer’s licenses and permits necessary for their business. Many businesses are required to have specific licenses or permits to conduct their business. For example, liquor stores and restaurants must have liquor licenses. Construction companies must secure building permits.
If your boss does not have workers’ compensation insurance, state and local agencies in charge of issuing licenses and permits for businesses must withhold the issuance or renewal of a license or permit for non-compliant employers. This can really set a business back even if your boss takes steps to become compliant, as some permits take time to acquire or replace. Our Cambridge workers’ compensation attorneys can help you get compensation from your employer.
Call Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for a Consultation
If you are an employee whose employer has failed to pay for workers’ compensation insurance, please call our Malden workers’ compensation lawyers right away. Our team can help you get the compensation you need. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.