Employers in California must provide workers’ compensation coverage to all of their employees (Labor Code § 3700). There are serious legal consequences for the failure to do so. This raises an important question: Can an uninsured employer be sued by an injured worker in California? The answer is a clear and resounding ‘yes’—uninsured employers are not protected by workers’ compensation’s exclusive remedy provision. In this article, our Salinas workers’ compensation attorney explains the key things uninsured employers in California need to know about the risk of being sued by an injured employee.
Uninsured Employers Can Be Sued By an Injured Worker in California (Major Liability Risk)
All companies that hire workers in California are legally required to obtain and maintain adequate workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If they fail to do so, they face several different sanctions. Uninsured employers also lose out on the benefits offered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a bargain. An injured worker has the right to file for no-fault benefits after an accident. In exchange, they cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer.
In other words, an uninsured employer in California could face a personal injury lawsuit from any employee who is hurt on the job. Through a fault-based personal injury lawsuit, the injured worker has the right to seek compensation for the full extent of their damages, including non-economic losses such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. The liability in a personal injury claim could be substantial.
Uninsured Employers in California Face Many Other Potential Penalties
A personal injury claim for an employee is just one of several risks that an uninsured employer faces in California. An uninsured employer could face other sanctions even if they are not found liable for an accident. Other penalties that could face an unlawfully uninsured employer in California include:
- A civil fine of up to $10,000.00 per each uninsured employee;
- A requirement to pay double workers’ compensation for the next three years;
- A court order to stop business operations until workers’ compensation insurance is obtained; and
- The criminal prosecution of the business owner.
Employers in California need to protect themselves by obtaining the proper workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If you are at risk of being held liable as an uninsured employer, it is imperative that you consult with a workers’ compensation defense lawyer who has experience handling complex uninsured employer claims. An attorney will help you find the best resolution.
Contact Our Salinas Uninsured Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney for Help
At Yrulegui & Roberts, we work tirelessly to protect the rights and interests of our clients. We have extensive experience handling the full spectrum of uninsured employer claims. Give us a phone call now or connect with us online to set up your completely private initial case review. With a law office in Salinas, our attorneys provide workers’ compensation defense services in Monterey County and all around the surrounding areas in Northern California and Central California.