The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) explains that all employers in California “are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance, even if they have only one employee.” A workers’ compensation claim is generally the sole remedy that an injured worker has against their own employer for a work-related accident.
However, if an employer fails to obtain the proper workers’ compensation coverage, it can be sued by an injured worker. A Special Notice of Lawsuit (SNOL) initiates this type of work injury claim against an employer. Here, our Bakersfield workers’ compensation defense lawyers highlight key things that employers need to know if they have received a Special Notice of Lawsuit.
1. A Special Notice of Lawsuit Means You are Being Sued as an ‘Uninsured Employer’
Receiving a Special Notice of Lawsuit (SNOL) should never be taken lightly. It means that your company has been named as an uninsured employer in a workers’ compensation claim in California. An SNOL should list the name of the former or current employee who is claiming that they were hurt on the job while working for your company and that your company lacked workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
2. An Employee is Trying to Use the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF)
A SNOL also indicates an employee is seeking compensation from the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF). In California, the UEBTF is a state fund used to pay workers’ compensation benefits to employees whose employers were uninsured at the time of their injury. The fund will seek reimbursement from the uninsured employer for any benefits paid out. When a claim is filed against the UEBTF by an individual worker, a comprehensive investigation of the matter will begin.
3. Your Company Could Face Additional Sanctions if Found Liable and/or Uninsured
An uninsured employer can be on the hook for an injured worker’s claim. Beyond that, uninsured employers face other serious liability risks. In addition to civil damages for the affected employee and repayment of funds paid out by the UEBTF, an uninsured employer may also face a workers’ compensation surcharge, fines for regulators, and even criminal charges against the business owner.
4. You Have a Right Raise a Defense (Never Ignore an SNOL)
Ignoring an SNOL is a big mistake—even if you are confident that the uninsured employer claim is not justified. Employers in California have the right to raise a defense against an uninsured employer claim. Consult with a workers’ compensation defense attorney who can review the SNOL, assess the case, explain your potential liability risk, and help you determine the best strategy for protecting your rights and your interests.
Speak to a California Uninsured Employer Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense lawyer has deep experience handling complex uninsured employer claims. If your company just got a Special Notice of Lawsuit, we are here to help you determine the best course of action. Give us a phone call now or contact us online for a fully confidential initial case evaluation. With an office in Bakersfield and offices in Fresno and Sacramento, we defend uninsured employer claims throughout the region.