California mandates that employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Uninsured employers face serious liability risks. Among other things, an uninsured California employer may face civil liability through a personal injury lawsuit, financial sanctions from the state, and even criminal penalties.
As a general rule, an uninsured employers’ workers’ compensation claim starts with the filing of something called a Special Notice of Lawsuit (SNOL). If your company has received one, the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF) will likely be joined as a party to the case. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense attorneys explain what you should know about the UEBTF.
California Maintains a Statewide Fund for Uninsured Employer Claims
Workers’ compensation insurance exists to ensure that injured employees have somewhere to turn for medical coverage and wage loss support if they are hurt on the job. The Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF) is a specialized state fund for the benefit of injured workers employed by an uninsured employer. As explained by the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), an injured worker can make a claim for benefits through the UEBTF if their unlawfully uninsured employer fails to pay their workers’ compensation benefits.
Uninsured Workers’ Compensation Claims Start With a Special Notice of Lawsuit (SNOL)
Under California law, an injured worker cannot simply make an immediate and direct claim for benefits from the state’s Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund. Instead, there are certain steps that an employee must take before they are eligible to make a UEBTF claim. One of the most important initial steps is filing a document called a Special Notice of Lawsuit or SNOL. If you received a SNOL it generally means that someone is claiming the following three things:
- Employee status;
- Unlawful lack of workers’ compensation coverage; and
- A job-related injury or occupational disease.
In California, a claimant must serve their (alleged) uninsured employer with a Special Notice of Lawsuit before they can join the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund as a party in the legal case. Once the UEBTF joins the case, they may decide to pay benefits to the injured worker. If they do, the fund can and will take action against the uninsured employer. Indeed, the UEBTF will usually take swift action to try to recover any money paid from the uninsured employer. Among other things, this includes placing liens on property.
Take Immediate Action After Receiving a Special Notice of Lawsuit
If you or your company received a SNOL from someone who is alleging that they were injured as an employee, you need to take action to protect your rights. They are likely attempting to join the UEBTF as a party in the case. A workers’ compensation defense lawyer with experience handling uninsured employer claims will protect your rights and interests.
Get Help From an Uninsured Employer Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense lawyers are results-oriented advocates for clients. If you have concerns about the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF), we are available to provide guidance and support. Call us now or send us a message online for a strictly confidential initial legal consultation. Our workers’ compensation defense firm advocates for clients throughout Central California, including in Fresno County, Kern County, Sacramento County, Tulare County, Madera County, and Merced County.