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What if my employer does not have Workers Compensation Insurance?

by Steve Fields | May 19th, 2017

According to Minnesota law, employers in Minnesota are generally required to carry workers compensation insurance. However, as with most things, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Some types of employers and types of employment are excluded from the requirement to carry workers compensation insurance.

Employers or employment excluded from carrying workers compensation insurance may include the following:

  • Family farm employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Household workers
  • Limited liability companies
  • Closely held corporations
  • Nonprofit associations

The Minnesota Special Compensation Fund

If your employer does not fall within one of the excluded employment categories, but is uninsured for workers compensation, you may be entitled to receive workers compensation benefits from the Minnesota Special Compensation Fund.

Upon an employee’s request, if a compensation judge determines that the employer is liable for the employee’s injuries, the Special Compensation Fund may pay all benefits due to the employee under the Workers Compensation Act. The Special Compensation Fund may receive reimbursement from the employer for all benefits paid to the injured employee, plus a penalty payment from the employer who neglected to carry workers compensation insurance.

Client Success Story

A woman who worked as a housekeeper for a wealthy and prominent family injured her back and shoulder when she fell down a set of stairs one morning. The woman was at the home by herself and had to call 911 for assistance. She remained out of work for a significant period of time due to her injuries.

Unfortunately, her relationship with the homeowners (aka her employer), became very sour shortly after her injury because as it turned out, based on the amount of money the family paid the woman to be their housekeeper, the family should have carried workers compensation insurance to cover an instance like this. Regrettably, the family did not have workers compensation insurance.

Where an employer fails to carry workers compensation insurance, a state agency called the Special Compensation Fund steps in to pay an injured employee workers compensation benefits. The woman did not know any of this. She turned to Fields Law Firm for advice and guidance. We notified the Special Compensation Fund of her injuries and the Fund began paying her wage loss and medical benefits.

After more than one year of being out of work, it became clear that the woman would not be able to return to work as a housekeeper. Fields Law Firm was able to reach a settlement agreement with the Special Compensation Fund for the future wage loss benefits that the woman will incur because of her inability to return to work making as much money as she was when she was injured.

Now the Special Compensation Fund has the opportunity to make a claim against the uninsured employer for the money that the Fund paid out. However, the woman does not have to worry about that part of the claim at all.

Excluded Employment

If you are injured while working in one of the excluded employment categories where employers are not required to carry workers compensation insurance, you should check with your employer to see whether the employer has elected to obtain workers compensation insurance. If your excluded employer has not elected workers compensation insurance, you will not be able to pursue a workers compensation claim under the Minnesota Workers Compensation Act.

In this unfortunate situation, you may have to rely on your personal health insurance for medical treatment, and coverage will depend on the type of health insurance plan you carry. However, in some circumstances, there may be other insurance coverage that can provide compensation for injuries, such as Long Term Disability and Social Security Disability.

Whether you are able to pursue a claim for benefits after getting hurt while working for a company that does not carry workers compensation insurance will depend on the circumstances in which you were employed, how your injuries occurred, other insurance that may be available, and the financial health of your employer.

If you were hurt at work and your employer dos not carry workers compensation insurance, contact Fields Law Firm. Our Minnesota Work Comp Attorneys would be happy to investigate your options to ensure you get the benefits you deserve!