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My employer doesn't have workers' compensation: What now?

New Jersey workers should always check to see if their employer has workers' compensation insurance. If you get hurt on the job, and find out later that your employer isn't insured, you could have trouble getting money to pay for your medical care.

This article will cover some important details about employers, their workers' compensation requirements and what you should do if you get hurt while working for an uninsured employer.

Employers in New Jersey need to be insured

State law in New Jersey dictates that employers have either workers' compensation insurance or an approved self-insurance plan. Employers must display their proof of workers' compensation insurance in an area where workers can easily see it. In addition to looking at this proof of insurance, workers might want to double-check with the Compensation Rating & Inspection Bureau to ensure that their employer's insurance is current and up-to-date.

What about domestic employees?

Domestic employees, like cleaning personnel, will receive workers' compensation coverage through the homeowners' insurance policy of the person who owns the home.

Penalties for not having workers' compensation insurance

When an employer does not have workers' compensation insurance, the employer might be subject to fines and penalties. Specifically, the failure to offer the insurance that is required will result in a disorderly persons' offense. If the offense was intentional or willful, then the crime elevates to a fourth-degree offense.

Monetary penalties are $5,000 for the first 20 days of not having insurance and $5,000 for any subsequent 10-day period. The court will docket these penalties as a lien on the employer. They are processed in Superior Court. If the employer does not pay the fines, then the court will seize company property appropriately.

What should you do if your employer is not insured?

In the event that you discover your employer is uninsured, you should immediately contact the New Jersey Office of Special Compensation Funds. You might also want to file a "Report of Non-Compliance" form. These reports can be made without identifying yourself. All you'll have to provide is the name and address of your employer -- as well as the names of the owners and operators of the company. If you get hurt and discover your employer doesn't have insurance, you may want to learn more about your legal rights and options.

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