Workers’ Compensation: When It’s Mandatory and What Happens When the Law Gets Violated


As a workers’ compensation lawyer in NY from a firm like Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP can explain, most businesses are required to carry workers’ compensation. Here is a quick guide to when companies must carry this form of insurance, the penalties they may suffer for failing to follow the law, and how to fight those that lack coverage for their workers.

Which Companies Must Carry Workers’ Compensation

Commercial enterprises of every stripe with certain numbers of employees are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. The threshold for how many that is varies by state. The majority must have workers’ comp as soon as they hire just one person. In other areas, ventures with fewer than five employees remain exempt. Because the rules vary, business owners are urged to check the law to make sure they are being compliant. Violations are a serious matter, and charges of fraud may be issued.

Penalties for Companies Not Carrying Workers’ Compensation

Businesses that do not purchase workers’ compensation insurance risk harsh repercussions. Besides hefty fines, violators can be imprisoned. Here are some examples of the penalties they might face.

  • New Jersey: $10,000, and imprisonment of up to 18 months
  • California: Fines between $10,000 and $100,000, and prison as long as 18 months
  • Pennsylvania: $15,000, and incarceration for up to seven years

In Illinois, not carrying workers’ comp is classified as a misdemeanor, but it could be considered a felony if there is evidence that breaking the law was intentional.

Fighting Companies That Do Not Carry Workers’ Compensation

If you are hurt on the job and your employer does not offer workers’ comp, you’ll need to take additional steps to get what you deserve. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney in these instances is highly recommended. For starters, filing a claim directly with the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund will be necessary. A personal injury attorney can help with this matter.

By waging a personal injury lawsuit, you also stand to gain much more than you would when making a workers’ comp claim. For starters, there is no cap on the amount of money you may demand. Further, you might be able to collect for pain and suffering. Asking for punitive damages is an effective way of putting pressure on a defendant. Experienced attorneys are particularly helpful with filing these sensitive lawsuits.

You deserve to be paid for being hurt on the job, even when your employer does not carry workers’ comp. If your boss lacks mandatory coverage at the time of your injury, contact a knowledgeable attorney to take action on your behalf.