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Potential penalties for lack of workers’ compensation insurance

Perhaps your business operation requires your employees to lift heavy objects, control dangerous machinery or work with hazardous chemicals. Or perhaps your business involves working with ill patients, walking on slippery floors or dealing with violent individuals. In any type of business, New York state law requires that all employers must purchase and carry workers’ compensation insurance.

In case an employee faces injury on the job, not only do you want to provide compensation through insurance for that individual, but you also want to avoid serious criminal charges for lack of insurance. Your business could face lawsuits from employees, a lowered reputation and significant fines. To protect your business from workers’ compensation disputes, you want to follow New York law and purchase insurance.

Workers’ compensation insurance alleviating injury

Should one of your employees become injured at work, whether the injury occurred due to negligence of another worker or operation of a machine, your business may need to compensate your employee for their injury costs. Workers’ compensation insurance works to alleviate the following expenses of your employees' injuries:

  1. Medical costs
  2. Hospital visits
  3. Physical therapy
  4. Medication
  5. Loss of work income

The odds of an employee being injured at work increase in positions in construction and businesses that operate heavy machinery. Although workers’ compensation claims generally affect these types of businesses, it is essential that all required employers purchase insurance.

The legal implications of not having insurance

New York state may hold individuals responsible if a court discovers that your business does not have workers’ compensation insurance. Even a business’s president, treasurer or business partners can face penalties. To avoid charges, you may be required to prove that your business:

  • Holds an insurance policy
  • Is self-insured
  • Is exempt from coverage
  • Keeps accurate business records

If you cannot show proof of insurance before or after an employee is injured on the job, a court may subject you to a misdemeanor charge. If the court finds that your business does not provide compensation insurance for five or less employees, you may receive:

  • A fine of $1,000 to $5,000

If you do not hold insurance for more than five employees, you may receive a Class E felony conviction and:

  • A fine of $5,000 to $50,000

To avoid the detrimental effects that criminal penalties has on a business, you want to simply protect your workers by purchasing compensation insurance. If you or your business faces charges for failure to secure coverage, you want to hire an experienced attorney that works diligently to protect businesses from workers’ compensation dispute claims.

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