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Go to Jail - States Get Tough on Employers Who Do Not Have Workers' Comp. Insurance

Over a dozen employers were told to come to a hearing on May 22, 2012, and pay workers' compensation claims or go to jail. The state agency is mandating that these employers settle claims in which injured workers are not receiving benefits.

An investigation revealed tens of thousands of employers in the state do not have insurance for their employees despite state law requirements that they carry coverage. According to a law firm based in the state, employers with three or more workers must carry workers' compensation insurance.

According to Work Comp News, more than four million employees suffer from work-related injuries or illness every year. More than two million workers suffer injuries that are so severe that they miss work or require subsequent health care. "North Carolina To Employers: Pay For Worker Injuries Or Go To Jail," www.huffingtonpost.com (Apr. 19, 2012).

Commentary

Workers' compensation insurance provides coverage for employees who suffer injuries or illness from job-related duties. Protection generally includes medical and rehabilitation costs, as well as lost income for the injured employee.

State laws require most employers to provide some form of workers' compensation insurance. As shown in the source article, employers in some states are subject to criminal penalties for failure to provide such insurance.

Click on the Related Link below to find your state's workers' compensation laws.

State laws also prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim. This is a serious risk for employers because, although employers may fear the cost of workers' compensation claims, the cost of defending retaliation claims and the resulting damage awards can far exceed the risks associated with workers' compensation payments.

Employers should take every precaution to prevent retaliation against those who report on-the-job injuries. One of the best means for preventing retaliation claims is to provide employees the name and phone number of an officer in your organization or a third-party who will accept their calls and intervene on the employee's behalf. This officer acts as an ombudsman to help employers and employees resolve workers' compensation issues internally.

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