What Happens When You Are Injured at Work and There is No Comp Coverage?
Your employer could be in serious trouble if they do not have a policy of workers’ compensation insurance in Mississippi. First, when does an employer have to have workers’ comp coverage? Generally, an employer must secure workers’ comp insurance if it has five or more regular employees. There are a few legal exemptions where an employer does not have to have comp coverage even if they have five or more employees. Nonprofit charitable, fraternal, cultural, and religious corporations or associations are exempt from having to provide coverage. Also, farmers do not have to provide coverage in Mississippi.
What if your employer is not exempt and does not have proper workers’ compensation insurance when an injury occurs? First, the head officers of the business could be personally liable. This means an injured worker could hit the owners of the business right in their own pocket. Also, there are criminal statutes that could impose fines on the corporate officers up to $1,000 and sentence them to up to a year in jail. In addition to the above, the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission could penalize the employer up to $10,000.
But wait, there is more. The injured worker is allowed to pursue their rights under the workers’ compensation system or through the regular civil courts. Additionally, the employer is not allowed to raise any of the standard defenses in court that are normally acceptable in a comp case. Basically, the punishment is that the worker has a much easier time proving the case and getting benefits and cash awards.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill