State laws require employers to self-insure or carry coverage for job-related accidents and illnesses affecting employees. Every New Jersey employer and some out-of-state employers must have some form of workers’ compensation coverage. Employees hurt at work are not left without options when employers break these rules.
Injured employees can receive New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits, despite the shortcomings of employers. The Uninsured Employer’s Fund was set up to provide benefits to injured workers in this situation. Benefits aren’t automatic – workers must report the employer’s lack of coverage to the state.
Claims under the Uninsured Employer’s Fund are filed with the Office of Special Compensation Funds. The employer’s information is fed into a database and cross-matched with the Compensation Rating & Inspection Bureau. The comparison reveals whether the employer has workers’ compensation insurance.
Verification that the employer is not insured pushes the case to a date in court. A UEF lawyer is appointed. Employers guilty of non-compliance suffer serious penalties.
A failing to insure determination is considered to be a disorderly person’s offense. An employer may be fined $5,000 for every 10-day period of non-coverage. Corporate officers can be held liable individually for penalties, benefits for injured workers and civil claims.
An Order of the Judge of Compensation outlines the benefits an injured worker may receive from the Uninsured Employers Fund. UEF benefits cover medical expenses and temporary disability. Benefits begin following the submission of an application by the injured party’s lawyer.
Granted, these are added steps other injured employees don’t have to take. Going through this alone can be difficult for someone trying to recover from injuries or other health conditions. You have plenty to worry about without legal complications.
A workers’ compensation attorney can serve as guide to the UEF process and respond to your questions. In addition, a lawyer can help you pursue civil claims for compensation, when they are applicable.
Source: State of New Jersey: Department of Labor and Workforce Development, “Office of Special Compensation Funds” Nov. 26, 2014