Every business which hires employees in California, no matter if even a single employee hired on a temporary basis, is required to carry a worker’s compensation insurance policy from an authorized insurer. Conducting business without the necessary policy is illegal in the state of California, but it is still something that some businesses will try to do while hoping that none of their employees are injured on the job.
The problem with being employed by a business which is illegally operating without worker’s compensation coverage is that most employees won’t even realize that they are working for an uninsured business until after they experience a work related injury and try to get the benefits that they are owed. While an injury on company time can uncover the illegally operating business and be bad news for the owners / operators of the business, there is good news for employees who are injured while working for the uninsured.
To make sure that employees who work for uninsured businesses don’t lose out on the worker’s compensation benefits that they are owed if they are ever injured on the job, California’s worker’s compensation system established the Uninsured Employer’s Benefit Trust Fund, which is a special unit of the Division of Worker’s Compensation that will pay worker’s compensation benefits when employees are injured while working for an uninsured business. The division also pursues reimbursement for the benefits paid from the employer who was operating without worker’s compensation coverage when the accident or illness that caused an employee’s injury occurred.
Just because the state will pay worker’s compensation benefits when the uninsured status of an employer is uncovered, it does not mean that the process of recovering the benefits owed will be any easier. Normally after an on the job injury is sustained, the injured victim would file a claim for compensation through the employer’s insurance carrier, and then repeal any negative decisions through the state. Since an uninsured business has no insurance carrier, the injured victim is required to file a claim through the Uninsured Employer’s Benefit Trust Fund if he or she wants worker’s compensation benefits. Negative decisions from the Trust Fund are also appealed through the state.
If a person has already filed for and been denied for benefits from the Uninsured Employer’s Benefit Trust Fund, the person may still have a good chance at recovering the compensation owed. In many cases, the reason for a denial of benefits is because the person injured filled out the paperwork wrong or failed to submit the appropriate kind of evidence in support of a claim. Since reviewers don’t follow up with applicants directly to address discrepancies before an application is denied, applicants are required to go through the appeals process if they want to continue their pursuit of benefits after an initial denial.
While this might seem like a hassle, an experienced benefits attorney can help the injured worker every step of the way. The attorney can review a person’s prior claim to find out if it was in fact an application error that caused the denial and, if so, can help the person file an appeal with all the proper and necessary paperwork included.