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What next your employer fails to get workers’ compensation coverage

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One frequent issue we run into at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook is employers who fail to maintain Workers’ Compensation Insurance. While this does create difficulty, it is not the end of the road for an injured worker’s quest for compensation. When an employer fails to maintain insurance coverage for injured workers, there are several options our lawyers can help with.

If an employer has three or more employees in Arkansas they must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance or be self-insured. There are a few exceptions to this rule, those include agricultural employers and non for profits. But generally, an employer must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage for their employees or they face serious consequences. Said consequences include fines and civil penalties.

Pertinent Arkansas law reads:

(b)(1) However, if an employer fails to secure the payment of compensation as required by this chapter, an injured employee, or his or her legal representative in case death results from the injury, may, at his option, elect to claim compensation under this chapter or to maintain a legal action in court for damages on account of the injury or death.

(2) In such action it shall not be necessary to plead or prove freedom from contributory negligence, nor may the defendant-employer plead as a defense that the injury was caused by the negligence of a fellow servant, that the employee assumed the risk of his or her employment, or that the injury was due to the contributory negligence of the employee.

Source: A.C.A. § 11-9-105

When an employer fails to maintain Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage they may face civil liability in a Circuit Court in Arkansas. Normally, the Workers’ Compensation Commission has the exclusive right to award benefits in relation to a workplace injury. If a Claimant is able to sue in Circuit Court, they may be eligible for damages like pain and suffering and mental anguish. This further allows injured employees a right to jury trial for them to determine the extent of their injuries and the damages they are owed.

An injured employee has other options for recovery when their employer lacks Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage which are not outlined in this blog. These options will be discussed in follow-up blogs. For questions about your claim and what can be done regarding your employer’s lack of Workers’ Compensation coverage please reach out to our attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook for a free consultation.