Most companies in Pennsylvania have an obligation to carry workers’ compensation to protect their employees from financial devastation and the business itself from liability. Particularly if you work in a dangerous profession, you may have simply assumed that workers’ compensation would be there if you ever got hurt on the job.
Unfortunately, hundreds of workers every year will go through the jarring experience of realizing their employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance after they have already suffered an injury. If you are among this pool of individuals, you may feel like the system and your employer have failed you when you needed help the most.
The good news is that there are still options available to help protect you from the financial impact of a work injury.
Pennsylvania has a program for workers with uninsured employers
While workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory for any company with even one employee or a business that only hires family members, the state has also acknowledged the risk of employers violating the law and failing to meet their workers’ compensation insurance obligations.
The Pennsylvania Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund (UEGF) is a relatively new system that provides financial resources for injured workers whose employers do not have workers’ compensation coverage. Much like with workers’ compensation, you will have to formally apply to receive benefits from the UEGF. The process can be complex and difficult, and there are many limitations. However, as flawed as the UEGF may be, it is better than leaving all those injured workers with no recourse.
In some cases, a civil lawsuit might be necessary
When compensation from the UEGF isn’t available to you or when there are unusual circumstances around your injury, a lawsuit might be a viable solution. In some cases, such as where your employer violated safety or employment standards, taking action against your employer may become necessary. Other times, there could be a third party with liability for your injuries, such as the manufacturer of a defective component that failed and resulted in a workplace accident.
Talking about your injury and the circumstances that led to it with a lawyer can give you a better idea about what compensation options might be available to you.