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Suffering from an on-the-job related injury and going through the workers' compensation claim process can be a stressful enough process within itself. But what if your employer has either no or improper workers' compensation coverage? That is one less worry for you to deal with because you can still receive workers' compensation benefits whether or not your employer has coverage. Your benefits will be covered by the Uninsured Employer's Fund (UEF) which is created by the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission. If an employer does not have workers' compensation coverage then the Commission is responsible for seeking action against the employer.

Employers Are Required by Law to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Before filing a claim, always call the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission to verify that the employer does not offer any type of coverage. In Virginia, an employer is required to have workers’ compensation coverage if he employs two or more employees. This includes all types of employees (full-time, part-time, seasonal, etc.) The only exception to this rule is if a company has less than two employees and if the employee is a sole proprietor, partner, or an LLC member. If an employer does not have coverage, then he will be charged a civil penalty of up to $250 per day uninsured up to a $50,000 penalty, plus collection costs.

Note: There is a slight variation for Washington D.C. where an employer must offer workers’ compensation coverage if he has one or more employees.

If Your Employer Doesn’t Have Coverage You Are Still Covered

If you suffer from an on-the-job injury and then find out that your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage, don’t fret! This is a mistake made by the employer, not by you. Do not let their mistake prevent you from getting the benefits that you deserve. If you are receiving pressure from your employer not to contact the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, do not listen. The employer is looking out for his best interests. Without filing a claim in a timely manner, you could hinder the chances of receiving benefits in the future.

Once the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission is notified and if your claim is approved, the Commission will pay you benefits. It is then their responsibility to receive compensation from the employer. Pursuing your employer for benefits will never be your responsibility.

This right is given to you by the Uninsured Employment Fund (UEF). UEF funds both medical expenses related to the work-caused injury as well as the compensation benefits. You can also be compensated by the UEF if the employer’s workers’ compensation policy does not completely cover your medical expenses or benefits. In this situation, the UEF will award you the balance of the costs left after the employer's coverage is used.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized car accident and ERISA disability attorney in Fairfax, VA.