When you have been injured on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, what if your employer does not maintain a workers’ compensation insurance policy? Although the state of California requires that employers be insured for workers’ compensation, not every employer abides. It is illegal for an employer to run a business and have employees without being insured for workers’ compensation. Failure to obey this law can result in steep fines, having the business shut down, criminal charges and even jail time for the employer.
In response to such situations, the state has set up the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF), which is a special fund used to pay the claims of employees who get injured while working for an uninsured employer. The purpose of the UEBTF is to make sure the injured worker is appropriately cared for and compensated. The state will then attempt to recover from the uninsured employer the benefits that were paid out to the injured worker.
The process to apply for and collect UEBTF benefits is often confusing and lengthy. Therefore, it is imperative to speak to our highly skilled and experienced workers’ compensation attorneys immediately to discuss your options.
You must file a claim for benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) to determine if you are owed compensation and what the proper amount should be. This filing of the claim, which must also include the legal name and identification of the employer, plus the subsequent service of the claim on the employer involves many steps and must be done with particularity and thoroughness in order to be done properly. While an employee can do this on his or her own without an attorney, it is advisable to obtain competent counsel to help.
Once your claim is properly filed and served, the UEBTF is required to pay your benefits if your employer does not do so. However, unlike a private workers’ compensation insurance company, UEBTF has little accountability. This means that if the UEBTF arbitrarily decides not to provide workers compensation benefits, terminates your benefits, or delays your benefits payments, the WCAB cannot penalize them. This does not leave the employee many options for being compensated for his or her injuries.
If you are denied benefits by the UEBTF, as the employer knows they face severe fines and penalties, as well as a possible felony conviction, there is a good chance the employer would rather pay for the worker’s injuries than face the other consequences. This means that you may still get the benefits you deserve if you have an experienced attorney pursuing a case against the uninsured employer on your behalf.
If you have been injured on the job and your employer does not maintain workers’ compensation insurance, please contact our office to speak to our knowledgeable and skilled workers’ compensation attorneys. We have experience in handling claims with UEBTF.
Please contact us today for a FREE 30-minute consultation. Our workers’ compensation attorneys are available to meet with you during business hours, evenings, and weekends. Allegiance Law is located in San Francisco, but we will be happy to drive and meet you. You may contact Allegiance Law, at 415-404-6395. Or you may contact us by filling out the client inquiry form on this page.