Thursday, March 1, 2012

Enforcement Actions Against Uninsured Employers in Minnesota on the Rise

Employees who are injured on the job working for an employer who failed to carry mandatory workers’ compensation insurance may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits through the Minnesota Special Compensation Fund. 

The Minnesota Special Compensation Fund of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry is also charged with enforcing mandatory workers’ compensation overage. Recently, improved technological access and staffing changes has allowed the Special Compensation Fund to increase its enforcement efforts against uninsured employers in the state of Minnesota.

Recently, there has been a 441% increase in the number of penalties issued to employers who failed to carry mandatory workers’ compensation insurance. The number of penalties assessed increased from 210 during fiscal year 2007 to 1,137 penalties in fiscal year 2011, and the amount of penalties collected increased from $711,941 in fiscal year 2007 to $1,684,982 in fiscal year 2011.

Penalties collected by the Special Compensation Fund go to the Assigned Risk Safety account, which provides safety grants to qualified employers for projects designed to reduce the risk of injury or illness to their employees, and to other related safety and health initiatives at the Department of Labor and Industry.

By increasing enforcement and awareness of workers’ compensation insurance coverage requirements, the Special Compensation Fund hopes to reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims involving uninsured employers, which will ultimately reduce costs to the state and taxpayers, and to employers throughout the state by lowering workers’ compensation premiums.

Meuser & Associate has represented many workers who sustained injuries on the job, only to learn that their employer failed to carry the required workers’ compensation insurance. Thankfully, through the Special Compensation Fund, the State of Minnesota provides workers’ compensation benefits to workers who are injured on the job, when their employers fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

All too often, however, employers who know they don’t carry the required insurance try to get their injured workers to lie about how their accident happened, or try to convince them not to make a claim. Some of these employers promise to pay the hospital bill, and some promise to pay your regular wages while you’re off work. Almost invariably, when that $3,000 emergency room bill comes, or when you need an MRI, that employer who made you promises to take care of you is nowhere to be found. Likewise, if you’re off work for more than a day or two, rest assured, after a couple days, that employer will stop returning your calls.

If you sustain a serious on-the-job injury in Minnesota, and your employer pressures you not to file a claim, there’s a good change they’re uninsured. Employers who fail to carry mandatory workers’ compensation insurance are subject to fines and penalties. If the Special Compensation Fund has to make payments to an injured worker, the uninsured employer may also be subject to a claim for reimbursement plus a significant penalty.

If your employer was cutting corners in the first place by not carrying workers’ compensation insurance, they’re almost certainly not going to be there for you if you sustain an on-the-job injury. Uninsured employers are looking out for their own interests, and if you’re injured on the job, you need to look out for your own interests. Report your work-related injury. 

For a free, no-obligation Minnesota workers’ compensation case evaluation, contact Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys. 


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