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What if an employer has no workers' compensation insurance?

It is the law in California that employers have workers' compensation insurance. However, there are times when they violate this law and do not have that coverage and subsequently fail to pay workers who have been awarded benefits. In such an instance, there are two funds that can pay benefits to workers, depending on the circumstances. They are the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF) and the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (SIBTF). Workers who are injured on the job should be aware of these options.

UEBTF is for workers whose employer was illegally uninsured when they received an award and they did not get what they were owed. The award will have been made by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. There are certain steps an employer must take before and after the award is issued from UEBTF. A claim form must be filled out;, it must be determined if the employer had workers' compensation coverage,; medical reports from doctors, medical bills, proof of employment, and a list of witnesses must be provided; and all the necessary forms must be filled out if the employer did not have the proper coverage.

For workers who had a disability or impairment when they were injured on the job, the SIBTF is an option. To receive payment through SIBTF, the injury and the prior impairment or disability must result in a minimum of 70 percent permanent disability. This fund is beneficial to workers because it encourages employers to hire people who are disabled without having to worry about liability for impairments or disabilities that were in place beforehand.

Since filing for these types of benefits can be complicated and showing that the employer did not have the proper insurance is essential for UEBTF or that the worker met the requirements for SIBTF if he or she was impaired, it is imperative to have legal assistance from the beginning to the end of the process. Just because a worker was employed by someone who did not have the necessary coverage or was already disabled does not mean they cannot recover benefits. Speaking to a lawyer who is experienced in workers' compensation can therefore often be beneficial.

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations, "Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF) & Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (SIBTF)," accessed on Aug. 21, 2017

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