Imagine this: you’re hard at work on just a normal day on the job. Or so it seems. Today, something happens—the forklift operator wasn’t paying attention, someone forgot to clean up a water leak, or you can’t hit the machine’s emergency stop in time—and you get hurt. You follow procedure and inform your supervisor and manager of the accident, giving them all the details to complete an accident report. You know that you’ll be out of work for a few days or weeks and that you’ll have some medical bills because of your injury, and that you should receive workers’ compensation benefits to help you out. That’s when your boss tells you that your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. How are you going to pay your medical bills? Buy your groceries? Keep the lights on at home? What do you do?

What if my employer claims not to have workers’ comp insurance?

In nearly every situation, businesses in Illinois are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If they don’t, they are in violation of the law, and you have the right to take legal action against your employer. If your employer tells you that they don’t have workers’ comp insurance, you should immediately contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation law. The attorney will know how to determine whether your employer actually has workers’ compensation insurance, and if not, will help you file against them.

What if my employer says I’m not eligible?

In order to avoid paying for workers’ compensation benefits, your employer may classify you as an independent contractor, even if you’re really an employee. Independent contractors are workers that a company hires for a specific task or project or specific length of time. They are considered self-employed rather than employed by the company, so the company doesn’t have to provide any benefits for them, like health insurance or workers’ comp. But, very few workers actually fall into this designation. There are certain tests that the government uses to categorize workers and determine whether they should be considered employees or independent contractors. An attorney can determine whether you’ve been falsely labeled as an independent contractor and can help you bring action against your employer if you have been.

If you’ve been injured at work, but aren’t receiving workers’ compensation benefits because your employer has no insurance, or for some other reason, speak with a workers’ comp attorney to find out what your options are. In a case where your employer isn’t carrying workers’ compensation insurance, but legally should be, you may be able to bring action directly against the employer. Call Epstein Law Firm to discuss your situation.

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