If your employer doesn’t carry the required insurance, it may be possible for you to sue him in a court of law for personal injury.
In the state of Missouri, it is mandatory that an employer carry workers’ compensation insurance. Unlike other types of insurance – like car insurance – workers’ compensation isn’t guided by the theory of negligence. That means that you can be negligent for your injuries and still be eligible to have your injuries covered.
But what happens if your employer wasn’t compliant with workers’ compensation laws in Missouri and didn’t have an insurance policy in place, and you hurt yourself when working?
When an Employer Doesn’t Have Insurance
Since workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory, not carrying it can be met with stiff penalties and fines. Therefore, if your employer isn’t carrying the legally required minimum coverage, then it is possible for you to sue him in a court of law for personal injury. For most work-related injuries, if you are eligible for workers’ compensation then you don’t have the right to sue your employer.
If you make a claim for workers’ compensation, then you aren’t entitled to noneconomic damages. That means that you can’t recover for things like pain and suffering; in most instances, emotional distress is another excluded category. Although there are times when you can receive compensation for debilitating emotional distress – like PTSD – that can affect your ability to work, noneconomic damages generally aren’t covered under workers’ compensation.
If your employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, then you can file suit against them for a personal injury claim. That changes things, however, because although you are entitled to sue for non-economic damages, you do have to prove that your injuries were based on negligence in order to pursue a personal injury case. But not having the proper mandatory minimum coverage might be considered negligence in and of itself, and could make you eligible to collect in a personal injury suit.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are injured while on the job and working in the capacity and under the scope of your employment, then you are entitled to sue your employer in a court of law if they don’t carry the required workers’ compensation coverage. Not only have they broken the law, but they have opened themselves up to personal injury litigation – which can be far more costly. The only thing you have to worry about is whether they have the assets and capital to pay for your injuries and whether you can prove that you were performing work-related duties when you got hurt.
Kansas City Work Comp Attorney
To ensure that you get all that you are entitled to, it is an excellent idea to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to represent you and help you with your claim. If necessary, they will hand your case over to a personal injury attorney, but a Kansas City workers’ compensation lawyer is the first place to start.
The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann focuses on Workers Compensation and Personal Injury with the goal of eagerly representing the interests of injured clients throughout Kansas City, Missouri. Call us today at (816) 256-4300 or fill out our online case evaluation form to request a free consultation.