Missed Workers Compensation Renewal...

by A L
(Perth, WA)

My employee told me that she has 2nd degree burns on her lips as a result of her own mistakes. She was not operating under our safety codes and work ethics, or our regular working policies and precautions (so she knows that she made a mistake).

She was under my employment at the time of her injury. It has come to our attention that our workers compensation renewal was missed, so we are not covered at this time. What can we do for her in this situation? Are we liable for anything?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Missed Workers Compensation Renewal...":

A L (Perth, WA):

Yes you are liable for her injuries, and you also may be liable for additional penalties for allowing your workmans compensation insurance to lapse. Whether she followed the safety precautions or not is irrelevant when it comes to her injuries and the company's liability.

You can consider reprimanding her when she has recovered, or even consider terminating her employment. What you can’t do is escape liability for her injuries, and your failure to have in place adequate workman’s compensation insurance.

If she retains a personal injury attorney there is a good chance a lawsuit will be filed against the company, and if it is a sole proprietorship, the owner as well. We suggest you afford this employee every consideration at this time. Any inappropriate actions or inaction can result in making things much worse than they already are.

We also suggest you consult with your attorney at the earliest possible time. This is certainly the time when you should not procrastinate. Rationalizing or blaming the employee is the wrong thing to do at this point. You need to protect yourself and, if you are the owner, your business, from what could turn out to be a very precarious and difficult situation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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