Law Office of James M. Hoffmann Articles What Happens If You Opt out of Workers’ Compensation as a Business Owner?

What Happens If You Opt out of Workers’ Compensation as a Business Owner?

By James Hoffmann  Jun. 22, 2018 1:26p

If you are a business owner in the state of Missouri and employ more than five employees, or in the construction industry, you have more than one, you are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers’ compensation insurance is meant to cover a worker if they are hurt while they are working under the scope of their employment and authority of their employer. However, it may also cover the business owner if they are, likewise, engaged in work-related activities.

The problem with workers’ compensation insurance is that it is costly. It is meant to compensate an employee if they are hurt by guaranteeing that a business owner has the means to pay.

Because it is expensive for a business owner, many owners choose to personally opt out of the insurance coverage and take their chances. By opting out, the business owner is then responsible for their injuries if they are injured while they are working.

If you are injured while working as a business owner, it can mean a loss of income. If you are hurt on the job and aren’t worried about paying for it yourself by using personal health insurance, if you are out for an extended amount of time, or worse, indefinitely, there will be no workers’ compensation payments to cover your expenses.

Additionally, if you can’t work in the same capacity, you are leaving not just your employees, but your family, in jeopardy if you are hurt and don’t have the means to pay for your medical bills or lost time from work. If it is severe enough, it could mean the end of your business, and there is no compensation for that if you don’t have insurance.

When can you recover for your injury as a business owner if you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance?

Since you are the employer, you have no one to hold liable if you are in an accident while working. If you are hurt while working, the only way that you can get compensated is if you could prove that someone else was negligent and responsible for your injuries.

There are times when it might be someone else’s negligence that led to your injuries, or, in some instances, it might be a case of product liability. However, you would have to prove that someone was negligent for you to initiate a personal injury case to have your injuries covered.

Many business owners see workers’ compensation as a real hurdle in their operational budget, and some might consider opting out of covering themselves if something should happen. That, however, might leave you open to a massive loss if there is no insurance or someone to hold accountable if you are hurt.

If you have been injured on the job, it is a good idea to consult with a St. Louis work injury lawyer to make sure you get all of the benefits you are legally entitled to in the state of Missouri.

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