Under Minnesota Workers' Compensation law, all employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This insurance protects employers and employees in case of injury by allowing the employer to stay in business and giving the employee the support she needs to pay bills and get medical care for the injury. Unfortunately, some employers flout this law and don't obtain the necessary insurance. While this is detrimental both to the employer and the employee, it does not mean that the employee cannot make a claim.
When an employer is uninsured, the injured employee still begins the process of making a workers' compensation claim by the usual method: informing their employer that they were injured. After the employer is informed, it must make a First Report of Injury to the Department of Labor and Industry. If the employer refuses to comply, then the employee can file a claim petition. The claim petition makes the employee eligible for recovery from the Special Claims Fund.
This Fund was established to protect the rights of workers who, due to some fault of their employer, would not be able to recover under the workers' compensation scheme. This includes employees of uninsured employers. When a claim is made with the special compensation fund, a letter is sent to the employer which includes: (1) notice of the claim, (2) notice that the Fund has been brought into the action based on the employer's unemployed status, (3) notice the the employer has exposure to a collection action and penalty as a result of the claim, and (4) instructions for contacting the Fund and notice that an investigator will be contacting the employer. If the employer agrees that the claim should be paid, then she comes to an agreement to repay the Fund and the claim is paid out. If the employer disputes the claim, then the dispute is resolved using the normal workers' compensation dispute resolution process.
Ultimately, employees are able to recover under worker's compensation even if their employer is uninsured. In this event, however, an attorney can be especially helpful in guiding the employee through the process. If you have a workers' compensation claim and need help, give us a call. 612-ASK-DAVE.