We were contacted by a really nice guy who had a very serious neck injury on the job.  He reported the accident to his employer just like he should.  He received prompt medical care and told the doctor he got hurt at work which is what he should do too.  But then he was told by his boss that they weren’t required to carry workers’ compensation insurance so he’s out of luck.
We are checking in to whether or not the company does have insurance, but I can tell you that they lied to him.  Any company that has even one employee or is going to be doing any business in Illinois (this would include someone who gets hurt at the airport on a layover) has to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is true if you have just one employee that works an hour a week or thousands of workers.  The only exception is for some farmers and Chicago policemen.
If an employer doesn’t carry insurance they can be personally liable for your medical bills.  It’s also a class 4 felony which could lead to jail time as well as the business being shut down.
This employer is a scumbag who is trying to screw over a good worker.
Other companies we have seen have told workers that they are independent contractors when they really aren’t (this doesn’t get them off the hook for having to carry insurance that will compensate you and pay your medical bills).  Some have illegally tried to get their staff to sign a document waiving their right to work comp benefits.  Those contracts are not enforceable in Illinois.  Others that have locations in multiple states have attempted to get their employees to agree that they can only bring a case in a certain state.  That’s not enforceable in Illinois either.
Bringing a work comp claim is not a lawsuit.  It’s a claim for benefits and shady tactics should not and can not stop you from having those rights.
So don’t be tricked or bullied in to thinking that you don’t have the ability to bring a case.  There are certain legal requirements needed to get benefits approved, but you don’t lose your rights just because your employer didn’t feel like getting insurance.  Remember, it’s a felony if they don’t have it.  That is how serious we take this and how serious they should too.

By Michael Helfand