Can an employee who is paid cash receive workers’ compensation?
If you are an employee who is paid cash, you likely know that you are not being compensated properly. However, what happens if you are injured at work in these circumstances? Are you still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? In short, almost definitely. How do you receive them?
In some cases, cash earnings are paid because the employee is in the country illegally. It may sound like a good idea to the employee attempting to stay under the radar. In other instances, the employer recognizes the high cost of paying for insurance and taxes. The employer pays a lower premium on workers’ compensation benefits by reporting a lower number of employees to the insurance company. Alternatively, the employer may decide not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
It is accepted as a matter of law that all New Jersey workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There is no distinction as to whether or not the employee has legal status or receives wages in cash. In some instances, there may be a dispute as to the employment relationship. The employer may deny that the employee even worked for the company. The employer might also categorize the employee as an independent contractor. These become legal issues that are best handled by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
According to New Jersey law, injured employees are entitled to benefits, with limited exceptions. This means the injured worker should receive a portion of reimbursed wages, authorized medical treatment and potentially an amount for partial or total permanent disability benefits. Again, it is much easier to have a highly trained lawyer negotiate with the insurance company. The outcome is generally better under these circumstances. It is crucial to report the accident immediately, so that it is not questionable when it is investigated by the insurance carrier.
What happens if the employer not only paid wages in cash, but also neglected to pay for workers’ compensation insurance? Once again, this a matter that is best handled by an experienced attorney. It is illegal for an employer to fail to maintain a workers’ compensation policy. However, an attorney can ensure that you receive at least temporary disability benefits and medical treatment. These benefits are paid through New Jersey’s Uninsured Employer’s Fund, when the employer fails to make the requisite payments.
Are you worried about legal fees for a workers’ compensation case? New Jersey attorneys are barred from taking an hourly fee or any charge for these types of matters. Attorneys’ fees are court ordered and come out of the case’s final settlement.
Were you injured at work and have questions? Contact our office to set up an appointment. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone has over 25 years of experience in these types of cases. If you were paid in cash and hurt at work, you need our help.