Do You Need Workers’ Compensation If You’re Self-Employed?
Ahh, the pleasure of being your own boss. Many people dream of the opportunity to become self-employed. All you have to answer to is you. You can set your own hours, pick and choose your customers or clients, and work in your pajamas at home.
But, what happens if you get injured while on the job? If you were an employee, you are safe in knowing that your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will cover you should you get into an accident at work. But what if you are the employer and the employee? Do you need insurance? And if you don’t, what will pay your bills?
When a Self-Employer Suffers a Workplace Injury
Here is an example – your main job consists of sitting in front of a computer and typing all day long. As time progresses, you begin to feel a sharp pain and numbness in your wrist. Getting the problem checked out, your physician informs you that you have a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome and only surgery can fix the problem.
In a typical scenario, an employee who has a repetitive motion injury may be able to claim workers’ compensation. But you’re self-employed. Does this mean you have to pay out of pocket?
The answer can be tricky. It all depends on your business. Here’s why.
Worker’s Compensation for the Self-Employed
According to New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws, all employers that are not covered by federal programs must have workers’ compensation coverage. However, if you are a sole proprietor with no employees, you are not required to carry coverage. Yet, you may want to consider getting self-insurance for your own protection.
- But what if you do have employees? Even if they are part-time, you are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance for your business. As the employer, you do have the option to either opt-in or out of the program, but you must have coverage for the employers.
- If you don’t have workers’ comp insurance for your employees, then you’re going to face serious problems. Even without a workplace injury, failure to provide insurance is considered a disorderly person offense and, if it was intentional, it’s a fourth-degree crime. You will be facing fines of $5,000 for the first ten days without insurance and up to $5,000 for each additional ten-day period.
- If a workplace injury or death does occur, you will be directly liable for any medical expenses, disability payments, or dependency benefits. And that’s not including the civil penalties you could face.
Law Offices of Anthony Carbone Can Help
If you suffer an injury while on the job, either as an employee or being self-employed, you will need help with a workers’ compensation insurance claim. For 30 years, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone has been helping New Jersey employees with their work injury claims. Our Jersey City workers’ compensation attorney will work hard to make sure of a winning outcome for your claim. It’s not uncommon for a settlement in these matters. However, it all depends on the extent of your injuries, your prognosis for the long term, and your circumstances.