When You Own a Business, and You’re Hurt at Work
You’re a general contractor and know the importance of making sure you have workers’ compensation coverage. As it stands, you’re even aware that your insurance may kick in if your subcontractors don’t properly take care of their employees. You figure you’ve got all the bases covered. However, the unexpected happens. This time, you’re the one with an on-the-job injury. So, what happens when you own a business, and you’re hurt at work?
Like every accident, you sense that the harm could have been avoided. However, not everyone is as diligent as you. A plumber on a big construction job dropped large pipes right onto your left foot. As luck would have it, the fracture is severe enough that you need surgery.
When it comes to this type of workplace accident claim, you may have some options. For one, the plumber was not your employee. Therefore, if the courts consider his actions negligent, you may be able to sue the plumbing company in state court. This option is rarely available when it comes to making a claim against a co-employee.
However, there is the issue of your medical bills, time off from work, and maybe an issue of some degree of permanent disability. (You don’t have to be totally disabled to make a permanent disability claim.)
Business Owners and Workers’ Compensation
The first test to whether you can make a workers’ compensation claim often has something to do with your business structure. If you established your company as a corporation, you are considered an employee of the business. Therefore, there’s no doubt that you will be afforded benefits for a compensable accident. That is, as long as you acted in accordance with the law – and purchased workers’ compensation insurance.
That said, you could be set up as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). Since there is no legal requirement to include your name on the workers’ compensation policy, you may have decided to save some money. Unfortunately, the decision to opt out or exclude yourself from coverage may cost you some major money,
Here’s the problem. Your first concern will likely be to make sure you get your medical bills paid. You decide to submit them to your health insurance company. However, the minute you check off that your injuries are work-related – you can count on a denial of your claim.
In the example above, you may be able to seek legal action against the third party that caused the accident. In any case, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to review all options.