If Your Employer Has No
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system to provide medical care and reimbursement for lost wages for employees who are injured at work or who fall ill from chemical exposure or other unhealthy workplace conditions. Being no-fault means that neither employee nor the employer can hold the other responsible legally.
In Alaska, employers with just one employee and, of course, those with more are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Only a handful of professions and occupations are excluded from the requirement.
But what happens if you take a job, get injured or fall ill, and try to file a workers’ compensation claim only to discover your employer is not insured? First off, that could expose the employer to fines and penalties, but you as the employee who needs medical care may be unsure of where to turn.
Fortunately, Alaska maintains a Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guaranty Fund that can be utilized to recover for your medical expenses and any time missed from work because of your injury or illness suffered at a place of work with no workers’ compensation coverage.
If you’re been injured or fallen ill at work in or around Anchorage, Alaska, and are unsure about how to proceed with a workers’ compensation claim, contact the attorneys at the Law Office of Justin S. Eppler, LLC. Our attorneys are fully knowledgeable about workers’ compensation law in Alaska and can help you recover your benefits, whether your employer is insured or not.
The Law Office of Justin S. Eppler, LLC also proudly serves clients in Fairbanks, Juneau, Wasilla, and Palmer.
Workers’ Compensation Law in Alaska
All public and private employers in Alaska are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is far-reaching in its application. Even high school students engaged in work-study programs outside of school are considered to be state employees and covered by state workers’ compensation.
The only occupational categories not covered by workers’ compensation statutes are:
Independent cleaning personnel
Entertainers and sports officials employed by contract
Harvesters and similar part-time or transient help
Sports officials for amateur events
Maritime workers (though they may be covered under the Alaska Fisherman’s Fund)
Business owners and executives are also sometimes exempt from having to insure themselves for workers’ compensation liability, including sole proprietors, partners in a partnership, members of a limited liability company (LLC) with at least a 10 percent ownership interest, executives of for-profit corporations with a minimum 10 percent ownership, and executive officers of nonprofit, municipal and religious corporations.
Recovery Options Under Workers’ Compensation
If your employer provides workers’ compensation, you have 30 days to report your injury or illness to your employer. Claim Form 07-6106 is to be used for this purpose. If approved, medical expenses should be covered, and time lost from work beginning on the fourth day will be compensated for. If lost work time reaches more than 28 days, the first three days will then be compensated for as well.
Recovery Options When
Your Employer is Uninsured
If you go to file for workers’ compensation with your employer and you discover there is no company insurance, you need to notify the Special Investigations Unit of the Alaska Division of Workers’ Compensation.
If your employer agrees to pay your claim, get the agreement in writing and submit it. If your employer refuses to pay, file a workers’ compensation claim against the employer and send a copy to the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Your claim will be forwarded to the Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guaranty Fund (BGF).
If the employer is found to be responsible for your injury or illness, the fund will pay your benefits and then seek reimbursement from your employer. The uninsured employer can avoid criminal prosecution or civil action if he or she:
Reports your injuries as required,
Participates in the uninsured injury claim process,
Obtains or reinstates workers’ compensation coverage, and
Cooperates with the BGF collections officer.
Uninsured injury claims are separate from failure to provide workers’ compensation coverage. If employers fail to insure, they can be served with a stop-work order. Continuing to employ workers after the order is issued can result in a $1,000-per-day penalty for each day of the violation, as well as a penalty of $10 to $1,000 for each day each employee went uninsured before the stop-work order.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Serving Anchorage, Alaska
If you are injured at work or fall ill due to work-related conditions and your employer has no workers’ compensation insurance, the process for recovery can be complicated. You will no doubt need help in navigating the Alaska workers’ compensation system to obtain the benefits for medical expenses and lost wages.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Office of Justin S. Eppler, LLC have the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you press your claim and recover the just compensation you deserve. If you’re in or around Anchorage, or in Fairbanks, Juneau, Wasilla, or Palmer, contact us immediately. We will help you prepare the documents and medical evidence necessary to move your claim forward, and we will also guide and assist you along every step of the claim process.