May 24, 2019
Pay Your Employees’ Workers’ Compensation Claims or Pay Big
by Sarah Ingles, Barkan Meizlish LLP
Injuries at work happen. How employers respond to workplace injuries is the key.
As part of workers’ compensation’s no-fault system, injured workers in the state of Ohio need only show that the injury occurred at work or was caused by work activities. To support these claims, Ohio law requires employers with one or more employees to possess workers’ compensation insurance, either by contributing to the Ohio State Insurance Fund or by insuring themselves according to the state mandated guidelines.
Problems arise when employers fail to comply with this legal mandate. Should an employer fail to pay employees’ workers’ compensation claims after a final adjudication in the employee’s favor, the employee is entitled to seek funds set aside by the state. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation may then take legal action against non-complying employers, which can include placing a lien on employer-owned property, assessing penalties against non-compliant employers or even subjecting the employer to both criminal and civil liability. For example, Ohio Courts have ordered that non-complying employers serve jail time for felony convictions of workers’ compensation fraud and tampering with records, pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and/or pay tens of thousands of dollars to the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation for investigative costs.
Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws serve the purpose of providing injured workers the time and resources they need to recover and return to the workforce. The laws promote business by boosting employee morale, promoting workplace safety and protecting the employer’s business. Accordingly, it is imperative that employers establish workers’ compensation insurance coverage and pay their employee’s claims in accordance with the law.