Exempt employers that decide not to get workers comp insurance remain exposed to civil lawsuits by employees who are injured during work.
If you are a business owner in Missouri, you are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It is an insurance policy that is specifically related to helping those who are on the job and injured while working. It is also meant to protect the business owner if someone is hurt in the workplace.
Not all industries require that an employer have workers’ compensation insurance. Certain jobs like being a child-care provider or seasonal worker do not mandate workers’ compensation insurance.
However, if you employ more than five workers then, by law, you do have to carry coverage for your employees. If you work within the construction industry, where injuries are common, you must have workers’ compensation insurance regardless of the number of employees you have.
What if you don’t want to have workers’ compensation insurance?
According to Missouri law, if you are in a category that is exempt from carrying insurance and you elect not to carry it, then you must know that you are opening yourself up to personal liability litigation if someone is hurt while working for you. So although you are not technically required by law to carry insurance for less than three employees, if one of those three employees are hurt on the job and you are found negligent, you will likely be responsible for paying for any resulting injuries and potential damages.
Why do you want to carry workers’ compensation even if you are exempt?
One bad accident at work can be financially devastating to any business and drain the business owner of their assets. If you carry workers’ compensation insurance, then you are assured to be able to pay if someone is hurt while performing work-related activities. If you aren’t covered or carrying insurance, then you might be responsible for the damages, which could end up crippling your company financially.
What would make you responsible for an injury?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that isn’t based on the doctrine of negligence. In other words, if someone is hurt while working for you, then you don’t have to be proven negligent for the insurance company to pay. The worker can be wholly responsible for their injuries if the injury is not work-related, but if they are injured while working for you, you could be at fault.
Although not based on negligence, workers’ compensation does state that the injured worker must have to be performing their assigned job duties to be covered by the insurance. It isn’t enough that they were simply injured at work. They must be working under your authority as outlined in their job description to file a claim.
If they are not performing work-related activities, then it is possible for them to be denied coverage. That situation wouldn’t make you responsible for their injury. The only way that they can hold you accountable if they weren’t injured while performing work-related activities is if they can prove that you were negligent, and, therefore, responsible for their injuries. If they can show that you did something to cause their injuries, then they can sue you for personal injury if you aren’t insured.