Penalties for Failing to Provide Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws are clear. Most employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Workers’ compensation is a:

  • No-fault;
  • Employer-financed;
  • Insurance policy to protect employees from work-related illnesses and injuries. 

Failing to provide workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania could result in criminal charges. The employer may also face civil consequences. 

When Does a Pennsylvania Employer Need to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

An employer must provide workers’ compensation insurance for employees if:

  • The employer has at least one employee
  • The employee could be injured or develop a work-related illness in Pennsylvania
  • The worker could be injured outside of Pennsylvania if the employment is principally located in Pennsylvania

An employer must also provide workers’ comp coverage if they:

  • Their employees could be injured outside of the state;
  • While under a contract of hire within the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania;
  • When the employee is not principally located in another state;
  • Or the employee is principally located in a state whose workers’ comp laws do not apply;
  • Or the employment is outside of the country or Canada.

An employer is not required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage if all employees within the company are excluded from the state’s workers’ compensation laws.

Reimbursement of Funds Paid to the Employee

An employer who does not have workers’ comp insurance is responsible for reimbursing the money paid from the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund for a workers’ comp claim. The money owed to the fund includes the amount paid, plus interests, fees, penalties, and attorneys’ fees.

Furthermore, an employer can be fined for failing to provide information about their coverage. For example, if an employer fails to respond to a request for information regarding their workers’ comp coverage, they can be fined $200 a day for up to 30 days for failing to respond. 

Criminal Consequences of Failing to Provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Pennsylvania

There are strict laws to ensure employers comply with the requirement to provide workers’ comp insurance for employees. An employer who fails to have workers’ compensation insurance could face criminal penalties. 

According to the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee can be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to provide workers’ comp insurance coverage. A conviction could result in up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Each day the employer fails to have coverage counts as a separate offense.

If the court finds that the employer’s violation is intentional, the employer could be charged with a felony offense — the fine increases to $15,000 and seven years in prison. As with the misdemeanor charge, each day counts as a separate offense.

Therefore, an employer could face substantial fines and lengthy jail sentences. However, the employer may also face civil penalties. 

The civil case and the criminal case are separate actions. The state pursues criminal charges. The injured employee pursues a civil claim. 

Civil Penalties for Failing to Provider Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Pennsylvania

Employers who do not have workers’ compensation insurance coverage do not have the protection of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Therefore, they are not shielded from liability under state tort laws and negligence laws.

Generally, a worker cannot sue an employer for injuries related to their job. However, if the employer does not have insurance coverage, the employer may file a personal injury claim against the employer.

Tort and negligence claims allow the injured party to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Therefore, an employer could be liable for damages they would not have paid in a workers’ compensation claim.

An employer could be liable for damages including:

  • Past and future cost of medical treatment
  • Long-term personal and nursing care
  • All past and future lost wages and benefits
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Permanent impairments and disabilities
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental trauma
  • Out-of-pocket expenses and costs

Some personal injury claims may result in punitive damages. Punitive damages “punish” the defendant for grossly negligent or intentional acts. An employer that does not have workers’ comp may pay a substantial judgment for damages.

What Should I Do If My Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

A work accident can result in catastrophic injuries. You could sustain permanent impairments that prevent you from returning to work. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries. 

It is wise to seek legal advice from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. An attorney files all notices, claims, and documents required to protect your rights after a workplace injury or illness. Furthermore, your lawyer investigates all potential claims, including your right to file a lawsuit against your employer.

If you’ve been injured in a personal injury, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963