Perhaps you needed some help with improvements or maintenance at your home. You asked friends and family if they know someone reputable. You hired a seemingly skillful and careful "contractor" to paint your siding, fix some roof tiles, and straighten up the garden. And then a worker you've never met before fell off a ladder leaning against the side of your house. Now what? What are the consequences? Well for one, that individual can bring a claim for Workers' Compensation benefits that can unwillingly drag you to the New York Workers' Compensation Board as the possible employer. The issue of whether an employer/employee relationship exists is a question of fact for the Board to resolve. Paying someone once in cash and not knowing their name will not resolve the issue. Giving someone a 1099 instead of a W-2 will not resolve the issue. Saying you never met the worker will not resolve the issue. There are many inquiries the Board will make to resolve this problem, not only as to direction and control, but also to the relationship between the homeowner, the contractor, the injured worker and any other relevant entity involved in the work. Did you have homeowners' insurance? Will that over you? Maybe .. maybe not. Did you have a written contract? Did you ask the contractor for a certificate of insurance? Will that end the inquiry? Maybe .. maybe not.
The Workers' Compensation Law of New York mandates that all employers have appropriate Workers' Compensation coverage or otherwise satisfy requirements to be considered a legitimate self-insured employer.
The possible consequences of being found an insured employer in New York can be financially crippling, including not only being 100 % liable for the injured worker's Workers' Compensation benefits, but also being subjected to strict penalties and possible interest. Not knowing the law or claiming no relation to the worker may not be a defense.
The law governing Workers' Compensation claims involving an alleged "uninsured employer" is highly specialized and not nearly as straightforward as the conventional rules governing a covered employer with insurance. These cases are handled in a special part at the Board known as the "Uninsured Employers' Fund" Part, or "UEF" for short. The Board has a preference for having a single Judge in each venue handle these cases exclusively presumably because they are so complex and specialized.
If you are being accused of being an "uninsured employer", call Brandon S. Clark, P.C. today for a free initial consultation. Having a competent defense in a UEF claim can make the difference between a temporary experience at the Workers' Compensation Board versus years of penalties and liabilities that could have otherwise been avoided.