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Glossary of WCB Terms

Workers' Compensation Coverage


Liability And Penalties For Violations Of Mandatory Workers' Compensation Insurance Coverage Requirements

The law requires employers operating in New York State to have workers' compensation coverage for their employees, with limited exceptions. Employers are required to obtain and keep in effect workers' compensation coverage for all employees, even part-time employees and family members that are employed by the company. The following is a brief summary of the liability and penalties for violations of mandatory workers' compensation insurance coverage requirements.

Ascertaining Violations of the Law

The Workers' Compensation Board may require an employer to furnish proof that the employer:

  • Has a valid workers' compensation insurance policy;
  • Is self-insured for workers' compensation; or
  • Is legally exempt from having to obtain workers' compensation coverage, and/or
  • Is keeping proper, accurate business records.

If an employer fails to provide this information within 10 days following the Board's request, under the WCL the Board is required to assume that the employer is violating the WCL. (WCL §52 [3])

Personal Accountability

The sole proprietor, partners or the president, secretary and treasurer of a corporation are personally liable for a business' failure to secure workers' compensation insurance.

Liability for Claims Incurred by an Uninsured Employer

Section 26-a says an employer is liable for a penalty of $2,000 per 10-day period of noncompliance, plus the actual award (including both compensation and medical costs), plus any other penalties the Board assesses for noncompliance. In cases involving severely injured employees, the medical costs alone could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per injury.