Help! The business I work for doesn’t have workers’ comp insurance

Almost all businesses with employees are legally required to have workers’ compensation coverage. But even if the business you work for doesn’t have insurance, there’s still a chance you can get compensation if you’re involved in a workplace accident. Depending on your situation, you could claim compensation directly from your employer or through the workers’ compensation agency in your state.

Nearly every state in the US requires businesses to have workers’ comp coverage, either by purchasing an insurance policy from a third party or by proving that they’ve got sufficient funds to cover any workers’ compensation claims (this is known as self-insurance). Most states demand that all businesses with employees meet these requirements, while other states only require businesses to have coverage when they have a certain number of employees, usually two to five.


Oregon Workers’ Compensation Law was established by the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 1914. Following a successful claim, the law now makes sure that you receive enough money to cover your medical treatment and lost wages. The only requirement is that the reason for your medical treatment or lost wages must be due to a work-related injury or illness.

All Oregon businesses with at least one employee (whether full- or part-time) have to be self-insured or have workers’ compensation insurance. Not only does workers’ compensation coverage protect workers, but it also protects employers, by defending them from liability lawsuits that may be brought forward following work-related illnesses or injuries. 


Washington has similar rules and also legally requires businesses to have workers’ comp coverage. State workers’ compensation insurance is highly recommended for all businesses throughout the state. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Limited liability companies (LLCs), sole proprietors, and independent contractors
  • A single domestic worker within a private home working less than 40 hours per week
  • Maintenance workers or gardeners in private homes
  • Children under 18 doing farm work for their parents
  • Workers already protected under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act
  • Select entertainers and musicians
  • Someone working in exchange for help from religious organizations or charities
  • Makeup artists and salon workers who rent their own space

How can I tell if my employer has workers’ compensation insurance?

After you report an injury, your manager or supervisor should tell you how to file a workers’ compensation claim. When you do, your employer must tell their insurance company immediately about your injury and give you the paperwork you need to complete.

If your employer won’t tell you about the insurance coverage they have, you may be able to find this information from your state workers’ compensation agency. Check to see if they’ve got an online tool you can use to look up this information. 

What if they don’t have insurance? 

If the business you work for doesn’t have workers’ comp insurance, there are two things you can do:

  1. File a personal injury lawsuit against your employer
  2. File a workers’ compensation claim with your state’s uninsured employer’s fund

This is where things get a little complicated. Injured workers are not permitted to sue their employers in court for work-related injuries. However, there’s often an exception when the business doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. 

Which option you choose is your decision, but you can only pick one. Before you make a commitment, you need to understand the differences between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits. 

Workers’ compensation claims

Filing a successful workers’ compensation claim means you will receive medical care, temporary disability, and/or wage loss payments quickly. You don’t have to prove that the injury was your employer’s fault and you don’t have to wait for the conclusion of your claim to receive compensation.

However, with a workers’ compensation claim, you can only receive the money provided by workers’ compensation benefits and no more. This means you’ll often only receive a small portion of your lost wages and won’t be compensated for your pain and suffering.

Personal injury lawsuits

If you win your court case or receive a generous settlement, there’s a good chance you could receive compensation for the full range of your personal injury damages, including pain and suffering, future earning capacity, and loss of income.

However, your personal injury claim won’t be successful unless you can provide proof that your employer or someone else in your workplace was negligent. Even if you are successful, you still won’t receive any money until you agree on a settlement or receive a court award following a trial.

Don’t do it alone

Even if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, it’s always best to seek the assistance of a lawyer when asking for compensation. You may discover that the claims process is a lot more complicated than you imagined. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can go through your state’s laws with you and help you determine whether you’re best off filing a lawsuit or making a claim.

About the author

Matt has been helping providers within the healthcare setting for over a decade. He realizes how best to solve a patient’s problem by understanding the individualism of each patient. Therefore knowing what their true needs are.  To focus on the patient and the “Why” they need their particular service that goes beyond the initial reason for them to seek treatment.

Matt has been with Veeva since 2018. He also has access to over 75 years of combined real-life hands-on experiences from the many doctors within the Veeva Chiropractic landscape.

Read more about Matt here >>