What are the penalties if I do not obtain worker’s compensation insurance?
A: Not obtaining worker’s compensation insurance in Indiana is a Class A criminal infraction. Also if an employee is injured when an employer does not have insurance the board may award:
a) Compensation not to exceed double the compensation provided by this Act;
b) Medical expenses, and
c) Reasonable attorney fees
The employer may also be required to cease doing business in Indiana until they can show proof of insurance.
An employer who fails to carry insurance or self-insure its workers compensation liability commits a Class A infraction (IC 22-3-4-13 and IC 22-3-5-1). The WC Board could order:
The Board has an administrative procedure to refer an employer to a county prosecutor, who does have authority over the lack of coverage matter. Then, it is up to the prosecutor to investigate and enforce the law. Such enforcement could vary widely from county to county.
Report an injury
A person who fails to report an injury commits a Class C infraction (IC 22-3-4-13). An employer is required by law to report all injuries to its insurance company and any injury resulting in at least one day of missed work to the Board. Failure to report the injury can result in fines and could also result in a bad faith judgment against the employer, which could lead to a fine of up to $20,000.
Below are excerpts from the relevant statute sections.
22-3-4-13(d) "A person who violates any provision of this article, except IC 22-3-5-1 or IC 22-3-7-34(a) or IC 22-3-7-34(b), commits a Class C infraction. A person who violates IC 22-3-5-1 or IC 22-3-7-34(a) or IC 22-3-7-34(b) commits a Class A infraction. The worker's compensation board in the name of the state may seek relief from any court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin any violation of this article."
22-3-5-1(a) "Every employer under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6, except those exempted by IC 22-3-2-5, shall:
(1) Insure and keep insured the employer's liability under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 in some corporation, association, or organization authorized to transact the business of worker's compensation insurance in this state; or
(2) Furnish to the worker's compensation board satisfactory proof of the employer's financial ability to pay direct the compensation in the amount and manner and when due as provided in IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6."
27-7-2-38. Penalty for violation of chapter - Suspension for failure to pay fine.
(a) A person who fails to comply with this chapter or fails to comply with any lawful order or ruling made by the department in the administration of this chapter commits a Class C infraction. If a person is fined for violating this section and fails to pay the fine within thirty (30) days after final judgment, the insurance commissioner shall suspend the license of the person to transact any form of insurance business in Indiana until the fine and costs incident to the final judgment are paid in full.
(b) The commissioner may, if the commissioner finds that any person or organization has violated this chapter, impose a penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each such violation but if the commissioner finds the violation is willful the commissioner may impose a penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each such violation. These penalties are in addition to any other penalty provided by law.
The Indiana Code is available on the State of Indiana website at this address: http://www.state.in.us/legislative/ic/code/.
IC 34-28-5-4 defines maximum judgments for infractions:
Class A: $10,000
Class B: $ 1,000
Class C: $ 500
Class D: $ 25