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Workers’ compensation available even for “off the books” workers

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

In New York, the law mandates that workers who are injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This is even true in cases where the employer committed an act of misrepresentation. Often, workers who are employed in a situation where misrepresentation is taking place are immigrants, work as laborers in relatively low-skill jobs and place themselves in jeopardy without realizing that they can be injured easily. Many of these individuals are unaware of the law and are hesitant to complain even if they are injured, need medical care, coverage for wage loss and are eligible for workers’ compensation. For those in this circumstance, it is imperative to get the coverage they are entitled to regardless of what the employer does to dissuade them or deny they were employees in the first place.

Delivery driver suffers injuries while being paid “off the books”

For delivery people in New York City, it is necessary to navigate the complex and often dangerous streets. They are in traffic, deal with distracted drivers, reckless drivers, people who do not pay attention to the rules of the road and even criminal activity. This adds to the possible injuries they can suffer as lifting, climbing, carrying and other aspects of the job can cause them damage as well. A recent case highlights how workers who have been misrepresented and are paid off the books might face problems getting the workers’ compensation they should be able to receive due to employers denying the claim or that the person worked for them at all.

A man who was delivering for a bakery was injured when another man attempted to steal his van. The incident happened in March. The driver had exited the van to make a delivery with his son inside. He left it idling. A man jumped behind the wheel, punched the son and drove away. As the delivery driver tried to stop him, the thief put the van in reverse and ran over the delivery driver’s leg and hand. The van crashed. The delivery driver was severely injured, had several procedures and is confronted with bills surpassing $100,000.

The owner of the bakery is denying that the driver is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even after saying that he had been a longtime employee. The owner even stated that he contracted his deliveries to another company despite having a truck with the company’s name. The owner claimed that was an error and it was subsequently sold. The delivery driver stated that the bakery owner offered $5,000 and then $10,000, both of which the driver declined since it only covered a fraction of the medical costs and none of his lost income.

Misrepresentation does not eliminate workers’ compensation responsibility

Many employers might try to cut corners by taking part in misrepresentation. They might do this to hide their payroll, conceal worker duties, keep other information private and try to avoid paying for insurance. Employers can face various sanctions for this including fines and criminal charges. A worker being paid off the books is an example of misrepresentation. Based on the law, those who are providing services for a business are employees whether the employer classifies them as such or not. This is true whether the worker is part-time, full-time, seasonal, a day laborer and is even unpaid as a volunteer. Workers’ compensation is a requirement and employers are responsible even if they skirt this responsibility with underhanded tactics.

Experienced advice for misrepresented workers who are injured is key

Through workers’ compensation benefits, injured employees should be able to receive medical treatment, coverage for lost wages, disability coverage and more. If a person is fearful about repercussions for seeking the benefits they are entitled to, does not understand the entire process, has concerns that they will get into legal trouble for being a misrepresented employee or are worried about legal costs, it is essential to get the facts and understand their rights. Consulting with professionals who handle all types of workers’ compensation claims can provide information with these cases and possibly help with receiving benefits.