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Most states require employers to buy insurance for employees from a workers’ compensation insurance carrier. In several states, larger companies can self-insure or act as their own insurance company as long as they are clearly solvent. On the other hand, only smaller employers, with around three or four employees, are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance. A worker that gets injured can file a claim with the insurance company or self-insuring employer, who then pays medical and disability costs depending on a state-approved formula.

Employers who refuse to get workers’ compensation insurance are subject to civil liability, fines, and even criminal prosecution, unless they are qualified for certain exempt categories.


Here are the specific penalties associated with failure to provide the required workers’ compensation insurance coverage:

  • Fines
  • Criminal prosecution
  • Suing the employer instead of filing a compensation claim, depending on the employee’s choice.
  • An injured worker gets workers’ compensation benefits as a personal liability of the employer.


Aside from the workers’ compensation coverage, most states also require employers to perform the following duties:

  • Publish a notification of compliance with workers’ compensation laws in a visible place at every job site.
  • In the event of on-the-job injuries, provide emergency medical treatment immediately.
  • Provide further medical treatment for injured workers who are unable to choose a doctor or those who inform their employer in writing of a request not to do so.
  • Send a full report of the injury to a nearby workers’ compensation board office. The employer should also mail a copy of the report to the insurance company. Any employer who neglects to create an injury report may be guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine.
  • Create a written report of all accidents leading to personal injury that necessitates medical attention beyond first aid or more than two treatments by a health professional, and injuries that cause time loss from regular duties beyond the working hours.
  • Submit any request for additional information related to injured workers as required by the workers’ compensation board or the employer’s insurance company. Requests may include reports of the period that the employee returns to work, statements of the injured employee’s earnings before and after the accident, and any other report needed to assess the employee’s work status after the injury.

Duty of the Employer to Avoid Retaliation

Workers’ compensation laws provide assistance to injured employees; however, they also aim to protect employers. These laws serve as the sole remedy that injured employees can ask from their employers. Still, employers frequently disapprove employees who seek to claim workers’ compensation benefits, and there are even some who straightforwardly discriminate against such employees. Since employees need protection from employers who purposefully harass, discriminate against, or unjustly terminate injured employees who file claims, most states have issued prohibition on employers against punishing, showing discrimination, or firing employees who take advantage of their rights under the workers’ compensation allows. Furthermore, employees are allowed to carry out civil actions against discriminatory employers for the misconduct “retaliatory discharge.”

If an employee who suffered from personal injury believes that the employer exhibited discrimination or performed wrongful termination, then he/she can file a claim against the employer for retaliatory discharge. In this type of suit, the employee has to convince a jury or judge that he/she was unjustly terminated. The employee doesn’t have to state that the only reason for the discharge is the workers’ compensation claim. Any other purported reasons can be presented to support the case. Typically, the test depends on whether the employer’s decision is chiefly due to the employee’s exercise of workers’ compensation rights.

Aside from termination, retaliation may also come in more subtle forms of discriminatory actions such as salary reduction or demotion. An injured employee is protected from discriminatory treatment after the injury and prior to the filing of a workers’ compensation claim.

DISCLAIMER:All information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Malman Law shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon. For more information read our full disclaimer.

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Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

  • Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process based upon objective and uniformly applied criteria which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

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  • The American Institute of Trial Lawyers is an invitation only professional organization composed of premier trial attorneys from each state. These attorneys exemplify the very best qualities and qualifications of an attorney. Each attorney must meet stringent qualifications as a civil or criminal trial attorney. These attorneys practice in a variety of fields to help and promote the ethical and elite practice of law. Selection is based on a thorough multi phase process which includes peer nominations and third party research. Each member must be in good standing with their local compliance organization. Membership is extended to only a select few in each state and/or region.

  • As the founder of Steven J. Malman and Associates, P.C., Attorney Steven Malman has 21 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, premises liability, construction and workers’ compensation cases. Mr. Malman is one of Chicago’s leading authorities on personal injury law and has taken a special interest in defending the elderly from neglect and abuse. He has personally handled over 10,000 cases successfully, and collected hundreds of millions dollars for his clients.

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