What To Do If You’re Paid Under The Table And Get Hurt At Work

Posted by Nagle & Associates | Oct 15th, 2021 |

Any person who sustains an injury on the job in North Carolina should be able to recover workers’ compensation insurance for their injuries. However, what happens if you are paid under the table and are not officially an “employee” when you sustain a workplace injury? You may not think you can recover compensation for your injuries in these cases, but you can. Here, we want to discuss steps you can take if you are paid under the table and get hurt at work in North Carolina.

Is Workers’ Compensation Required in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires every business that employs three or more employees to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers for the purpose of paying workers’ compensation benefits in the event an injury occurs on the job. This includes those operating as sole proprietorships, corporations, partnerships, and LLCs. 

There are various exceptions to workers’ compensation requirements, including:

  • Certain railroad employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Some farm laborers
  • Federal government employees
  • Various agricultural product sellers

If a business in North Carolina is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance and fails to do so, they could face significant penalties. This includes major fines, misdemeanor or felony charges, and possible jail or prison time.

If You’re Paid Under the Table, You Can Still Recover Compensation

Any employee who sustains an on-the-job injury should be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, a significant portion of their lost wages, and disability benefits in some circumstances.

If an employee is paid under the table, this can create complications when it comes to a workers’ compensation case or a personal injury claim against the employer. However, it is not impossible for an under-the-table employee to recover compensation in these situations. In fact, an injured worker in this circumstance may be able to recover more compensation than they otherwise would have through a traditional workers’ compensation claim.

Workers’ compensation insurance is designed as a “no-fault” system. This means that an individual can recover compensation for their injury regardless of who caused the injury at work. This also protects the employer by preventing an injured worker from filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation. However, when an employer does not carry the required workers’ compensation for the employee because the employee is paid under the table, this opens up the employer to a personal injury lawsuit from the injury victim.

In these cases, an injured worker has to prove that the employer was responsible for causing the injury. They may be able to recover compensation for their medical bills and lost wages as well as pain and suffering damages caused by the injury. Pain and suffering losses are not recoverable through traditional workers’ comp claims. 

Working With an Attorney

If you or somebody you love has been injured on the job but are an under-the-table employee, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled Raleigh personal injury attorney can step in and handle every aspect of your claim. They will investigate the incident, dig into the employer’s workers’ compensation history, and help prove liability for the incident. An attorney can help an injured worker recover the compensation they are entitled to for their losses.