While the state of New York ranks as one of the most prosperous and opportunity-filled places in the United States, unfortunately, New York has some of the more draconian workers’ compensation laws that can be found anywhere in the country. If you have hired anyone to do anything that could be described as work on a recurring basis in the state of New York, you may be setting yourself up for potentially devastating liabilities if you have not followed the state’s workers’ compensation laws to the letter.
Many people who hire outside help for their businesses or their personal lives, including regular nannies or landscaping help, are completely unaware of the fact that, in most circumstances, they have just become employers under New York law. The Workers’ Compensation Law of New York requires all employers that are not explicitly exempt from maintaining workers’ compensation insurance through approved carries and at or above minimum levels. Failure to follow this law can lead to catastrophic penalties and judgments being handed down against these employers. And the fact that you may not think that you qualify as a bona fide employer is, unfortunately, no defense.
Many people who hire others to help them with their business and personal activities are unaware of just how broad the definition of employee is with regards to the state’s Workers’ Compensation Law. With a few exceptions, which are explicitly laid out in the law itself, almost any recurring relationship where a party is hired to perform a task that could be described as routine will put that party in an employee-employer relationship with the person or entity that has hired them. This automatically binds the hiring party to the Workers’ Compensation Law. This means that the party doing the hiring is required to have sufficient levels of workers’ compensation coverage from an approved insurance carrier. Failure to comply with this mandate may result in shockingly steep penalties and potentially uncapped personal liabilities that could easily end in financial ruin.
The potential penalties for simply failing to comply with the insurance law, should a given entity’s non-compliance come to the attention of the Workers’ Compensation Board, are fines up to $2,000 per week. And these fines carry the same legal weight as any other government-imposed penalty. Should they go unpaid, the State of New York will almost certainly have a judgment issued against the fined party. At that point, the government can follow all normal collections procedures, including putting liens on real estate, garnishing wages and draining bank accounts. This is a bad situation that can quickly ruin most middle-class New Yorkers.
But the fines for non-compliance are only the tip of the worker’s-compensation iceberg. The real horror stories start when someone deemed by the Board to be a de-jure employee ends up getting seriously injured. At that point, the person or entity deemed to be the employer can become liable for the full costs of medical treatment and lifetime lost wages. At our law firm, we’ve seen individuals and companies ruined from these cases. Often times, any such judgment levied against an ordinary person or small business will immediately force them into bankruptcy, with devastating consequences for their quality of life and future prospects.
Because of the highly complex and counterintuitive nature of New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law, each year, thousands of people become ensnared in the potentially life-altering trap that the law lays out for them. While it isn’t possible to undo mistakes and oversights, hiring the right attorney can make the difference between financial cataclysm and finding a workable resolution.
Our law firm has decades of experience handling some of the most challenging aspects of worker’s compensation law. We know how the board responds to many factors, and we have helped dozens of business owners and individuals dramatically reduce the penalties that they were initially assessed by the board for non-compliance with insurance requirements.
While ignorance of the law is no defense, our law firm has successfully helped many clients mitigate the damages from penalties that they have been assessed through accurately conveying to the Board that there was no intent on the part of our clients to violate the letter or the spirit of the Workers’ Compensation Law. When combined with factual and legal challenges to the bases for assessing the penalties, we have proven that this approach can radically reduce the amount of penalties that someone is assessed.
If you have been assessed penalties related to non-compliance with the Worker’s Compensation Law, the best move you can make is to quickly get in touch with our skilled and experienced lawyers. We can help you successfully appeal your case and find a viable solution.
Todd is a miracle worker who will work tirelessly for you and your family. He is one of the few attorneys i've met - who I earnestly trust to protect me, and who I am happy to refer to our friends and fellow family members. The Spodek Law Group is someone you want on your side, because they will treat you just like family. Todd and his team are available 24/7, and they always answered our calls. Even when we were being irrational, and crazy - they were calm and super helpful. Just call Todd. He gives you a free consultation and is very understanding.- Donna & Robert
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