The NC Industrial Commission will be taking a tough line next month against uninsured employers it has ordered to settle claims with injured workers: Pay up or go to jail.
The efforts follow a News & Observer investigation which revealed that tens of thousands of employers required to protect their workers with insurance don’t. And when workers were hurt, the commission has done little to ensure the uninsured employer paid the workers’ medical bills and wages for missed work. Some workers ended up permanently disabled and reliant on Medicaid and welfare to survive.
“In response to the issues you raised, we now have some concrete plans,” said Pamela Young, chairwoman of the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the state agency charged with enforcing the workers’ comp laws.
In addition to the May 22 contempt hearing, the commission will schedule other special hearings to deal with lingering uninsured cases. Commission staff reached out to nearly 100 workers who reported they’ve been injured on the job and whose company didn’t have coverage. Most of those cases had fallen through the cracks because the worker didn’t have an attorney to press for collection.
About 125 uninsured employers who ignored the commission’s orders to pay the worker and penalties will be called back, too.