More Lessons in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation: Senator’s Company Shut Down for Lack of Insurance

January 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you are an employee, you expect your boss to carry North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage helps pay for damages and disability costs if/when you (or your co-workers) get hurt on the job. State law compels most employers to carry this coverage. So you would expect that most business owners would comply.

However, that’s often not the case!

As we saw in a recent blog post about Jay-Z’s fracas with the Workers’ Compensation Board of New York (the rapper was hit with an $18,000 bill for failing to have workers’ comp for his domestic employees over a two-month period in 2009), even the most wealthy and well-educated business owners often do not understand their obligations under North Carolina workers’ compensation law.

You might be tempted to give Jay-Z a pass on this. After all, he is a rapper and musician – not a lawyer. But you might be shocked to know that even lawmakers themselves often violate the laws they create.

Consider, for instance, Vermont State Senator Bobby Starr, whose company, E. Starr Trucking, was shut down on December 20 pursuant to its failure to acquire adequate workers’ compensation insurance. Judge Robert Bent granted a permanent injunction against the firm, sparking much chatter among citizens and state labor officials. On paper, the situation is not particularly huge, especially when you consider it in light of some of the more flagrant North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud cases that we’ve talked about in this blog.

On the other hand, quotes like this from the Burlington Free Press are kind of disturbing: “Starr said he didn’t know whether he and his son would get the insurance or ‘just switch everything to the other company’ that carries the insurance.”

Obviously, business owners must make complicated decisions in a fluid environment. Hurt and injured workers should be mindful of the complexities that entrepreneurs face. On the other hand, if you’re a lawmaker, shouldn’t you have a grasp of your company’s legal obligations? Shouldn’t you be able to prevent problems like this from occurring? A permanent injunction against your business is, by most accounts, a black eye.

Of course, lawmakers, like all of us, are often all too human. This system is complicated. Opportunities for error abound. This is why it is so critical for hurt and injured workers to team up with a reputable North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm to identify best practices and protect their rights using every tool and strategy the law allows.

More Web Resources:

Permanent Injunction against Starr’s United, Inc.

E. Starr Trucking Website