In the State of New Jersey as a business owner, or partner in a business, what would happen if tomorrow you were injured while in the course of your employment and couldn’t work?
Are you covered? Have you protected yourself?
Are your medical bills going to be paid? Are you going to get paid for being out of work? Has your insurance agent properly advised you on your options and the requirements to be protected? Typically we meet with business owners and/or partner of a business and the answers to these questions aren’t the ones you like to hear as they are usually coming at the wrong time; after the work related injury has occurred.
As a business owner in New Jersey, you know that you must carry workers compensation insurance for your employees. This way, in the event an employee of yours is injured in an accident that arises out of and in the course of their employment, they will be protected. Your employee receives the appropriate medical care, temporary disability benefits, if the authorized doctor recommends treatment and indicates the employee can’t return to work, and a award for the injury if there is some measurement of permanent damage. Further, and most importantly, the employee is entitled to future benefits if the condition were to worsen after the granted award. However, ask yourself, who is the most important employee of the business? That would be you.
So, what happens if you get hurt?
“Typically, we are the ones explaining to the client, who is also the business owner, that they are not covered, and, it is that facial expression, I would like not to see in my office which is why I’m writing this article.”
You’re the business owner; do you need to be covered under your workers compensation policy? Well, in my opinion, the answer is very much YES. What happens if you got hurt? Who would cover your medical expenses? Who would pay you for being out of work? You’re the owner. You certainly could continue to pay yourself, but if you are unable to work and generate income for the business what happens then? You could use your own insurance, but there are co-pays and deductibles and that comes out of your pocket. If you were covered all of the medical costs are covered by the workers compensation insurance carrier. Plus, although the medical treatment is controlled by the carrier, you are the owner and the premium payer and have the right to direct where you want to be treated. The other objection I hear is “well, if I had insurance and reported the incident my premiums would go up the following year.” Although that may be true, my response is, wouldn’t you prefer to rest soundly at night knowing that you are protected in the event of…????
To confirm you are covered, there are a couple of important things that must occur. You must specifically tell your insurance agent you want to “opt into” your workers’ compensation policy. You MUST fill out a form and sign it, and if you don’t do that, while you think you may be covered you’re not and are unprotected and vulnerable. In addition, if you have partners, they too must affirmatively “opt into” the coverage. All partners must be on the policy, otherwise the carrier may indicate it to be void and deny benefits. It’s important to protect YOU! You are the most important piece of the puzzle. Don’t find out the hard way that you are uninsured and jeopardize you, your business and your family. If you have any questions as a result of this article or some other legal concerns I encourage you to visit our website at www.gaylordpopp.com, or e-mail me directly at [email protected] or call 609-771-8611. I answer questions like this every single day.