North Carolina is Cracking Down on Uninsured Companies
One of the biggest obstacles North Carolina currently faces is that many businesses try to “cheat” the workers’ compensation system by not having insurance. State law requires all companies with three or more employees to have workers’ compensation insurance, and clearly dictates that criminal fines will follow if they’re caught without coverage.
According to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, auditors identified at least 150,000 North Carolinian workers employed by businesses that do not have workers’ compensation insurance. The problem with not having insurance is that it affects everyone, forcing rule-abiding employers and tax payers to foot the bills through programs like Medicare and Medicaid. To help with this ongoing issue, investigators from the commission are checking up on companies and administering fines to uninsured businesses. Since early 2014, they’ve collected more than $2.4 million in fines, compared to $500,000 in 2012 and 2013.
One of the most common reasons companies fail to obtain workers’ compensation coverage is because they misclassify their employees as “independent contractors.” In these cases, the state foregoes millions in uncollected income and payroll taxes. According to the News & Observer, $467 million in state and federal taxes are lost each year in North Carolina from misclassification fraud in the construction industry alone! By not meeting state obligations, on-the-job injuries become the misclassified employees’ responsibility, which can result in them losing their savings, cars, and homes in the process of rectifying the damage. The Industrial Commission is aware of this problem, too, and is working on legislation (Senate Bill 694and House Bill 482) that would crack down on these types of employers. The legislation would create a new misclassification department within the state government to identify companies guilty of malfeasance and punish them with significant penalties and fines. House Bill 482 would also permit state officials to issue a Stop Work Order when misclassification is discovered on a jobsite.
At Prior, Criner & Edwards Attorneys, we often have clients come to us that are facing misclassification firsthand. It’s a very frustrating and challenging issue that we wish no employee had to face, but we hope the legislature will soon act to address this problem in North Carolina. Until then, we encourage you to reach out to our workers’ compensation lawyers about any problems you may be facing or questions you might have about your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our attorneys.
Our attorneys specialize in workman's comp, personal injury, and dispute resolution services.
We have have a long history of building long-term client relationships founded on trust and mutual respect.
With over 25 years of experience in civil litigation and thousands of cases mediated, Frank specializes in the fields of workers compensation and personal injury law.
Sherman Lee Criner
Sherman is Licensed to Practice Law in North and South Carolina. He has extensive education in law and the mediation practice, professional experience and impressive memberships in many noteworthy political, civic and business organizations.
Ashley M. Edwards
Ashley is a NC attorney and certified mediator in North and South Carolina, Ashley has represented hundreds of clients and mediated thousands of cases for attorneys, insurance carriers and private companies.
“These guys are awesome and care about their clients very much. I would suggest anyone hurt on the job to contact them. Cannot express my appreciation enough to them!"
“Ashley Edwards genuinely cares about his clients and holds himself to the highest standards in all of his professional interactions. I am happy to recommend him to anyone who needs help navigating the workers compensation process."
“Ashley has been practicing compensation law in the greater Wilmington area for 15+ years. I have often turned to him for advice and counsel. He knows the law, is trustworthy, listens to his clients, and fights to do the right thing for them. He is my first call!"
“Mr Edwards made my case feel like it was his most important case. He is so caring and attentive."
“This was the first and only law firm I contacted after being injured. Everyone there has been on point concerning my case and extremely professional. I highly recommend contacting workers comp first if injured. It will be as if it's the most important case they have and they will not disappoint. Thank you to the entire team."
“Wonderful Experience under difficult circumstances. They helped me understand my rights and options under the law. Mr. Edwards took the time to help and meet with me whenever I had questions. He is highly recommended for his expert advice and service. "
“This is the place to go if you get hurt on the job Ashley and his paralegal Janet are really nice and super easy to talk to and they take the time to really listen to your problems and get you the help you need and deserve."
“They came out took out time to listen very smart he knows what he's talking about he heard me out and took my case under difficult sircumstances and i highly advise this is the law firm to consider."
“Sherman is one of the best mediators that I know---he is extremely proficient in Workers' Compensation Law and he is an outstanding communicator. I give Sherman my highest rating!"
“Great Experience with a caring lawyer who took the time to actually meet with me. He handled my case to the end and explained everything. Highly recommended."
“Ashley is very knowledgeable and relatable to his clients, to opposing counsel, and to all parties when acting as mediator. "
“Ashley didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear but he always told me the truth. He is very knowledgeable and professional... I would highly recommend Ashley if you feel the need to hire an attorney. "
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