2021 workers’ compensation insurance requirements for each state

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Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, but nearly every employer in the US is required to have some form of coverage for their employees — and states can get very specific about how you handle this essential piece of your HR. For instance, North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming require employers to get coverage through state-owned programs. The other 45 states will permit you to purchase your workers’ comp insurance through a licensed broker. Failure to meet these requirements can result in hefty fines — and potential liabilities to employees who get injured or ill while on the job. 

 

No matter the size of your business, it’s essential to know and adhere to the worker’s compensation insurance laws for your state (as well as a host of other HR compliance requirements). Choose your state from the map above to see what you need to know about workers’ comp requirements for your small business.

Alabama

Updated November 17, 2020

 

If you regularly employ five or more employees, you must obtain coverage with some exceptions. You can obtain insurance from private carriers or — if a high-risk company that cannot buy the policy from a private carrier — purchase from the Alabama Assigned Risk Pool.

 

Alabama employers can also self-insure, meaning they can pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company. To qualify, your business must have a net worth of at least $5 million, positive income over the last three years, and an assets/liabilities ratio of one or greater.

 

Penalties for Noncompliance include fines of $1,000 per employee, per day, for each day that coverage isn’t provided. Penalties could result in jail time, or the closing of business until compliant.

Alaska

Updated November 17, 2020

 

The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act requires each employer with one or more employees in Alaska to obtain workers’ compensation insurance with a few exceptions. Alaska does not have a state fund for workers’ compensation insurance, so employers can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private carriers and can purchase from competitive state funds if they are a high-risk company and cannot buy the policy from a private carrier.

 

If non-compliant, businesses could be fined $1,000 per employee for each day they fail to provide coverage. Criminal penalties could result in fines of $10,000 and one year of jail time.

 

They can also be ordered to close the business until they come into compliance, can be barred from pursuing job contracts in-state, and held liable to pay all benefits for injured employees who should have been covered by insurance.`

 

 

Arizona

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Arizona law requires all public and private employers with at least one (1) employee to carry workers’ compensation insurance. An exception applies to casual employees, domestic workers in private homes, and independent contractors. Some business owners, such as members of LLCs, corporate officers, partners in partnerships, and sole proprietors, are not required to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

 

workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or — if a high-risk company and cannot buy the policy from a private carrier — from a competitive state fund.

 

Penalties for Noncompliance range from $1,000 up to $10,000. If a business does not have workers’ compensation insurance and is sued by an injured worker, the ICA will pay the benefits and then charge the business for reimbursement, including a penalty of either 10% of the benefits paid or $1,000, whichever is greater.

Arkansas

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers in Arkansas with three or more employees are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. If you are in a high-risk industry, such as construction, then you must carry workers’ compensation even if you have less than three employees. 

 

Exceptions to this requirement include agricultural farm laborers, real estate agents, religious, charitable, non-profit organizations, state employees, casual employees, and inmates. A self-employed person in Arkansas is also not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance but may opt to voluntarily purchase a policy.

Employers can purchase workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

California

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Workers’ compensation is mandatory for all employers, even if the company only has one (1) employee. If your business is not in the state of California, but has employees who regularly work in California, you must obtain coverage per California law.

 

Exceptions to this requirement include domestic employees employed by family members, deputy sheriffs or clerks, anyone performing services in return for aid or sustenance only, anyone officiating amateur sporting events, and volunteers at non-profit recreational camps.

 

Sole proprietors are generally not required to have workers’ compensation insurance but may decide to purchase coverage.

 

Failure to carry workers’ compensation is a criminal offense, punishable by a stop order. If your business violates that stop order, you can be fined $10,000 or more. This violation can also lead to a year of jail time.

 

If one of your employees is injured on the job, and you do not have workers’ comp, your business could face a penalty of $10,000 per employee if the case is compensable and $2,000 if the case was found to be non-compensable. There is a maximum penalty of $100,000.

Colorado

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All public and private employers in Colorado, with limited exceptions, must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees if one or more full- or part-time persons are employed. A person hired to perform services for pay is presumed by law to be an employee.

 

Exceptions include a sole proprietor or any general working partner, corporate officer, or member of a limited liability company (LLC), commission-based real estate agents and brokers, independent contractors performing for-hire transportation services, providers of residential host-home services or support, railroad employees not covered under federal law, independent contractors, inmates, volunteers, and drivers under a lease agreement with a common carrier.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance may be purchased from a private carrier, or — if a high-risk company that cannot buy the policy from a private carrier — purchase from competitive state funds.

 

If your business is not compliant, the Division of Workers’ Compensation can issue a cease and desist order, requiring your business to stop all operations until the proper insurance policy has been procured.

 

Fines can be up to $250 for every day without workers’ compensation and if there are multiple violations, up to $500 per day.

Connecticut

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All businesses with one (1) or more employees are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. There are exemptions for household employees who work 26 hours or less per week. Sole proprietors, multiple-member LLCs, corporate officers, and partnerships may elect not to carry workers’ compensation insurance for themselves. However, they must always provide coverage for their employees.

 

Business owners can purchase workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

 

If noncompliant, the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission will issue a stop-work order until your insurance is paid and will impose a fine of $300 per worker per day.

District of Columbia

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers with one (1) or more employees should obtain coverage for all of their employees in the District of Columbia. Employers who have employees located outside the District are required to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy for coverage under the laws of the other states. Sole proprietors, casual workers, and unpaid volunteers are not covered.

 

Business owners can purchase workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance could result in fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Business leaders can also be held personally liable for injuries occurring while the business was not properly insured.

 

Continuous violations of the workers’ comp laws could result in misdemeanor charges, fines, or imprisonment for up to one year.

Delaware

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers with one (1) or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This normally includes corporate officers as well as employees, but up to eight corporate officers can opt out of workers’ comp coverage at any one company.

 

Other exceptions include spouses and minor children of a farm employer not named in an endorsement to the farm employer’s contract of insurance, low-earning agricultural and domestic workers, real estate sales professionals, government employees, and independent contractors.

 

In most cases, Delaware business owners do not have to be included in their company’s workers’ comp insurance plan, unless you’re a sole proprietor, or you’re part of a partnership that owns or manages your firm. It depends on the owner’s on-the-job risks, and whether the cost of acquiring insurance is worth the protection received.

 

Business owners can purchase workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers. If unable to qualify, coverage can be purchased from the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Insurance Plan.

 

Failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance, you may be fined three times the amount equal to the insurance premium you should have paid for one year.

Florida

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers with four (4) or more employees conducting work in the State of Florida are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Specific employer coverage requirements are based on the type of industry, number of employees, and entity organization.

 

Construction businesses of all sizes are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for every employee, including contractors. They can exempt up to three corporate officers if each can demonstrate ownership of at least 10% of the company. In addition, contractors are responsible for ensuring that their sub-contractor provides coverage for their workers.

 

Agricultural businesses with six (6) or more regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal employees that work for more than 30 days are also required to provide coverage.

 

Exceptions include independent contractors (unless construction workers), licensed real estate brokers, musicians and theatrical performers, volunteers (most), some vehicle-for-hire drivers, and some sports officials.

 

Sole proprietors and partners are automatically excluded from workers’ comp law, but they can purchase coverage by filing for election of coverage.

 

Business owners can purchase workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance can result in a stop-work order that requires all operations to stop until compliance and all penalties are paid.

 

The penalty fee is typically two times the amount the business would have to have paid in premium for the last two years.

Georgia

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Georgia requires most employers with three or more full time, part time, or seasonal employees to have workers’ compensation insurance. If the business is incorporated or an LLC, the corporate officers or members are included in the three or more employee count regardless of whether they exempt themselves from coverage.

 

A sole proprietor or partner is not required to have workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia, although he or she could elect to have it. Other exceptions may include railroad workers engaged in interstate or intrastate commerce, farm laborers, domestic servants, licensed real estate agents or associate brokers, and independent contractors.

 

Failure to comply may result in criminal and civil penalties. Civil penalties range between $100 and $1,000 per violation. Failure to provide coverage can cost between $500 and $5,000 per violation.

 

Employers who willfully do not option insurance for their employees can be found guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of between $1,000 and 10,000 or up to a year in jail time.

 

If an employee is injured and the business does not provide workers’ comp, the employer will have to compensate the injured worker by covering all expenses that workers’ compensation insurance would have covered, including legal fees, civil penalties, all medical expenses, plus 10% in compensation.

Hawaii

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Any employer with one (1) or more employees, full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary, is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for its employees except where excluded by law.

 

Exceptions include sole proprietors, partners in a business, any corporate officer who owns at least 50% of the business, voluntary or unpaid workers for a church, charity, school, or nonprofit organization; students working for a school, university, or college in exchange for room, board, or tuition; authorized ministers, priests, or rabbis; domestic workers making less than $225 each calendar quarter, people providing domestic services to public welfare recipients, some 25% stockholders, all 50% stockholders, and real estate salespersons and brokers compensated totally on the basis of commissions.

 

Employers can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

Idaho

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers with one or more full-time, part-time, seasonal, or occasional employees are required to maintain a workers’ compensation policy unless specifically exempt from the law. Workers’ Compensation is required to be in place before the first employee is hired.

 

Exceptions may include sole proprietors, family members employed by a sole proprietor and living in the same household, some family members of sole proprietors who don’t live in the same household may file for an exemption, partners or members of a limited liability company, corporate officers who own 10% of the company’s stock and who are also directors, employees covered under federal workers’ compensation, household or domestic workers, pilots of agricultural dusting or spraying planes

Commission-based associates of real estate firms

Volunteer ski patrollers, athletic officials for grades 7 to 12, irregular or casual employment unrelated to the employer’s normal business, and outworkers.

 

Employers can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private carriers, or — if a high-risk company that cannot buy the policy from a private carrier — can purchase from competitive state funds.

 

Employers who fail to obtain the proper coverage can be held liable for employee injuries and all of the benefits that would have been provided by workers’ compensation insurance. They can also face an additional 10% penalty for medical coverage, wage loss benefits, and the injured worker’s legal fees.

Employers could also face minimum fines of $25 per day (or $2 per employee per day, if greater) for the entire period of noncompliance, as well as potential criminal misdemeanor penalties.

Illinois

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Illinois law requires every business with full-time or part-time employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Sole proprietors, business partners, corporate officers, and members of limited liability companies may exempt themselves.

 

Illinois law requires employers to purchase a policy through an insurance company or obtain permission to self-insure, and can be fined $500 per day for every day of noncompliance. If failure to carry insurance is found to be knowing and willful, it is considered a felony in Illinois. A felony conviction can lead to up to three years of jail time and fines of up to $25,000.

Indiana

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Most businesses with employees in Indiana must have workers’ compensation insurance to provide protection against workplace injuries and illnesses. Unlike workers’ comp laws in some states, the number of employees at a business has no bearing on the requirement. In most cases, you must include yourself in your company’s workers’ compensation coverage, unless you’re a sole proprietor or one of the parties in a partnership.

 

Some people aren’t required to have workers’ compensation coverage. But business owners can elect to include them under their insurance policy. This option applies to local police officers and firefighters under some conditions, reserve police officers, volunteers working for hazardous materials response teams, executive officers of public or nonprofit corporations, owner-operators who provide their vehicles and driver services to a trucking company that transports freight, members and managers of limited liability corporations who actively work in the business, individuals entered into a township, municipality, or county roster of volunteers, volunteers who work at state-owned or operated psychiatric facilities, other employees such as casual laborers, household workers, and farm or agricultural workers.

 

If you’re an independent contractor in the construction trades, those who hire you are not required to provide you with workers’ compensation insurance as long as you meet the IRS tests for independent contractor status. These requirements also apply to independent contractors who are sole proprietors.

 

Some employees are exempt from Indiana workers’ compensation insurance and also are ineligible to elect optional coverage, including railroad employees covered under the Federal Employees Liability Act, employees engaged in interstate or foreign commerce who have access to federal alternatives to state-based workers’ compensation (seamen, longshoremen, etc.), real estate employees (i.e., real estate agents who work as independent contractors for real estate brokers)

Independent contractors (based on a combination of IRS and state guidelines), independent contractors in the construction trades, athletes on scholarship, prison inmates, volunteers, and coaches for youth sports teams.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or if a high-risk company from the Indiana Assigned Risk Pool. Indiana employers can also self-insure, meaning they can pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

Uninsured businesses can face civil and criminal liability in Indiana. Civil penalties can cost uninsured employers up to $50 per day per employee, and your business can be issued a stop-work order until compliant and all penalties have been paid.

 

Since failure to insure is a crime in Indiana, employers who willfully do not obtain coverage can be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to one year of prison time and a fine of up to $5,000.

 

Indiana has a two-year statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims. Meaning an employee can file a claim up to two years after an incident occurred.

Iowa

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Iowa employees are covered by the Iowa workers’ compensation law under most employment relationships. Sole proprietors, partners in a partnership, and members of an LLC that are not employees are not covered by Iowa workers’ compensation law. They may, however, elect to be covered by purchasing insurance that expressly covers them.

 

Other exceptions include household employees earning less than $1,500 during 12 months before an injury, casual employees earning less than $1,500 during 12 months before an injury, agricultural employees where the employer’s nonexempt cash payroll is less than $2,500 for the preceding calendar year, relatives of farm employer and employer’s spouse,and some corporate officers.

 

Business owners can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private carriers or if a high-risk company from the Iowa Assigned Risk Pool. Iowa employers can also self-insure, meaning they can pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

Failure to maintain workers’ comp insurance or to pay required benefits through self-insurance can result in civil penalties of up to $1,000, as well as awards to the injured employee of up to 50% of additional benefits for denying weekly benefits, and the revocation of self-insurance privileges.

Kansas

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Kansas workers’ compensation laws require that all employers carry occupational injury compensation insurance. Exceptions include employers “in certain agricultural pursuits” and those with gross annual payroll of less than $20,000, realtors working as independent contractors, firefighters belonging to a relief association that has waived coverage, and owner-operator vehicle drivers or freight truckers who have their own occupational accident insurance. If the employer is a sole proprietor or a partnership, the wages paid to the owners and any of their family members are not used in the computation of the gross annual payroll.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or if a high-risk company from the Kansas Assigned Risk Pool. Kansas employers can also self-insure, meaning they can pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

Failure to maintain workers’ compensation insurance can result in civil penalties of twice their workers’ compensation premium or $25,000, whichever is greater. The state can also shut down any business that fails to provide coverage.

 

The maximum time allowed for filing a workers’ comp claim is within 200 days from the date of the work-related accident or illness or within 200 days after the employer’s last benefit payment in connection with the incident.

Kentucky

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers with one (1) or more workers are required to maintain workers’ compensation coverage. There are no exceptions for family member employees, temporary, or part time employees. Out-of-state employers performing any work in this state are required to have Kentucky coverage.

 

Exceptions may include agricultural businesses, people or entities employing domestic workers in a private home (with less than two full-time employees), employers with workers covered under federal workers’ compensation programs, members of a religious sect or organization that oppose insurance benefits, or homeowners employing a residential maintenance or repair person for up to 20 consecutive workdays. However, employers can elect to offer workers’ comp insurance to these workers. Workers can also waive their right to workers’ compensations insurance by signing a Form 4 waiver, and filing it with the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance may be purchased from private carriers or if a high-risk company from the state’s assigned risk residual market. Kentucky employers can also self-insure, which means they may pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

Failure to comply can result in a fine of $1,000 per employee, per day in which the business fails to provide mandated coverage. The business can also be shut down until it comes into compliance. Willfully failing to comply can lead to criminal penalties and jail time.

 

Written claims for workers’ compensation benefits need to be filed with the Department of Workers’ Claims within two years of the date of injury or last voluntary payment of disability benefits. For occupational diseases, claims have to be filed within three years of a diagnosis or after symptoms first appear, whichever is earlier. The maximum period to file occupational disease claims is five years after the employee was last exposed to the cause of the disease.

Louisiana

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers in Louisiana are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance even if they only have one (1) employee. This includes part-time, full-time, temporary, or seasonal employees. The few exceptions to this are domestic employees, real estate salespeople, some people who volunteer for nonprofit organizations, musicians and performers, and some public officials.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  if a high-risk company from competitive state funds.

 

Failure to comply can result in fines up to $250 per employee for the initial violation, and $500 per employee for every next violation, up to $10,000 total. A work-stop order can be issued for any business that fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance until the proper coverage is secured. 

 

Employers found to be in willful violation of workers’ compensation laws and regulations can also face criminal penalties and jail time.

Maine

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Every business with employees in Maine is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. There are some exceptions for sole proprietors, independent contractors, maritime employees covered under admiralty law, domestic workers, seasonal or casual agriculture or aquaculture workers provided they maintain at least $25,000 in employers’ liability insurance and at least $5,000 in medical coverage.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  if a high-risk company from competitive state funds. Employers who qualify can also self‐insure their workers’ compensation exposure on either an individual or group basis.

 

Failure to comply may result in liability for medical and death benefits. You can also be charged with a Class D crime, penalized up to $10,000 or 108% of the premium you would have paid for the insurance, whichever is greater. You can also lose their business licenses and/or corporate charter.

Maryland

Updated November 17, 2020

 

With few exceptions, every employer with one (1) or more employees is required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Exceptions include sole proprietors or business partners, independent contractors, and agricultural employers with less than three (3) employees or an annual payroll for full-time employees which does not exceed $15,000.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  if a high-risk company from competitive state funds.

 

Failure to comply may result in fines up to $10,000 and the officers of the company would be liable for the cost. It is a misdemeanor in Maryland to deduct workers’ compensation costs from worker wages.

Massachusetts

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All employers operating in Massachusetts are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees and themselves if they are an employee of their company. The requirement applies no matter the number of hours worked or the number of employees. 

 

Exceptions include domestic employees who work fewer than 16 hours a week, workers on vessels or who are employed by an employer engaged in interstate or international commerce, those working in organized, professional athletics, real estate brokers, commission only salespeople,

Persons employed by an employer engaged in interstate or international commerce, or some independent contractors if the following criteria are met: They do not work under your direct control or supervision, they perform work that is outside the normal course of your business, and they have their own independent business and are therefore responsible for this coverage.

 

Business owners can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to comply may result in a stop-work order and fines of $100 per day (including weekends and holidays) until insurance is procured and the fine has been paid.

 

If the business appeals the state’s stop-work order, they can remain open, but the fine then increases to $250 per day.

Michigan

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All private and agricultural employers and households regularly employing three (3) or more people at a time (full time or part time), or one (1) or more employees for 35 hours or more per week for 13 weeks or longer during the preceding 52 weeks OR with three (3) or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation coverage.

 

Business owners can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to comply can result in the state filing a court order to prohibit the company from hiring new employees until the right coverage is secured, as well as fines of $1,000 or 1-6 months jail time.  Employees can also take legal action in civil court against the business.

Minnesota

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Required for all businesses, with no employee minimum, meaning an employer with only one part-time employee generally must provide workers’ compensation coverage.

 

Exceptions include household employees who are making less than $1,000 over a three-month time span, farm workers who don’t exceed certain income thresholds, as well as the farmer / employer’s immediate family members (spouse, parent, or child), casual employees not permanently or regularly employed.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  if a high-risk company from competitive state funds.

 

Failure to comply may result in fines of up to $1,000 per employee, per week. The state can also prohibit the company from hiring until the proper coverage is secured. If an employee suffers an injury at a time during which insurance was not provided, the business could be ordered to pay back all workers’ compensation benefits to the state with an added penalty equaling 65% of the benefits.

Mississippi

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All employers with five (5) employees regularly employed are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If the employer has less than five employees, coverage may be provided voluntarily by the employer. 

 

Exceptions include domestic and farm labor, independent contractors, farm laborers, federal workers, and employees of non-profit fraternal, charitable, religious or cultural organizations. But coverage can still be provided voluntarily by the employer. 

 

Business owners can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to comply can result in fines up to $1,000, and up to a year of jail time. Employers could also be forced to pay benefits for injured employees themselves.

Missouri

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers with five (5) or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers in the construction industry with one or more employees who erect, demolish, alter or repair improvements must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

 

Exceptions may include leased truck operators in interstate commerce (commercial truckers), farmworkers, domestic servants, family chauffeurs, licensed real estate agents, inmates, volunteers, or some sports officials.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  if a high-risk company from competitive state funds.

 

Failure to comply may result in a misdemeanor charge and penalties equalling three times the insurance premium that should have been paid, up to $50,000.

 

The business would also be responsible for paying for the medical expenses of injured employees. If it is discovered that the business does not have coverage a second time, the resulting charge could be a felony.

Montana

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All businesses in Montana with employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. This applies to all full-time, part-time, seasonal, or occasional employees.

 

Exceptions may include household or domestic workers (unless home healthcare or domiciliary care), casual employees unless they perform core activities of the business, anyone working for aid or sustenance only, amateur athletic officials, professional athletes playing football, hockey, roller derby, rugby, lacrosse, wrestling, or boxing; real estate, securities, or insurance salespeople paid solely by commission with no minimum compensation, door-to-door sellers of home products

Newspaper carriers (must acknowledge no coverage in writing), freelance writers paid by each written piece (must acknowledge no coverage in writing), licensed barbers or cosmetologists working via contract with a cosmetology firm, land professionals in the petroleum industry, licensed horse racing employees and jockeys (must acknowledge no coverage in writing), officers or managers in a private or nonprofit irrigation company or other water-related entity or ditch company, persons working for enrolled tribal members who operate solely within the boundaries of their reservations, petroleum land workers, ministers of a church or member of a religious order, anyone providing companionship or respite care and being paid by the disabled person’s family member or guardian, volunteers, truck drivers, or anyone working for a freight broker as an intrastate or interstate contract motor carrier.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  if a high-risk company from competitive state funds.

 

Failure to comply may result in fines equivalent to double the amount of what would have been paid in premium. The minimum such penalty is $200.

Nebraska

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers with more than one (1) employee must have workers’ compensation insurance.

 

Exceptions may include private industry or state and local government employees, minors, part-time workers, domestic servants, agricultural employees, railroad workers employed by companies engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, and most volunteers.

 

Business owners can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to comply may result in a civil fine of up to $1,000 for each violation, with each day of noncompliance being treated as its own violation.

 

A company’s right to do business in the state could also be revoked, and company leaders could face jail time up to one year.

 

If an injured employee sues for damages in district court, the non-compliant business will lose its common law defenses for the trial as well.

 

Employees must file a workers’ comp claim within two years from the injury / illness date.

Nevada

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All employers who have at least one (1) worker must have workers’ compensation coverage. Under Nevada statutes, a “business” includes any person, firm, voluntary association, private corporation, and public service corporation that hires employees. An “employee” is anyone hired by an employer or through a contract of hire or apprenticeship, including minors, undocumented immigrants, elected and appointed paid public officers, members of boards of directors while providing service to corporations, and musicians either for hire or members of bands and orchestras.

 

Business owners can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to comply may result in fines up to $15,000 in addition to premium penalties, as well as a stop-work order until insurance is obtained.

 

The non-compliant business would also be financially liable for any injuries that happen during the period when their employees are uninsured. The business owner could be held criminally responsible if a work-related injury results in substantial bodily harm or death.

New Hampshire

Updated November 17, 2020

 

New Hampshire law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Every employer who has any employees, full or part-time, is required to cover them with workers’ compensation insurance written by a carrier — even if they are family relations such as daughter, son, or spouse. This requirement also applies to nonprofit organizations.

 

Exceptions may include sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations with no more than three corporate officers and no employees, railroad employees involved in interstate commerce, individuals who provide services related to the residential placement of disabled people, or direct sellers, qualified real estate brokers, agents, or appraisers.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance may result in a one-time fine of $2,500 and a fine of $100 per employee, per day without coverage. The state may also suspend the company from conducting business in New Hampshire until compliant.

 

Employees must file a workers’ comp claim within two years from the injury / illness date. In cases in which an occupational injury or illness emerged slowly and the employee didn’t immediately notice it, the person must file a claim as soon as he or she becomes aware of the problem (or should have become aware by virtue of reasonable diligence).

New Jersey

Updated November 17, 2020

 

New Jersey law requires that all New Jersey employers have workers’ compensation coverage or be approved for self-insurance, even if part-time or seasonal. There are only a few exceptions for employers covered by federal programs and members of limited liability corporations (LLCs), partners in partnerships, and sole proprietors who don’t employ other people. Coverage is not required for contractors, interns, and volunteers. 

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance may result in financial penalties up to $5,000 for the first 20 days of noncompliance and up to $5,000 for each 10-day period thereafter. The penalties are delivered in the form of liens against the business, prosecuted through seizure of property.

New Mexico

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All businesses that employ three (3) or more workers are required to have coverage. This includes owners if they work in the business, as well as family members, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers. Agricultural employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. New Mexico also requires coverage for all employees engaged in construction activities.

 

Exceptions include sole proprietors and corporate officers, independent contractors (unless in construction), domestic workers, a willfully negligent employee, inmates, and casual workers.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  — if a high-risk company — from competitive state funds. Employers can also self-insure, meaning they can pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

If your business is found to be non compliant, the WCA’s Employer Compliance Bureau will contact you and request voluntary compliance. Continued failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance can result in a shut down of the business until proper coverage is obtained.

New York

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers operating in New York State are required to have workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, with limited exceptions. Employers are required to obtain and keep in effect workers’ compensation coverage for all employees, even part-time employees and family members that are employed by the company. It is also required that employers conspicuously post a notice that indicates its workers’ compensation insurance coverage, including the name, address, and phone number of the insurer, with the employer’s policy number.

 

This includes part-time employees, but exceptions may include contractors employed by another company, domestic employees working less than 40 hours per week, babysitters and minors over the age of 14, clergymen, employees of municipalities not engaged in hazardous employment, longshoremen and harbor workers, railroad employees, and sanitation workers, firefighters and police officers in the employment of the City of New York.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  — if a high-risk company — from competitive state funds.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance for five or fewer employees within a one-year period can result in fines of between $1,000 and $5,000. Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance for six or more employees is a felony punishable by fines of $5,000-$50,000.

 

If convicted of failing to secure coverage twice in the span of five years, the fine would be between $10,000 and $50,000 and could include other penalties. 

 

The statute of limitations is two years, beginning either from the date of injury or the date that the employee should have reasonably become aware of a work-related injury. The statute of limitations for work-related hearing loss is very different, in that a worker cannot file a claim until 90 days after the loss occurs.

North Carolina

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All businesses that employ three (3) or more employees, including those operating as corporations, sole proprietorships, limited liability companies and partnerships, are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.

 

Possible exceptions include casual workers, independent contractors, real estate brokers and agents, board members, newspaper deliveries, railroad workers covered under federal policies, domestic employees, farm laborers, and commission-based sellers of agricultural products.

 

Business owners can buy workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance can result in fines of one dollar per employee per day, with a $50 per day minimum and a $100 per day maximum, regardless of the number of employees.

 

While charges of neglect are generally considered misdemeanors, willful violations could result in felony charges. The business could also be held liable for the compensation owed to an injured worker and could face criminal charges.

 

The business would also be responsible for medical treatment costs and wage loss benefits in the event of an injury, with no payment of defense costs by insurance if the employee was to sue the business.

 

The workers’ compensation statute of limitations in North Carolina is two years from the date of the injury. If the injured person does not file the Form 18 claim within that time, the claim will not be able to be processed.

North Dakota

Updated November 17, 2020

 

North Dakota law requires businesses (with limited exceptions) to have workers’ compensation insurance prior to hiring their first employee. 

 

Possible exceptions include owner, partner, corporate officers or spouses, employer’s children under the age of 22, certain licensed real estate brokers, newspaper delivery personnel, farm and ranch labor, certain custom farm operations, household domestic workers,employees engaged in the operation of a place of worship, and federal and railroad employees.

 

North Dakota uses a monopolistic state fund, meaning all employers, no matter how risky the industry, are guaranteed coverage under the state insurance program. There is no private insurance marketplace in the state.

 

Businesses that fail to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance will be liable to pay the premium for all employees during the uninsured period, as well as the cost of all claims that arise during the uninsured period. Such business can be sued by employees who are injured while uninsured.

 

The state can also issue a stop-work order for non-compliant businesses and charge a one-time $10,000 penalty, with an additional $100 charge for every next day of noncompliance.

Ohio

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All employers with one (1) or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage with exceptions for domestic workers or volunteers.

 

Ohio uses a monopolistic state fund, meaning all employers are guaranteed coverage under the state insurance program, no matter how risky the industry. There is no private insurance marketplace in the state.

 

Because the state sets a premium and sends every business a payment schedule, a failure to pay on-time or any lapse in coverage results in a fine of 1% of the premium due.

 

Failure to pay the premium results in a $30 fee and a charge of up to 15% of the premium due, depending on how late the payment is received.

 

The statute of limitations to file a claim is one year from the time of injury.

Oklahoma

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Every employer, with a few exceptions, is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance for its employees.

 

Possible exceptions include sole proprietors, volunteers, domestic servants, leased truck and tractor-trailer operators, agricultural or horticultural employees, workers not using motorized machines (if working in firms with less than $100,000 in payroll in the prior calendar year), federal government employees (or anyone covered under workers’ comp under any act of Congress), licensed real estate sales associates or brokers working on a commission basis, employees who are part of a Department of Human Services work or training program, employers with employees who are all related by blood or marriage (must be fewer than five employees). 

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  — if a high-risk company — from competitive state funds. Oklahoma employers can also self-insure, meaning they can pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance can result in a $1,000 fine for each day employees are uninsured. Noncompliant businesses can also be held liable for injured worker lawsuits and open to civil litigation. The state can issue a work-stop order that lasts until the business purchases coverage and pays all its penalties.

 

Employees must file a workers’ comp claim within two years from either the date of injury or death, the last date of payment of any compensation, or the date on which authorized medical care began.

Oregon

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Oregon requires that every employee, whether full- or part-time, must be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. Possible exceptions may include inmates or wards of a state institution, and casual employees. If you hire people as independent contractors, they must meet the legal description of an independent contractor

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  — if a high-risk company — from competitive state funds. 

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance can result in a penalty of twice the amount of the premium that should have been paid, with a minimum fine of $1,000. If the business remains non-compliant, additional penalties of $250 per day, without a limit, would ensue. Failing to provide coverage for an extended period could lead to jail time.

 

Oregon employees must inform their employer as soon as possible when an injury has occurred. For most injuries, the Oregon statute of limitations requires that a workers’ comp claim be filed within one year from when the worker first discovered the work-related injury. The employer is required to notify the insurer within five days of an insurable incident.

Pennsylvania

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Workers’ compensation insurance coverage is mandatory for all employers who have one (1) or more employees, whether they’re part-time or full-time, or seasonal, and including family members. Only casual employees are exempt from coverage.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  — if a high-risk company — from competitive state funds. 

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance can result in civil and criminal penalties. The employer can be found guilty of a misdemeanor, and could face jail time and fines up to $2,500. If the violation was found to be intentional, the fine can be up to $15,000 and the employer could face up to seven years in prison.

 

If an employee is injured while the business is uninsured, the state fund will pay benefits, which the employer will later have to repay including interest, penalties, and various fees. Businesses can also be sued by injured employees if workers’ compensation insurance was not provided.

 

The statute of limitations to file a claim petition for an injury sustained on the job in Pennsylvania is three years from the date of injury. However, the employee is required to seek treatment with an approved provider within 90 days after the injury.

Rhode Island

Updated November 17, 2020

 

With limited exceptions, employers with one (1) or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Possible exceptions include sole proprietors and partners, state employees, certain real estate workers, agricultural workers, and domestic service employees and casual employees.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  — if a high-risk company — from competitive state funds. 

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance can result in a $250 fine and an additional fine of $1,000 for each noncompliant day.

 

Employers can also face a felony charge, which can lead to a potential two-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine. The state can also shut down your business until coverage is acquired.

 

In Rhode Island, employees in most cases must file a workers’ comp claim within two years of the injury. The Rhode Island statute grants some flexibility on the length of this period based on the nature of the case.

South Carolina

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Any South Carolina employer who regularly employs four (4) or more full-time or part-time workers is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. 

 

Exceptions include agricultural employees, railroads, and railway express companies and their employees, and employers who had a total annual payroll during the previous year of less than $3,000, regardless of the number of workers employed during that period. These are exempt.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private insurance carriers.

 

Businesses that fail to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance can be mandated by the state to cover all claim costs if one of their uninsured employees is injured on the job.

 

It’s the employee’s responsibility to notify the employer of an injury within 90 days of the injury. The injured employee may file a claim within two years with the WCC.

 

If the employee fails to notify either the employer or the WCC within these timeframes, they forfeit their right to make a claim.

South Dakota

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All businesses must provide coverage for employers, except those that can qualify for one of the few exceptions, including domestic servants (working less than 20 hours in any week and for less than six weeks in a 13-week period), farm or agricultural workers, or workers whose duties don’t fall into the usual trade, occupation, profession, or business of the hiring employer.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance may result in legal action from injured employees. Injured employees can sue uninsured businesses for all applicable medical expenses incurred due to the incident, plus twice the amount of disability income or death benefits allowed under state law.

 

Employees must file a workers’ comp claim within one year after the accident date. The deadline can be extended if your firm provided medical treatment for the injury or if the employer is able to keep working.

Tennessee

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Every employer in the state of Tennessee that has five (5) or more employees must secure workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Family members, part-time employees, and corporate officers are included when determining the number of employees if they meet the definition of employee. All employers in the construction business or trades (construction service providers) and employers in the coal mining industry that have one (1) or more employees unless they are specifically exempted must also secure workers’ compensation insurance.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private insurance carriers. The state does not offer a state insurance fund, but high-risk businesses that can’t find insurance through a private carrier can receive coverage from the NCCI, which administers Tennessee’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Plan.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance could result in fines of  $10,000 or more. Noncompliant businesses may also face a 25% penalty to an injured worker for not paying the state’s mandated temporary disability benefits.

 

Employees must file a workers’ comp claim (Form C40B) within one year of the date of injury or illness.

Texas

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Texas does not require an employer to have workers’ compensation coverage. Only businesses that contract with government entities are required to buy coverage. Private employers can always choose to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

 

There are no penalties for not having workers’ comp insurance for private companies, but businesses must provide a safe workplace and take all reasonable steps to protect their employees. Even if the business does purchase insurance but does not comply with its requirements, there are administrative penalties that can be issued.

 

In the event of an injury, it’s the employee’s responsibility to notify the employer within 30 days of the injury so that their employer has the opportunity to resolve the issue or take any necessary steps to remediate the situation. An employee must file a workers’ compensation claim within one year of the date of injury to be eligible for benefits.

Utah

Updated November 17, 2020

 

With a few exceptions, every employer in Utah is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for all its employees. Some agricultural employees, casual or domestic employees, and some real estate and insurance brokers are exempt from coverage.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  — if a high-risk company — from competitive state funds. Utah employers can also self-insure, meaning they can pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance could result in a penalty of at least $1,000, a legal injunction against doing business in the state, and the loss of the protection from getting sued for injury benefits that insurance provides.

Vermont

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Workers’ compensation coverage is required for all employers with few exceptions.

 

Possible exceptions may include sole proprietors or partners in unincorporated businesses, and corporate officers can opt out with the permission of the Vermont Department of Labor. Casual workers – meaning those who are not employed in the core functions of the business – are exempt. A person working in agriculture or other farm jobs whose employer has an aggregate payroll of less than $10,000 in a calendar year, and certain elected officials and volunteers are also excluded from coverage.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  — if a high-risk company — from competitive state funds. Businesses can also self-insure, meaning they can pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

Businesses that fail to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance could pay a civil penalty of $100 for each day without coverage, up to a maximum of $5,000. The state can also shut down the business until the proper coverage is secured.

 

Employees must file a workers’ comp claim within six months of the injury. That period can be extended if they can prove the employer had prior knowledge of the precipitating incident.

Virginia

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Every employer who regularly employs two (2) or more full-time or part-time employees (including independent contractors) is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The only exception is for casual employees who are not employed within the usual course of the employer’s business.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private carriers or  — if a high-risk company — from the Virginia Assigned Risk Pool. Businesses can also self-insure, meaning they can pay their own workers’ compensation claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance could result in a civil penalty of $250 for each day without insurance, up to a maximum of $50,000.

 

Employees with injuries must file a workers’ comp claim no later than two years after the injury. The state will not offer an extension if you discover an injury or illness after the claim deadline.

Washington

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Workers’ compensation insurance is required for every employee, including part-time workers. Workers’ compensation benefits can cover medical and hospital expenses, cover partial wage replacement, prescriptions related to the injury or illness, some travel for medical procedures or appointments, reimbursement for lost or damaged property, permanent partial disability and permanent total disability,and job retraining and assistance finding work after an injury.

 

Some possible exception to this requirement may be workers for businesses registered within the Registration of Contractors, licensed electricians, domestic servants, home gardening and maintenance workers, workers performing services in return for aid or sustenance, sole proprietors or partners, minors employed by parents in agriculture

Jockeys, corporate officers, entertainers, and newspaper deliveries.

 

Washington uses a monopolistic state fund, meaning all employers, no matter how risky the industry, are guaranteed coverage under the state insurance program. There is no private insurance marketplace in the state.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance could result in a civil penalty of $250 for each day without insurance, up to a maximum of $50,000.

 

The workers’ compensation statute of limitations is one year from the date of injury. If the worker has an occupational disease, the statute of limitations is two years from the date it was discovered.

West Virginia

Updated November 17, 2020

 

All employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. 

 

Possible exceptions include domestic servants, agricultural employers of fewer than six full-time employees, church workers, casual employees, employees engaged in organized, professional sports activities, volunteer rescue or police, federal employees, and longshore and harbor workers.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance can result in fines of $500 or more on the first offense and up to $25,000 for subsequent offenses. A stop-work order could be issued as well. If the business does not pay workers’ compensation contributions, there will be a late penalty of 10% of the computed tax, plus interest – a fee of between $50 and $500.

 

A workers’ compensation claim must be filed within six months from the date of your injury. It can be within three years from the date of diagnosis of an occupational disease or illness, or three years from your last exposure to the hazardous condition that caused your illness. If an employee misses that six-month deadline, he or she might forfeit their right to receive benefits.

Wisconsin

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Employers must have workers’ compensation insurance if they usually employ three (3) or more full-time or part-time employees. You must have insurance immediately upon employing a third person. If you employ one (1) or more full-time or part-time employees to whom you have paid combined gross wages of $500 or more in any calendar quarter for work done at one or more locations in Wisconsin, you must have insurance by the 10th day of the first month of the next calendar quarter. If you are a farmer who employs six (6) or more workers on the same day for any 20 days during the calendar year, you must have insurance by the 10th day after the 20th day of employment. 

 

Possible exceptions may include domestic workers, volunteers, some farmworkers, employees of Native American tribal enterprises, most real estate brokers, agents, and salespersons, and some federal workers

 

Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from private insurance carriers.

 

Failure to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance can result in a penalty equal to twice the insurance premiums the business should have been paying or $750, whichever is greater. The business can also be closed by the state until coverage is secured. The employer would also be personally liable for costs related to injuries that occurred while the business was uninsured.

 

Employees with injuries must file a workers’ comp claim no later than two years after the injury or within 12 years if the employer knew about the injury (or should have known). No statute of limitations applies to occupational diseases and some traumatic injuries.

Wyoming

Updated November 17, 2020

 

Most employers in Wyoming are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees. 

 

Possible exceptions include casual laborers, professional athletes, an employee of a private household, private duty nurses working for a private party, employees of the federal government, volunteers working for certain organizations, adult or minor prisoners or probationers, elected public officials or appointees to government boards or commissions, owners and operators of a motor vehicle that has been leased or contracted to a common carrier (transportation company) and who are treated as independent contractors for federal payroll tax and withholding purposes, foster parents providing child-care services for the Wyoming Department of Family Services or other certified child placement agency, individuals providing child day care or babysitting services subsidized wholly or in part by the Wyoming Department of Family Services (commercial child-care workers are not exempt), and iIndependent contractors.

 

Workers’ compensation coverage must be purchased through the State fund.

 

Employees with injuries must file a workers’ comp claim within one year from the date of injury, or within one year after an employee receives a medical diagnosis for his or her job-related injury or illness, whichever is later. If the injury is the result of exposure to a hazard, employees must file their claim within three years from the date of last exposure.

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