Employers in the commonwealth of Virginia have a responsibility—by law—to protect the health and safety of workers they hire. Failure to do so has resulted in costly penalties and the potential of facing civil litigation in the past, but now the laws have been changed to make the punishment for not providing Virginia workers’ compensation coverage even greater.
Under previous Virginia state law, an employer not carrying a workers’ compensation insurance package to cover the costs associated with a workplace accident could result in a fine of anywhere between $500 and $5,000. According to an article from The News Virginian, the penalties were raised on July 1 to anywhere between $250 per day, per noncompliance, or a total of up to $50,000 in penalties plus collection costs.
These are the first changes to the penalties for failing to carry workers’ compensation coverage in about 20-years and were made in an effort to curb the number of employers who found it cheaper to face penalties in the event of an accident than to carry insurance.
Other changes to Virginia workers’ compensation law that went into effect this month include stiffer penalties for employers who misclassify employees in order to avoid coverage or reduce rates.
The key to these reforms being effective will be holding companies responsible. That means employees who are hurt on the job should report the incident to the proper authorities immediately. The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley also encourage accident victims to discuss their potential rights to compensation with an attorney prior to settling with a workers’ compensation insurer.