Wisconsin workers know that if they have suffered a work-related injury that they will have coverage under the state’s workers’ compensation (WC) laws. Both public and private employers must provide WC to their employees, with the only exceptions being for some federal employees, railroad workers, or seamen, and for certain types of work such as domestic, religious, or non-profit employment, or for work in Native American tribal communities.
Unfortunately, not all employers are following the law, and some choose to operate their businesses without workers’ compensation insurance. If you have been injured on the job and discovered too late that your employer has not provided WC to you, it can come as quite a shock. For residents of Appleton and surrounding areas, it is important to have the legal resources to fight for your rights if you are experiencing delays, denials or processing issues when filing a claim.
What is the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF)?
When an employer operates a business outside the law by not providing WC insurance to their employees, the Wisconsin Department of Workplace Development assesses mandatory fines and reimbursement as directed under state law. The department collects penalties using aggressive measures such as warrants, levies, or garnishment against such employers to fund the UEF.
Injured workers who discover that they do no have WC coverage through their employer can file a claim with the UEF instead. Along with the UEF claim application, they should be prepared to provide:
- Payroll or check stubs
- Bank records
- Wage statements
- Tax returns
- Medical or rehab records and related bills
The department will conduct an investigation and respond within 14 days of submission of the UEF claim with a first payment or explanation of claim denial.
What injuries does Wisconsin WC law cover?
Wisconsin’s WC laws recognize physical or mental harm to a worker from exposure to disease or accidents causing immediate or chronic injury, such as:
- Physical injury such as scratches, sprains, hernia, stiffness, amputation, paralysis, hearing or vision loss.
- Mental injury such as brain hemorrhage, emotional stress, or nervous disorders.
- Sudden accidental injury.
- Occupational disease from a job-related activity.
For a claim to be successful, the worker must have suffered from an injury or disease as part of their work duties. This can also include traffic accidents occurring while on company business, injuries offsite while performing work duties, harm that occurs on the job during breaktime or lunch hour, or while walking on the steps or property of the company.