Employees of a Subcontracted Uninsured Employer Can Still Collect Workers' Comp

The law provides that any entity which sublets any contract for the performance of any work shall obtain from such subcontractor a certificate proving that the subcontractor has workers’ compensation insurance. If the required certificate is not obtained, the company or individual who hires that subcontractor will be liable to any injured employees of the subcontractor. This is true even if the subcontractor or general contractor has fewer than three employees working for them at the time of the injury. (In other situations, North Carolina law generally requires employers with three or more workers to maintain workers' comp insurance coverage.)

This law protects workers who are employed by financially unsound subcontractors who may employ only one or two workers. This law provides that even though the injured worker’s direct employer may have fewer than three employees and may not have any workers’ compensation insurance, the contractor for whom that employee is working is liable to the injured employee. This is true even though there is no direct employee-employer relationship between the injured worker and the general contractor.

The technicalities of the law making a general contractor liable for the employees of subcontractors are rather complex in North Carolina. A consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer can help understand how statutes apply to a case.

The important thing to remember is that if your direct employer has fewer than three employees or otherwise does not have workers’ compensation insurance and you are given the runaround about who the workers’ compensation insurer is or whether there is coverage, do not give up. You can verify if a North Carolina employer has workers' comp here. Also, consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer. If the required facts in your situation exist, chances are your lawyer can obtain full workers’ compensation benefits for you from the general contractor for whom your employer (the subcontractor) was working. This is true even though there is no direct employee-employer relationship between you and the general contractor.