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Can you get workers' compensation if you are self-employed?

Being self-employed comes with many perks. You get to be your own boss, create your own work hours and decide how long your commute is. However, it also comes with some downsides. You have to pay your own taxes and be responsible for your own insurance, retirement and other benefits. You may wonder about workers' compensation. While you do not have an employer to handle workers' compensation for you, the Small Business Administration explains that you can get your own insurance. 

Workers' compensation is designed to help you make an income when you are unable to work due to being injured while on the job. In a traditional situation, your employer pays for the insurance, but when you are your own boss, you have to get the insurance coverage. You are not required by law to have it, but it can be a good idea if you work in a profession where injuries are common or if you would have major financial issues if you did get injured and were unable to work. 

Excessive noise damages more than your hearing

If you work in an industry where high levels of noise are prevalent, you likely take precautions to guard your hearing. Perhaps you wear protective ear equipment or limit your exposure to the noise. You may find the drive home in silence much better than cranking loud music after a long day on the job. Not only does the quiet relieve the ringing in your ears, but it seems to allow you to decompress.

That may be because the noise of your job is affecting you in other ways besides damaging your hearing. While you would expect that exposure to loud or prolonged noise would compromise your hearing, new research shows noise may cause other serious health issues.

What's my risk if I give a negative reference for a fired worker?

The following scenario is one many employers in this region have encountered at some point. The hiring manager for another company calls seeking information about a former employee you got rid of or outright fired. What can you say in reference to this individual and what legal risk do you face for anything you do say?

In both Kentucky and Ohio, employers can take heart knowing that they have the benefit of the law on their side. Both states have provisions that extend immunity to employers when giving references. Of course, the fact that protection exists is no guarantee against beingĀ faced with legal action. Effective resolution is most likely with experienced litigation counsel at your side.

Avoiding common mistakes as you start your business

Like many entrepreneurs, you are probably anxious to get your business up and running. It may be a dream come true, and it likely means you can move from having a boss to being a boss. Undoubtedly, there are many things to do before you get your company off the ground. You may have inventory to gather, marketing to arrange and employees to train. It may almost feel like planning a wedding.

Another similarity to wedding planning is the worry about making mistakes. In many cases, an oversight at a wedding can go unnoticed or, at the very least, add charm to the ceremony. However, in the business world, some mistakes can be devastating and may result in failure.

Fraud suspected in man's workers' compensation claims

For many Kentucky employees, access to a good workers' compensation policy is a necessary benefit, especially in industries where employees face a significant amount of risk every day. However, in some cases, people may find ways to take advantage of workers' compensation by filing fraudulent claims in order to reap financial benefits. Unfortunately, while seemingly legitimate at the time, fraudulent behavior of this kind is almost always discovered later on and can result in costly consequences including loss of employment, fines and even jail time. 

In a recent case out of California, an LAPD officer is being charged with workers' compensation fraud. In the initial claim made by the officer, he detailed pain that he described resulted from an on-the-job injury. His claims were made under oath, and soon afterward he was awarded compensation. He was also given time away from work to deal with his injury and regain health. Later on, it was discovered that the officer had participated in certain physical activities for an extended period of time that had played a direct role in his initial injury. Soon after, he was arrested and charged with fraud and perjury under oath. If convicted, the officer could face nearly 6 years of jail time. 

What is a class action lawsuit?

At one point, you have probably received something in the mail about a class action lawsuit in Kentucky or Ohio, but you may not have understood exactly what it is. Class action lawsuits can be confusing because, according to the Ohio Bar Association, they are lawsuits brought by one party for a whole group of people. You may not even be aware of the issue or that the lawsuit was originally filed until you receive a notice. 

The good part is that if the people who filed the lawsuit win, you could get a portion of the damages awarded in the case, which is usually money. This type of case can be filed on the state or federal level. It depends on the statute that is the basis of the case. 

Understanding how non-compete agreements can benefit your company

When you are working to build your business in Kentucky, chances are you have spent considerable time looking for ways to strategically market your product or service without compromising sensitive business concepts. One of your primary points of focus will be protecting your intellectual property from theft. At Gatlin Voelker, PLLC, we understand the unique risks that companies face as they make strategic moves to keep valuable information confidential.

One of the methods you may consider in protecting your company's intellectual property is to implement a non-compete agreement. According to the HR Daily Advisor, a non-compete agreement is a contract between two parties, usually an employer and an employee. The purpose is to form an agreement that states that your employees will not be able to pursue employment with a competitor immediately after leaving your organization should that time come. Having this type of contract in place can provide you with many valuable benefits including the following:

  • Any former employees you may have who played a significant role in your organization's success, may be less prone to use their skillset to benefit competitors.
  • Critical, confidential information that is pivotal for your company's success can be protected.
  • Your employees may have more incentive to maintain their employment with you rather than pursuing other job alternatives. 
  • If employees of your company decide to leave, you have better chances at retaining loyal customers. 

Does your business need non-compete agreements?

As a Kentucky business owner, you know it is prudent to understand the various ways you can protect your legal and financial interests. One of the ways you can do this is by having employee contracts as well as non-compete agreements. Depending on the nature of your business, a non-compete agreement could be a beneficial way to ensure that your proprietary information stays where it belongs.

If you believe that your business could benefit from the protections provided by a non-compete agreement, you may find it useful to seek guidance in drafting these important contracts for your employees. With the well-being of your business on the line, there is nothing to lose by ensuring your property and important information remains safe.

Is worker's compensation necessary for your business?

If you are a business owner in Kentucky, you will be well aware that operating a successful company requires dedicated time and industry knowledge. One of the most critical components of your company is the group of people you have hired to facilitate and execute important organizational activities. These people, your employees, must be carefully trained and educated to understand your expectations and overall vision for your company's growth. Caring for your employees is essential to effectively retain top talent and maintain a competitive edge. Worker's compensation is a valuable investment to make, but it does far more than protect and help your employees. In fact, it can be equally as beneficial for you, especially if you are dealing with an accident or injury that occurred on your job site. 

According to Employers.com, many states have requirements in place regarding an employer's inclusion of a worker's compensation policy. If you fail to implement some type of program, you could be left footing the entire bill, out of pocket, if a worker's compensation claim is filed by an injured employee. Coverage types vary depending on your line of work, but premiums are determined by a number of different things including the following:

  • The history of any accidents that have occurred in your workplace.
  • The total number of employees you have, and the number listed on your payroll.
  • The type of business you are running taking into account any unique risks your workers may face. 

Common lawsuits involving small businesses

As an entrepreneur, you may spend much of your time figuring out the best ways to make your business productive and profitable. A large part of that is eliminating ways your company loses money unnecessarily. This may include reducing expenses, monitoring shrinkage and minimizing your overhead.

However, there is one factor that could result in a significant loss of your profits, and that is through lawsuits. As smoothly and efficiently as you run your business, failing to protect yourself from wasteful litigation can hurt your bottom line and even jeopardize the future of your business.

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Gatlin Voelker,PLLC

Gatlin Voelker, PLLC
2500 Chamber Center Dr. Ste. 203
Fort Mitchell, KY 41017

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