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What Happens If I’m Injured at an “Under the Table” Job?

If you’re injured while working an “under the table” job, where wages are paid in cash and aren’t reported for taxes, seeking compensation for your injuries becomes more complicated. Working under the table does not exempt employers from being held responsible when it comes to workplace accidents, but proving that you’re entitled to workers’ compensation or other types of damages might be challenging and could actually put you at risk legally and financially.

Understanding Under the Table Employment

Under the table employment refers to being paid usually in cash, outside the official payroll system, and without the requisite tax withholdings or employer contributions to social security and other mandatory systems. This type of employment arrangement can initially seem beneficial due to higher take-home pay and less bureaucratic paperwork. 

However, it carries significant risks and disadvantages, particularly concerning legal protections, employment benefits, and long-term financial stability. Workers might find themselves without recourse in situations of workplace injury, unemployment, or retirement, given the lack of documented income and contributions.

Can I Still File for Workers’ Compensation?

Maybe – but it’s complicated. Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect employees who are injured on the job, regardless of who is at fault. But if you’re working off the radar, proving that you are an employee entitled to these benefits can be an uphill battle. To file a claim, you’ll have to prove three key elements:

  • Employment Status: You need to establish that you are an employee, not an independent contractor.
  • Injury: Documentation of your work-related injury is critical.
  • Causation: There must be evidence that your injury occurred as a direct result of your work activities.

Without traditional employment records, such as time cards or pay stubs, proving these becomes incredibly challenging.

Could I Pursue a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If workers’ comp falls through, you might consider a personal injury lawsuit. Unlike workers’ comp, which is a no-fault system, personal injury lawsuits require you to prove that someone else’s negligence caused your injury. This someone could be your employer if they failed to provide a safe working environment, or it could be a third party if they were directly involved.

A potential hurdle in these lawsuits is again the lack of documentation. Without records of your employment and pay, proving lost wages or quantifying damages can be tough. This is where the expertise of a personal injury lawyer becomes not just beneficial, but essential.

Challenges and Considerations of Under The Table Employment 

When dealing with under the table work and filing an injury claim, there are significant legal and financial factors to consider that can complicate the situation. One of the most important things to be aware of is that by deciding into the light to file a claim, you’re also exposing your employer’s shady dealings – and they’re not likely to be pleased. Retaliation can take many forms, from firing to physical threats. 

You’re also opening yourself up to legal inquiries. Being paid off the books is illegal from a tax perspective, and it raises complexities when seeking legal benefits. 

If you have been injured on an under the table job, it is essential to understand your rights and options. Despite the challenges posed by not formally being on the payroll, there may still be avenues for pursuing compensation for your injuries. To navigate this complex situation and protect your interests, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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