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Red flag: North Carolina NASCAR owner breaches workers' comp laws

Professional racing is one of the most popular spectator sports in our state. Though an exciting NASCAR race can provide hours of entertainment, drivers and crew members are exposed to significant danger on the job. So, it may come as a surprise to hear that one North Carolina racing team owner has been fined for failing to provide the necessary workers' compensation insurance for his employees over the course of the 2011 season.

The racing team's lack of insurance came to the attention of state officials when an injured worker filed a claim with his employer, HP Racing. Only five days before the initial hearing for the claim, company officials purchased the necessary insurance coverage. Further investigation revealed that the racing team members were not covered by insurance for most 2011 season. Because of the violations, the North Carolina Industrial Commission has leveled fines against the business and its owner.

The state's Workers' Compensation Act requires companies that employ three or more people to carry insurance to protect their employees against workplace injuries and illnesses. This ruling comes as state officials are beginning to pursue penalties for negligent employers. In fact, as we reported last month on this blog, employers could face jail time for failing to follow state laws regarding workers' compensation.

Unfortunately, the injured crew member is still in a state of limbo. The man is awaiting approval for necessary medical treatment from his employer and has been unable to work since the accident last summer. To make matters worse, his condition precludes him from seeking another job, which makes him ineligible unemployment benefits.

When someone is injured on the job, they shouldn't have to wait around or become stressed over being denied coverage by their employer. This is especially true if their employer has knowingly violated state laws designed to protect the health and well-being of employees. Finding justice in this type of situation may require a swift, effective legal claim against the employer for their failure to uphold their obligation to workers.

Source: Motor Sport, "NASCAR-CUP: Phil Parsons and HP Racing Fined in N.C. Workmen's Comp case," June 12, 2012

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