What To Do If You’re Paid Under The Table And Get Hurt At Work

From construction workers to farm or restaurant workers, more people in the workforce get paid cash under the table than you may think. That said, there are a few challenges when getting paid off the books. When it comes to workplace injuries, working under the table can be a bit complicated. These positions tend to involve physical labor and working conditions which can frequently cause work injuries. This could become a problem, as work-related injuries or illnesses can cause major disruptions to your health, finances, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, most injured off-the-books employees either don’t seek medical treatment or end up paying these medical expenses themselves because they don’t know their legal rights. In some cases, though, those paid under the table and injured can still be eligible for workers’ comp in North Carolina.

What is Considered an Under the Table Position?

When an employee gets paid cash under the table, they are getting paid money off the books. Employees working under the table don’t pay taxes, and their alleged employer doesn’t report it. The worker simply does their job and gets paid cash in exchange for services or products provided without any documentation involved. For many, it can be attractive to be paid in cash. In other situations, you have to take the job because it is the only one available. Nonetheless, working under the table may not provide you the same legal protections if you were working on the books, particularly if you get hurt on the job. One of the biggest problems with under-the-table jobs regarding workers’ compensation is that since there is no official record of employment, all or any of the benefits or “rights” of being an official employee are gone – including medical insurance, dental, and workers’ compensation. 

This does not necessarily mean that all hope is lost if you are injured while working under the table. Just because you were paid off the books, your employer is not simply free from responsibility under the Workers’ Compensation Act in North Carolina. In fact, there are many ways to prove an employment relationship. It is a good idea to keep a weekly diary of how many hours you’re working and how much you are paid, considering it will be your responsibility to prove how much you were earning before your injury in a workers’ comp case. 

Can I Receive Workers’ Comp Working Under the Table in North Carolina?

Any time an employee is injured, they can receive financial compensation for the injuries sustained while on the job. Nothing contained within the NC Worker’s Compensation Act disqualifies an injured worker from potentially receiving either medical or indemnity compensation if they are paid in cash or “under the table.” The issue that can arise is that of tax liability. Even if paid in cash, an employee would still be responsible for any applicable taxes. Likewise, an employer may also have tax consequences in this setting. To be clear, the NC Industrial Commission has no jurisdiction over tax-related issues. However, it is an issue that can arise. An injured worker should be mindful of this issue and consult with an experienced attorney to advise them appropriately. Just because you receive a 1099 from your employer, you should not automatically assume that you are not eligible for WC benefits. 

Watch as workers’ compensation attorney, Joey Hodgin, further explains whether those paid under the table (or paid in cash) are eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits in North Carolina:

If You Were Injured While Working Under the Table, You Need a Lawyer To Fight For Your Rights.

The workers’ comp system may have been intended to provide much needed compensation to injured workers. Yet, it seems to work mostly for the benefit of the employer and insurance company. Although being paid under the table creates complications when fighting a personal injury or workers’ comp case, it’s not impossible to win if you have the right team of attorneys on your side. An experienced and highly skilled law firm will know how to work their way around these types of problems and help their clients become the victors regardless of they were getting paid on the books or under the table. Plus, the insurance companies have their own team of highly trained attorneys on their side. Hiring a skilled workers’ comp lawyer will go a long way toward tilting the scales in your favor. 

Contact A Workers’ Compensation Attorney at Henson Fuerst Today

You work hard, and even if you are paid under the table, you still deserve compensation for the work you do. Contact the trusted North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at Henson Fuerst today by calling (919) 781-1107 or by submitting a free consultation form online. Our phones are answered 24 hours, seven days a week. We’re here to help.


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Raleigh Office

3110 Edwards Mill Rd # 100,
Raleigh, NC 27612
P (919) 781-1107
F (919) 781-8048

Rocky Mount Office

2317 Sunset Ave,
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
P (252) 443-2111
F (252) 443-9429
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