Protecting Yourself: Avoiding Major Injury and Loss of Life Claims

Industry News,

Protecting Yourself: Avoiding Major Injury and Loss of Life Claims

The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles’ Workers Compensation Insurance Program Offered by Employers Can Save You Money and Help Protect You from Potential Liabilities Resulting From Injury or Loss of Life

By James Coady, Coady Insurance Agency

Lawyers love suing rental housing providers for personal injuries that occur at their properties. Just look at all the billboards and television advertisements “hawking” winning big claims for those who are injured. It’s easy money, and lawyers usually get about 33% of the court award or settlement. That’s why there are over 22,000 personal injury lawyers in California. Why not, when one claim can make them thousands or even millions?

Since personal injury lawyers usually get paid a percentage of claims, they have an incentive to secure very big settlements. You pay those right out of your pocket if you are not insured with a workers compensation policy. Additionally, the State of California’s Fraud Unit may learn of the case and investigate why there was no insurance since that is a crime in California and most other states. Personal injury settlements can sometimes run into the millions while fraud convictions vary depending on the severity of the facts. Fraud Conviction charges and penalties in some recent cases included:

  • For Premium Fraud. $200,000 Restitution, plus 2 Years Summary Probation, and 25 Hours Community Service.
  • Material Representation.  3 Years Summary Probation, $6,000 Restitution, $220 Criminal Fine, and 100 Hours Community Service.
  • Failure to Disclose Material Information. 60 days in county jail, 18 months of probation, $12,560 Restitution, $220 Criminal Fine.

Accordingly, housing providers face huge risks if they fail to secure Workers’ Compensation insurance, misclassify employees or underreport payroll.

  • Those “Sweet James” or “Jacoby & Meyers” like lawyers may come knocking at your door with a personal injury lawsuit being bought on behalf of an employee or uninsured independent contractor if you have no insurance.
  • The California Workers’ Fraud Unit prosecutes uninsured employers and those who misrepresent payrolls or misclassify employees. (Note that investigators in the unit have a “proactive compliance program where businesses are contacted and asked to provide proof of insurance.” This means that the Fraud Unit may just stop by to say hello and want to verify that you have coverage and are properly classifying employees, even if you have not been the subject of a lawsuit.)

So how do you avoid Workers’ Compensation problems like these? First deal with an experienced worker’s compensation insurance company and broker. AAGLA’s arrangement with Employer’s Insurance provides a well-designed program for apartment owners.  There is no substitute for an experienced broker who understands the apartment industry and who can guide you through the “ins and outs” of this area of insurance. An added “plus” to the AAGLA plan is the 5% discount you will receive as a member of AAGLA. Second, determine who is an employee for insurance purposes - this includes managers and anyone else who steps on your property to perform a service, unless they can provide a certificate of insurance.

As a housing provider, you are legally required to carry workers compensation insurance in the State of California. Those who don’t may be asking for trouble by risking their life’s savings if a worker is injured on their property. Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) members are fortunate in that they have an affordable, easy way to protect themselves from financial exposure due to injury or loss of life.

When you hire workers such as day laborers who work at your property, if they should become injured, you may be exposed to liability whether you have hired the laborers as employees or independent contractors.  Despite how you classify your workers, employee or independent contractor, workers compensation coverage helps you to mitigate liability due to claims of injury or loss of life.

The AAGLA workers compensation program offered by Employer’s Insurance makes protecting yourself easy and very affordable. Members automatically qualify to receive a 5% discount on their premiums. The AAGLA workers compensation program also helps defray some of the organization's expenses and, accordingly, helps to fund AAGLA’s programs and advocacy efforts. AAGLA’s program also offers minimum premiums starting at just $750, which is about $350 less than alternatives like the State Fund. Therefore, by insuring with AAGLA’s worker’s compensation program, insured by Employer’s Insurance Company, you are well protected and save money and benefit in multiple ways.

When I first negotiated this program with Employer’s Insurance Company 12 years ago, I saw this as a “win-win” for both members and AAGLA. I’m proud to say that the AAGLA workers compensation insurance program has been a major success with members saving thousands of dollars over the years.

There are many questions you may be asking about worker’s compensation insurance, such as:

  • Do workmen I hire all have their own insurance? How do I find out?
  • What happens if I don’t have worker’s compensation insurance when a worker is injured?
  • Does my general liability policy cover worker’s injuries?
  • How are premiums calculated?
  • Must I go to court if I am not insured?
  • What are the most common injuries in accidents on a landlord’s property?

If you seek answers to the questions above or you are not yet insuring and protecting yourself through the AAGLA workers compensation insurance program, please contact Jim Coady at the Coady Insurance Agency at (562) 400-6839, or email We are experts at workers compensation and other lines of commercial insurance.

James Coady is the owner of The Coady Insurance Agency.  The Coady Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency representing a wide client base and a variety of insurance lines and carriers.  The Coady Insurance Agency has served members of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles for over 25 years.  As an independent insurance agent, The Coady Insurance Agency gives you the ability to choose the best carrier for your insurance needs. Call The Coady Insurance Agency today to obtain a free assessment of your insurance needs with a choice of which package fits you best.  For more information, contact James Coady at (562) 400-6839 or by email at  Executive Director, Daniel Yukelson, recommends James Coady for your insurance needs.