Employer ordered to pay medical bills

Fines imposed for failure to have health insurance

A court ordered the owner of a local construction company to pay compensation for outstanding medical bills after on-the-job injuries were sustained by an employee for whom there was no health insurance. 

Wendel Wendel, the owner of the company, was ordered to pay $1,153.07 in compensation. 

Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez also imposed a fine of $1,000 after Wendel pleaded guilty to failure to effect and continue a standard health insurance contract for the named employee. The period for which there was no insurance was March 15 to April 29, 2013. The employee was injured on March 21, 2013. He complained to the Health Insurance Commission two months later. 

The defendant first came to court in February 2014. He was not represented by an attorney and there were several more mentions of the matter before a trial date was set for Jan. 28, 2015. He had told authorities that the employee had worked for just a short time before the incident occurred in which the man was injured. He said he did not have enough time to apply for the required insurance and by the time he was about to apply, the man had left the company. 

On the day of the trial, Wendel received legal advice and entered his guilty plea. He also pleaded guilty to failure to have a health insurance policy in effect for himself between Aug. 2 and Nov. 5, 2013. For this offense, the magistrate fined him $500 or two weeks in default. 

The default period for failure to pay the $1,000 fine was one month. 

The magistrate gave him one week to pay. 

The case was brought to court by the Health Insurance Commission, which regulates any disputes regarding provisions of the health insurance in the Cayman Islands. 

Superintendent of Health Insurance Mervyn Conolly said he was pleased with the outcome of the case.  

“My department will continue to work to improve health insurance coverage for all workers,” Mr. Conolly said. 

With recent amendments to the Health Insurance Law, fines that may be applied to such violations significantly increased from $5,000 to $30,000 in Summary Court, or $10,000 to $40,000 in the Grand Court. 

Mr. Conolly added, “I therefore hope that the recent rulings by the acting magistrate will serve as a reminder to all employers that it is important to adhere to the health insurance legislation.”