A New Jersey landscaping contractor was charged with fourth-degree failure to provide workers’ compensation coverage for an employee injured on the job.
Richard Hockenberry, owner of Rick Hockenberry Landscaping, was indicted on the fourth-degree charge that resulted in the state’s Uninsured Employer’s Fund paying out $194,582 for temporary disability benefits, medical benefits, legal counsel and other fees.
If found guilty, Hockenberry faces a prison sentence of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000.
Purchased new policy after incident
On Feb. 26, 2018, an employee of Rick Hockenberry Landscaping was injured on the job, leading to a workers’ compensation claim which was filed on May 4, 2018.
As proceeds began for the workers’ compensation case, it was discovered that Hockenberry wasn’t carrying workers’ compensation insurance coverage, as required by state law.
Records revealed that Hockenberry had coverage from Feb. 26, 1977, through Feb. 26, 1993, and only purchased a new policy on Aug. 11, 2018, after the worker’s injury had occurred. That policy was canceled for non-payment of premium on March 10, 2019.