Brian White | September 17, 2018 | Non-Subscriber Workers Compensation
If you suffer an injury while working at Costco, you might assume the company will cover your damages through a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, in the state of Texas, you might be wrong. Texas is the only state in the country that makes carrying workers’ compensation insurance optional. Your employer might carry a non-subscriber insurance policy instead – something that makes it difficult for you to receive benefits after an injury.
If you were recently injured while working for Costco in Texas, contact a Houston workers compensation lawyer.
Costco Wholesale Group is a multi-billion-dollar retailer – second only to Walmart as the largest in the world. It is a membership-only warehouse retailer that offers ultra-low prices on goods for members. Costco has hundreds of locations worldwide and thousands of employees. Despite offering fair wages and, as the company puts it, “top-notch benefits,” Costco doesn’t cover its employees through the state workers’ compensation program. Instead, it is a non-subscriber.
Costco’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Solution
Like many of the biggest retailers in the state, Costco takes advantage of Texas’s opt-out policy to save millions in workers’ compensation costs. Costco still carries insurance, but the qualifications of receiving benefits differ from typical workers’ compensation claims. For example, Costco requires injured employees to report injuries by the end of the following business day. Employees must file incident reports within 24 hours. They must also see approved medical centers for treatment.
Navigating Costco’s unique insurance policy as an injured worker can be difficult. Missing a deadline or forgetting a filing requirement could give the insurance company grounds to dismiss or deny your claim – even if you have serious, debilitating injuries. Refusing Costco’s requirement to have a drug and alcohol test after an accident could also result in losing your right to benefits. Work with a workers compensation attorney on your claim if you need assistance.
Common accidents while working at Costco include slip and falls, repetitive motions injuries, strains from heavy lifting, warehouse vehicle accidents, ladder accidents, and items falling from shelves and striking workers. Costco employees may suffer broken bones, lacerations, head/brain injuries, pulled muscles, burns, illnesses, and other harms while performing work-related activities in Texas. When they seek benefits through the company’s insurer, injured employees may find that they have to jump through hoops to receive fair compensation.
Your Rights As An Injured Costco Employee in Texas
If you or a family member suffered injuries while working at a Costco location in Texas, report the accident to a supervisor immediately. Remember, you have just 24 hours to file an official incident report, and not much more to tell a supervisor what happened. Your supervisor should help you file the proper paperwork to bring a claim with the company’s workers’ compensation insurer. Obeying all the rules can put you in the best position to receive compensation benefits. Don’t give the insurance company any reason to deny your claim.
Go see an approved physician or medical facility as soon as possible. Prompt medical care is important for your health and the future of your claim. Follow your claim through your employer. If approved, you should receive benefits to cover your medical costs and 85% of lost wages. If you run into issues, such as the insurer denying your claim or offering less than you believe the case is worth, a personal injury attorney in Houston can assist you.
Note that unlike most states, Texas makes it legal for an employer to let an injured employee go – even if the injury happened while at work. Don’t let this impact your decision to file a claim, however. Your physical health and personal wellbeing are most important. The complexity of Texas’ workers’ compensation laws and the fact that Costco is a non-subscriber should encourage injured employees to seek help from local employment lawyers with experience handling Costco workers’ compensation claims.