Texas Personal Injury vs. Texas Workers’ Compensation Law
Brian White | March 21, 2017 | Personal Injury
Most states require employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance to cover employee expenses related to on-the-job injuries. Texas, however, does not require coverage. Some employers offer little to no assistance for job-related injuries and illnesses.
Our state allows employers to opt into a worker’s compensation insurance program. If you are injured at work, your employer’s status as a subscriber or nonsubscriber will determine the compensatory process and amount of compensation you receive.
Explore the Differences Between Employer Subscribers/Nonsubscribers
Many differences set employers who invest in worker’s compensation policies apart from nonsubscribers. Some of the most important differences include:
- If an employer carries worker’s compensation insurance, any employee injured on the job can pursue a worker’s comp claim for compensation benefits regardless of fault. An injured employee cannot, however, file a lawsuit against an employer that offers worker’s compensation benefits. Subscriber employers receive immunity from personal injury claims. To collect compensation from employers who do not subscribe to the state’s workers’ compensation programs, employees can only file a formal lawsuit and prove negligence to receive any compensation for an injury.For example, let’s say you fall while stacking boxes on a ladder, sustaining a severe concussion, and miss weeks of work. Even if you were at fault, you will qualify for worker’s compensation benefits. If your employer does not carry insurance, legal action may serve as your only path to fair compensation.
- Workers’ compensation policies provide benefits to cover approved injury-related medical expenses, a certain percentage of lost income, rehabilitation, employee death-related costs, and temporary/partial/permanent disability. It will not cover pain and suffering, all lost income, or other quality of life losses. A formal lawsuit, on the other hand, enables employees to pursue compensation to the full extent of the law. Depending on the nature of the incident and severity of injuries, an employee might recover compensation to cover medical costs, lost wages, future income, and pain and suffering.
- The claims process. Every employee who works for a workers’ compensation subscriber must file a workers’ compensation claim and receive approval for benefits to receive compensation. Per the policy, the employee may need to see an approved physician obtain benefits approvals. The employee must also follow all reasonable treatment recommendations to continue to receive benefits. The entire process often happens within a matter of weeks. Those injured in nonsubscriber settings will likely want to speak to a personal injury attorney to discuss the claims process. An attorney will initiate the claim with a claim notification outlining the accident, injury, and request for compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the claim may settle out of court or go to trial. An employment-related injury claim may take weeks or months to settle.
- Legal representation. The need for legal representation is fairly clear in cases involving nonsubscribers. Attorneys who understand personal injury claims against employers can protect their clients’ rights to fair compensation.
Injured employees may also want to speak to a workers’ comp attorney in cases involving subscriber employers, and every employee retains the right to legal support. Many issues commonly arise in conjunction with workers’ compensation claims. An attorney can protect an employees’ rights to fair compensation under the policy, identify insurance policies that do not qualify for state worker’s compensation subscriber immunity and file legal claims against third parties who contributed to the injury or illness.
On-the-job injuries in Texas can lead to significant confusion for injured employees. Employers should clearly notify employees of their status as a subscriber or nonsubscriber under Texas laws to help employees understand their options.
In either case, injured and ill employees must notify supervisors and file an accident report with the employer to initiate the process. Record as much information as possible about the scene of the incident, safety hazards, and code violations. Keep all medical records, bills, and lost income records associated with the event. Information and records protect your right to compensation through both worker’s compensation policies and personal injury lawsuits.