Texas businesses operating outside of workers’ compensation benefits, also called non-subscribers, are granted some immunity from regulation. Non-subscribers are given much more room to craft and determine the needs of their company’s employee injury benefit programs, but they still have many regulations to which they must adhere to, both before becoming official non-subscriber entities and once the designation has been attained.
Many of the regulations in place for businesses choosing not to utilize workers’ compensation are in place to ensure the company still maintains an adequate system of retribution for possible injury. The following are a few ways the government ensures that, though non-subscribers are not part of the workers’ compensation system, they still provide protection to their employees.
How Companies Become Non-Subscribers
To become a non-subscriber, a company must annually file a DWC-5 with the Department of Insurance in Texas. It must also advise their employees of the change and post a notice stating the status in both English and Spanish on a bulletin board.
Many companies are drawn toward the non-subscriber path by the lack of governmental fees, the increased likelihood of denying claims, and an increased possibility of involvement in the claim process. One example of a benefit given to employers who are non-subscribers is that they can regulate which doctor an employee can see to verify injury. This is seen as an instrumental tool in fighting against insurance claim fraud by employers and can be very tempting to injured parties.
Major Governmental Agencies Regulating Non-Subscribers
Far from being removed entirely from regulation, companies who choose to decline workers’ compensation benefits are monitored by a host of federal agencies. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, is an agency in place to ensure on the job conditions for citizens of the United States are both safe and regulated. OSHA monitors each non-subscriber, working to make sure employees laboring for these companies are not denied any of their constitutional rights.
Another major federal legislation, The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), also monitors businesses who are non-subscribers to establish certainty that each of these companies provide adequate health coverage to those in their employ.
Employee Injury Protection
Non-subscribers are held highly accountable for injuries that take place on their job sites as they alone bear the costs of the recompense. That said, the government has also taken precautions to ensure these companies can give their workers a fair compensation in the case of injury that precludes them from work.
While they do not pay into a governmental program and therefore do not enjoy the protection it provides, the government has not turned a blind eye to non-subscribing companies’ employee interactions. Multiple agencies, as discussed earlier, work to keep these companies accountable for their job-site injuries. In particular, a written ERISA plan is required for each insured employee, further keeping them shielded from undue injury without recompense.
The Benefits of Working with an Attorney
Working with an attorney can often mean the difference between the claim you have filed being successful and failing. As any injured party knows, medical costs can be extremely high, and if your injury has caused you to miss work, the lost wages will make it even more difficult to cover your own medical expenses.
A personal injury attorney is well-versed in the regulations and laws surrounding companies, businesses, and independent employers who choose to operate as non-subscribers. Having a knowledgeable professional like this on your side is a necessity.