For injured employees, the Texas Worker’s Compensation system can be a double-edged sword. While a worker injured on the job should have their medical expenses paid under the scheme, the competition for human damages is very limited.
There is a schedule of benefits that determines the amount of nonmedical expense compensation that injured worker can receive in Texas. Under the law in the state of Texas, employers can opt out of carrying workers compensation. Certain notices must be published and employees should be notified at the time they accept a job that employers not providing workers compensation coverage.
Employers who do not carry workers compensation are known as “nonsubscribers” and as such they are not entitled to the protections under the law that an employer in Texas receives when an injured employee is covered by Worker’s Compensation insurance. In short, if the employer does not carry workers compensation the employee must prove some negligence on the part of the employer in order to win a nonsubscriber lawsuit.
According to the Texas Department Of Insurance:
“The Texas workers´ compensation system is the method by which covered workers are compensated for work-related injuries or illnesses. An employer´s insurance company or certified self-insurance plan pays scheduled benefits for work-related injuries, even if the injured worker´s negligence contributed to the accident. Texas law does not require workers´ compensation. However, your customers may require you to carry it.”
What do you workers compensation program does in the state of Texas is provide a mechanism where workers injured on the job can be treated medically and not worry about the costs of their medical expenses. As stated above, the worker does not have to prove that the employer was negligent to collect under workers compensation.
What Worker’s Compensation does do is provide an exclusive remedy for the employee against the employer. In other words, if the employer is covered by Worker’s Compensation, the employees to what the workers compensation schedule will pay for their actual damages against the employer.
In other words, workers compensation gives the employer freedom from being sued by their employees are injured on the job and covered by Worker’s Comp.
While employers have a duty under Texas law to make sure the workplace is safe for their employees and the employees are provided with adequate equipment, not all accidents are solely the fault of the employer or the employee.
Other Non-Workers Compensation Policies
According to the Texas Department of Insurance’s website:
Texas law doesn’t consider alternative policies and coverage bought from unlicensed insurers – including surplus lines insurers – as workers’ compensation. An injured employee covered by an alternative policy may still be able to sue an employer for damages resulting from a work-related injury.
Alternative accident and health policies contain dollar limits and time limits. If expenses exceed the limit, the employer may be responsible for paying the remainder. Workers’ compensation policies cover all related medical expenses even if an expense occurs years after the accident.
Third Party Claims
Some accidents are the result of negligence or neglect on the part of a “third party” who is not employed by the injured worker’s employer. In this situation and in some instances the third party can be sued for damages sustained by the injured worker.
There are certain exceptions to the third-party liability and speaking with an experienced Houston personal injury attorney is a good first step.
An example would be where worker is injured by a dangerous piece of equipment or where an employee of another company was the cause of the injury.