In most states and with most employers, if you are hurt on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under most circumstances regardless of who was at fault for the injury. However, Texas is the only state that does not require employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits to their injured employees.
In Texas, an employer that opts out of the workers’ compensation system by not carrying workers’ compensation insurance or provide self-insured workers’ compensation benefits are called “nonsubscribers.” Employees of nonsubscribers who are hurt on the job cannot get workers’ compensation benefits. Instead, unlike employees covered by workers’ compensation, they may sue the employer for damages if the injury was caused by the negligence of the employer or a fellow employee.
Nonsubscribers in Texas include both small companies, like some construction contractors, and large companies, like several national retail chains and hospitals. Some nonsubscribers provide alternative benefits for their employees, such as private accidental injury benefit plans, while others provide nothing.
So what should you do if you are hurt and your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage? First, you should seek immediate medical attention, and make sure to report the injury to your employer. You should also find out whether your employer provides accidental injury benefits. Understand that many health insurance policies do not cover on-the-job injuries.
You should also consult with an experienced attorney in order to understand your rights. Private accidental injury plans lack many of the protections provided under the workers’ compensation system and contain pitfalls that could cost you your benefits. Your boss may also threaten to fire you if you make a claim against the employer for your injuries, and need to understand your rights under Texas laws that restrict employers from firing or discriminating against employees who make claims under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Finally, you will need an attorney to evaluate and pursue potential claims against your employer for negligence.
Hurt on the job, consult with an attorney. Call the Houston Lawyer Referral Service at 713-237-9429 and request a referral.