In many ways, Texas law doesn't operate like most states, and this is true in regard to workers' compensation as well. According to 2020 data put out by the Texas Department of Insurance, only 71% of private employers carry worker's comp for their employees, leaving scores of employees with no official coverage for workplace injuries. However, this doesn't mean that if you work for an uninsured employer you don't have any options for seeking compensation. You still may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, and it is vital to get help from a lawyer.
If you'd like to speak with a workers' compensation attorney in the Houston, Texas area, including The Woodlands, Greenspoint, Katy, Houston Heights, Sugar Land, and Missouri City, call us at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm today. Our team has everything necessary to fight for your rights and walk you through the entire process.
Are Employers Required to Have Workers Comp Insurance?
In every other state in the country, nearly all employers must carry workers' compensation insurance if they employ more than a certain number of workers (as few as one to three employees). Texas, however, has no such law for private employers, though state employees will be automatically covered unless they opt out. That said, if a private employer contracts with the government, they must provide workers' comp for those employees working on the government project.
An employer who chooses not to provide this coverage is referred to as a “non-subscriber.” The majority of Texas private sector workers (around 81%) are covered because most employers still choose to carry it. However, that still leaves tens of thousands of workers in the state who do not have this coverage and must go through different means to get compensated for damages after a work accident or injury.
Importantly, just because an employer chooses not to subscribe to a workers' comp plan, doesn't mean that they aren't still responsible when one of their employees is injured while performing their job duties; it simply means they will handle the compensation on their own instead of through a third-party insurance provider.
Recovery Options for Injured Employees
Your first option when you find yourself injured on the job is to work directly with your employer to have them pay for your medical expenses and compensate you for any lost wages or even emotional distress. Even if you're not yet considering legal measures, an experienced lawyer can help you negotiate with your employer during this stage. If you aren't able to come up with a satisfactory plan with your employer, your only other option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you feel you need to file a lawsuit against your employer to cover your medical bills, lost wages, or other damages, it's highly recommended that you only do this with the assistance of an attorney. Injury lawsuits can be lengthy and complicated affairs and should be handled by a professional.
Benefits of a Personal Injury Lawsuit: Naturally, the biggest benefit of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is getting the financial compensation you need following an injury. This could cover lost wages, future lost wages, medical bills, expenses related to your injury (for example, accommodations to your home that allow you to move around), or compensation for pain and suffering.
Cons of a Personal Injury Lawsuit: If you file a lawsuit too soon, you likely won't know the full extent of your injuries and the expenses related to them. If you agree to a settlement too quickly and later discover that you have even more expenses related to the injury, you'll be unable to file another claim. On the other hand, if you file too late you may run out of time under the statute of limitations which is two years from the date of injury.
Does Texas Have an Uninsured Employers' Funds Reserve?
Many states have an uninsured employers' funds reserve to assist employees who are injured on the job when their employer doesn't have workers' comp insurance. However, these are typically for states who mandate nearly all employers to carry insurance, so the payout on these funds is rather low. Because Texas private employers can opt of providing workers' comp, they are expected to cover all costs associated with an employee injury.
Employers' Responsibilities Under Workers' Compensation Laws
Even though private workplaces are not subject to the same regulations as government jobs, employers' responsibilities under workers' compensation laws still exist. If an employer chooses not to provide workers' compensation for its employees, it must make an official report to the state that it has chosen to opt-out. They're also required to report any workplace injuries to the Texas Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) and notify all employees that they're a non-subscriber through a posted notice, including all newly hired employees who aren't covered.
Workers' Comp Non-Subscriber Attorney Serving Houston, Texas
If you're in the Houston, Texas, region and would like to learn more about your options for workers' compensation while employed by a non-subscriber, reach out to us at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm to schedule a consultation. Our reliable team can help you look toward a brighter future.