May 02, 2018
Workplace injuries happen, and they happen more often when employers do not implement safety programs geared towards reducing the risk of injury. This reality demonstrates the importance of employers providing insurance that covers proper medical treatment and wage payments for employees who have been injured in the course of performing their job duties.
Although there are legal risks and repercussions for employers that make the election to go outside of the Texas Workers’ Compensation program, there are many Texas Employers who believe they stand to benefit more by selecting non-subscriber status. An individual injured while employed by a Texas Non-subscriber should be weary of fact that the coverage provided in a non-subscriber policy could be less focused on getting you the treatment you deserve and instead, more focused on cutting business costs to company.
Approximately One-Third of Texas Employers are Non-Subscribers!
If you’ve suffered a work injury while working for a Texas Non-Subscriber Employer, there are five critically important steps to consider following the incident.
1. Report the injury to your employer immediately!
Every insurance benefit plan is different but, generally, you should report your injury immediately after it happens. Should circumstances prohibit immediate reporting, it is critical that you report the injury and all circumstances surrounding the injury to your employer within 24 hours of sustaining the injury. Information to report to your employer should include the time and place of the injury (i.e., the third aisle, under product shelf, at 8:45 am), the details of how the accident occurred (i.e., was working underneath shelf, stocking product consisting 80lb bags when felt severe pain in back), the details of the injury (i.e., pain in lower back was 10 of 10, could not walk), and any witnesses to the accident. Providing these details is critical to establishing that the injury was, in fact, work-related, and not an existing condition unrelated to work. Additionally, most insurance plans require reporting the injury promptly in order to qualify for medical care.
2. Preserve All Evidence Related to Your Injury
Preserving all evidence related to your injury is critical in establishing that your injury was work-related, thus determining that the responsibility could very well lay with the employer. Evidence can include photographs of the area where the injury occurred, any correspondence or conversations with your supervisor or coworkers regarding the injury, time sheets showing you were working on the day that you were injured, and any medical receipts or forms for treatment sought as a result of the work injury.
3. Preserve All Witness Names
If another employee or a bystander witnessed your workplace injury, it is critical that you preserve the names of all witnesses to include in the report to your employer. This information further bolsters the claim that the injury was work-related because you have first-hand knowledge witnesses who can state that they witnessed you sustain the injury at the time and place reported.
4. Don’t Wait to Report the Incident to the Supervisor and Make sure you Make a Written Report
Generally, if you wait longer than 24 hours to report the injury to a supervisor or the individual that is responsible for completing injury reports, most often the Human Resources or Safety departments, then the ability to establish that the injury was work related diminishes greatly because you lose key opportunities to retain information such as witness statements, specific details relating to the injury, and establishing that the injury required medical treatment. Do not wait!
5. Don’t Accept a Supervisor’s Refusal to Report and Take Action Calling a Work Injury Lawyer
Medical treatment can be extremely expensive and lost wages from being unable to work in a normal capacity can add up quickly. If you’ve suffered a work injury while employed by a Texas Non-subscriber company and your supervisor is refusing to report your workplace injury, it is critical that you tell everyone you can in management for that company, that you have been injured and that you need to created a report. Then, take action by calling a work injury lawyer who will protect your rights as an employee and ensure the financial responsibility for treating the workplace injury falls on the employer, not the injured worker.
If you’ve been injured on the job, speak with a work injury attorney that you can trust and one who can understand your needs. There’s no doubt that you will eventually hit a wall or a disagreement with your company’s insurance company so, you would be in a much better position being well represented when that time comes. Again, don’t wait.