A Lawyer Can Help with Your Texas Non-Subscriber Employer Work Injury
Workers’ compensation is a state insurance program to pay your medical bills and replace some income lost from a work-related injury or illness, but what happens if your employer is a non-subscriber to workers’ comp?
Unlike employers in other states, Texas employers are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance unless they are certain private employers or part of a government or educational system. As a result, many employers do not subscribe to workers’ comp, and injured workers don’t know how to get the benefits they need to help them through a time when they are unable to work.
How to Get Compensation When Your Employer Is a Non-Subscriber
Fortunately, even if your employer is a non-subscriber, there are still options you may have to get compensation, depending on your individual situation. Sometimes employers may have self-insurance or some other form of insurance available to injured workers. If your injury was caused by a non-subscriber employer’s negligence, it is possible that the employer could be sued to compensate you for your injuries. In some cases, a third party may be held responsible. These situations can be complicated, so it makes sense to get help from an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury. They can make sure everything is done correctly and that you utilize all avenues available to getting the compensation you deserve.
Our Work Injury Lawyers Know How Texas Laws Apply to Non-Subscriber Employers
The Waldman Legal Group understands the difficulties facing injured workers and will fight for your rights if you have suffered a serious injury at work. We will be there for you whether you are filing a workers’ comp claim, appealing a denial, or need to find other ways to get benefits because your employer is a non-subscriber, including filing a lawsuit against your employer or a third party. For example, if your work-related injury was caused by a defective product, such as a machine, tool, or automobile, you may file a lawsuit for that claim as well.
Our work injury attorneys can help by:
- Making sure you know what to say and do after you are injured
- Ensuring all forms and procedures are filled out correctly in accordance with Texas law
- Investigating your case to determine how it happened and find all parties who were at fault
- Interviewing witnesses, and gathering evidence to help prove your claim
- Obtaining all relevant work and medical records
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Building your case and taking it to trial if necessary
- Making any necessary appeals.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your individual situation and determine the best approach to take, so call us today at (713) 688-4878.
How to Get a Texas Non-subscriber Workers’ Compensation Settlement
Before you can know how to get a Texas non-subscriber workers’ compensation settlement, you need to know the options available for you to get that compensation. If you are injured on the job, you may be facing one of a few possible scenarios:
Your Employer Is a Texas Workers’ Compensation Subscriber and Has Insurance to Cover Injuries to Employees.
This means you will be covered, but the workers’ compensation rules are very specific and you may need help making sure you get the right treatment and benefits before you are sent back to work.
Under Texas workers’ compensation law, an injury or illness is covered, without regard to fault, if it was sustained within the course and scope of employment. This means your injury occurred while furthering or carrying on the employer’s business, including work-related travel. The benefits available include medical benefits, income benefits, and death benefits, as defined by Texas laws. To apply, injured workers must:
- file injury reports within 30 days of the injury
- appeal the first impairment rating within 90 days
- file the formal paperwork for the workers’ compensation claim within one year of the injury or the date on which the employee should have known the problem was work-related.
Your Employer Has No Insurance at All
Generally, this means if you get injured because of your employer’s negligence, you could only sue the employer or the company directly and recover from what assets your employer or the company may have, depending on how the business is set up with the State.
Your Employer Has Only a General Commercial Liability Policy
This type of policy typically does not provide coverage for injuries to employees or contractors.
Your Employer is a Texas Non-Subscriber
The company may have its own insurance plan (not Texas Workers’ Compensation) that provides benefits and covers injuries to employees while on the job. This is common for more established non-subscriber employers. There are several companies that have their own insurance plans that cover injuries to employees. Some examples are: Stripes, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Academy, Home Depot, Target, La Michoacana Meat Market, HEB, and many other well-known companies in Texas.
Figuring out whether you have benefits can be a difficult process, and often times employers are not so willing to cooperate and help you figure it out. Therefore, if you are injured on the job, it is important for you to take the proper steps to make sure you haven’t affected your ability to claim your benefits.
Call the Waldman Legal Group at today at (713) 688-4878 to receive help getting benefits.
Texas Non-subscriber Employer Work Injury Duties and Responsibilities
If your employer is a non-subscriber, Texas still imposes certain responsibilities. Non-subscribing employers . . .
- Must report to the state that they do not have coverage.
- Must also report to the Department of Workers’ Compensation any work-related injuries resulting in more than one day of lost time and also all work-related illnesses and deaths.
- Must notify each new hire of coverage (Notice 6) or non-coverage (Notice 5) and post the same notice.
- Must let each new hire know that they have five days to elect to waive their right to workers’ compensation benefits and retain their common-law right to sue the employer for a work-related injury.
How to Get Covered for an Injury with Texas Non-subscriber Employers Through a Lawsuit
Employers who do not have coverage are open to personal injury lawsuits from employees who are injured on the job. Employees may also file personal injury lawsuits against a third party who injured them.
In a Texas personal injury lawsuit, your attorney would have to prove that the defendant in the case was at fault or negligent for causing your injuries. This means showing that the following four elements existed:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant breached that duty by acting or failing to act.
- This breach was the primary cause of your injuries.
- You suffered damages from the injury.
There are many ways to prove a company was negligent. For example, we may be able to show that your employer failed to provide proper warnings, proper protective equipment, maintain vehicles properly, or keep the premises safe. We may utilize experts to testify and show what a responsible employer should have done to help prevent your injury.
In a successful Texas lawsuit, you may receive a compensation award that covers both your economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include those types of damages that have specific dollar value, such as:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost income from being unable to work
- Lost future earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are not easily quantifiable monetarily, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental anguish.
In addition, Texas allows for special damages, based on your particular situation, which can be specifically asked for in a lawsuit.
Personal injury settlements may go further than workers’ compensation benefits and bring more compensation. In determining what your case may be worth, our attorneys would consider factors such as:
- The severity and permanence of your injuries
- Whether you will need continuing care
- Your age and family responsibilities
- Your education, career, work skills, and earning capacity
- Whether your will be able to return to work at the same level, at a lesser job, or at all
- The amount of insurance and assets of the defendant available
- The skill of your attorney in presenting and arguing your case.
When filing a case against a non-subscribing attorney, Texas law provides certain benefits to employees. The Texas Labor Code not only permits lawsuits, it eliminates many of the legal defenses that are usually allowed in personal injury lawsuits. For example:
- A non-subscribing employer who is responsible for your injury, even in part, may not claim contributory negligence. This means that even if you are partially at fault for the injury, the employer may be found fully responsible, as long as the employer is at least slightly negligent as well. Your attorney must only prove that the company was at least 1% at fault for the injuries for the employer to be responsible for paying 100% of the fair compensation.
- A non-subscribing employer is prohibited from basing a defense on the negligence of a co-worker or from using any common-law defenses.
List of Texas Non-Subscribers
The following is a list of some major Texas employers who do not subscribe to workers’ comp. If you have been injured on the job and you work for any of the non-subscriber employers listed below, call Waldman Legal Group.
- Baker Hughes
- BP America
- CenterPoint Energy
- CHI St. Luke’s Health
- Dairy Queen
- Dollar General
- Food Town
- GE Oil and Gas
- Harris Health System
- Hewlett Packard
- Home Depot
- Kindred Healthcare
- La Michoacana
- McLane Food Service Group
- Memorial Hermann
- National Oilwell Varco
- Palais Royal
- Pappas Restaurants
- Sam’s Club
- Tejas Tubular
- Texas Children’s Hospital
- United Airlines
- University of Houston
ERISA Work Injury Plans
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a federal law that regulates and establishes oversight for private health insurance coverage by establishing rules and minimum standards that are meant to protect plan participants. Generally, under ERISA, employers are enabled to create employee benefit plans that provide coverage for injuries to employees while on the job. These coverage plans are not created or subject to Texas Workers’ Compensation laws. Therefore, Texas employers who provide coverage under these ERISA plans are generally referred to as Texas non-subscribers.
Within the ERISA plan documents, Texas non-subscribers usually provide certain notice about the difference between coverage under a non-subscriber insurance plan and Texas Workers’ compensation. The following are some of the usual disclosures made:
- The company will disclose that they do not have workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
- The employee is not entitled or eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits under the Texas Worker’s Compensation Act.
- The company may have benefits for the employee.
- The employee should contact the company representatives to determine the availability of benefits for work-related injuries or occupational disease.
- The employee could have rights under the common law of Texas should the employee have suffered a work-related injury or occupational disease (negligence claim).
- The company is required to provide the employee with coverage information in writing when the employee is hired or at any point that a company changes from coverage under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act to a non-subscriber policy.
- Any dispute related to a work-related injury is subject to arbitration;
- Any dispute between the Summary Plan Description (SPD) and the Plan Document will be resolved in favor of what is found in the Plan Document.
Therefore, if you are injured on the job or suffer from an occupational-related disease, it becomes urgent that you notify your employer immediately. Many ERISA plans require that an injured employee notify their employer within 24 hours of the incident or before the end of that workday. If the employee fails to notify the employer and REPORT the injury in writing, the employee’s benefits could potentially be denied by the ERISA plan administrator, who is another company that is responsible for managing the benefits under the ERISA plan.
Our Relationships Between Our Work Injury Lawyers and Clients Are Based on Trust
If you or a loved one was harmed due to a work-related injury or illness in Texas, the work injury lawyers at the Waldman Legal Group can help you examine all available avenues to recover the benefits you deserve. If your employer has workers’ compensation coverage, there still may be additional sources of benefits, and if your employer is a non-subscriber it is essential that you contact our Texas workers’ comp lawyer.
At the Waldman Legal Group, you can speak directly with attorney Steve Waldman. Right away, you’ll find that you can trust us to represent you. We pride ourselves on being available to discuss your legal issue on the phone or in person and determine quickly whether we believe we can help you. If we can’t, we will try to offer some guidance to you and your family so that you can continue with your lives with peace of mind, knowing you’ve spoken to a lawyer.
When a family member is killed or seriously injured because of someone else’s negligence, there are many questions that require answers. We have the answers.
If you or a family member has been involved in a serious accident with serious injuries, call a lawyer you can trust, a lawyer you can speak to, and a lawyer who will make every effort to give you and your family the answers they deserve.
Protect Your Rights. Protect your Family.
Call our team at Waldman Legal Group today at (713) 688-4878 for your free and confidential initial consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing until you win your case.