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How does the 7 Day Grace Period work under Texas workers’ compensation law?

If your employer has workers' comp, they don't have to pay you for the first 7 days of your injury. Here's how it works:

Many people know that if their employer subscribes to workers' compensation, that they will be able to receive some sort of benefits if they are injured in a workplace accident. However, what most people don't know is that there are some requirements that must be met before certain types of compensation (such as income benefits) can be paid out. Most notably there is a 7 day waiting period before your benefits begin.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • How soon can I get compensated for my work injury?
  • Do I have to wait before I receive benefits from workers' comp?
  • Why don't I receive workers' comp benefits immediately?

Requirements to Receive Income Benefits

For the first seven days of your injury, according to the Texas Labor Code (the technical term for the state's labor laws), your employer does not have to pay you any income benefits. Medical benefits are not subject to this limitation however; you'll begin getting those immediately. It is very clearly stated that only after one week does an injured worker become eligible for income benefits.

Sec. 408.082. ACCRUAL OF RIGHT TO INCOME BENEFITS. (a) Income benefits may not be paid under this subtitle for an injury that does not result in disability for at least one week.

Let's put this rule to the test with an example. If a person suffers a hand injury that keeps him from working for 4 days, he might be able to receive medical benefits, but he will not be able to receive income benefits. However, if the hand injury keeps him from working for over a week (7 days instead of 4), he would be able to receive income benefits.

What if the injury onset isn't immediate?

Since we're talking about time, it should also be said that you're not at a disadvantage if the injury didn't come up right at the time of the accident, but instead, later on. Fortunately, The Texas Labor Code also covers these instances where you are injured in a workplace accident, but you do not suffer a disability immediately.

(b) If the disability continues for longer than one week, weekly incomes benefits begin to accrue on the eighth day after the date of the injury. If the disability does not begin at once after the injury occurs or within eight days of the occurrence but does result in subsequently, weekly income benefits accrue on the eight day after the date on which the disability began.

For example, imagine you pinch a nerve in your back in a workplace accident, but do not immediately feel the effects of it. You go back to work, but a couple days later you feel intense pain in your back that subsequently keeps you from working for a month. Under this section of Texas labor law, you would still be able to receive income benefits for your injury.

What if the injury lasts a long time, but I'm missing those first 7 days of pay?

This is an unfortunate reality. Sometimes an injury lasts so long, that you do eventually get paid income benefits. But what about those first 7 days where you weren't being paid at all? You weren't faking, and you were off work, how can you financially recover?

Luckily, the labor code also states that if you suffer an injury that last longer than two weeks (14 days), you will be able to receive weekly compensation that begins at the time that the disability began. So if you are kept off from work for 3 weeks starting on January 1, you would be able to get income benefits for all three weeks.

(c) If the disability continues for two weeks or longer after the date it begins, compensation shall be computed from teh date the disability begins.

Why do they delay your payment for seven days in the first place? The answer is that they do this to discourage faking. If you're off for a few days, they think you're just out to abuse the system--even though that's usually not the case. But, once the seven day period is over, you start receiving your Temporary Income Benefits.

You Need An Experienced Workers' Compensation Attorney

If you have a situation where you think you might be entitled to income benefits you should consult an experienced work injury attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to take the specific facts of your case, apply the relevant statute from the state's labor laws, and give you specialized advice. Our lawyers at Grossman Law Office have over 25 years of experience and have helped thousands of clients determine their rights under the law, getting the compensation that they deserve. Call (855) 326-0000 today.

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