Who is the Texas Workers' Compensation Commissioner?
If a dispute arises between you and your employer regarding your benefit payments, the Texas Workers' Compensation Commissioner can step in to resolve the issue. In this article, we'll discuss more about his role and duties in a workers' compensation case.
Questions answered on this page:
- Who is the Texas Workers' Compensation Commissioner?
- What qualifies a person to be the Commissioner and how is he or she hired?
- What role does the Commissioner play in workers' compensation cases?
- How can a lawyer help if I have been injured in a workplace accident?
How The Commissioner is Appointed
This position is appointed by the governor of Texas for a two-year term. The candidate for the position, per the Texas Labor Code (which is the official term for Texas's labor laws), needs to "be a competent and experienced administrator; be well-informed in the field of workers' compensation; and have at least five years of experience" as a business executive, attorney, physician, or certified public accountant. The commissioner in office today is Ryan Brannan, appointed by Governor Rick Perry.
Not only are the above details considered requirements, but the commissioner also must have specific training for the position before he starts any decision making. Texas Labor Code section 402.00127 outlines the specific training requirements for the commissioner.
Sec. 402.00127. TRAINING PROGRAM FOR COMMISSIONER.
- (a) Not later than the 90th day after the date on which the commissioner takes office, the commissioner shall complete a training program that complies with this section.
- (b) The training program must provide the commissioner with information regarding:
- (1) the legislation that created the division;
- (2) the programs operated by the division;
- (3) the role and functions of the division;
- (4) the rules of the commissioner of insurance relating to the division, with an emphasis on the rules that relate to disciplinary and investigatory authority;
- (5) the current budget for the division;
- (6) the results of the most recent formal audit of the division;
- (7) the requirements of:
- (A) the open meetings law, Chapter 551, Government Code;
- (B) the public information law, Chapter 552, Government Code;
- (C) the administrative procedure law, Chapter 2001, Government Code; and
- (D) other laws relating to public officials, including conflict-of-interest laws; and
- (8) any applicable ethics policies adopted by the division or the Texas Ethics Commission.
What Are Some of the Commissioner's Most Important Duties?
Basically, the commissioner's duties are to determine and supervise the workers' compensation benefits that are paid to the injured worker. He has control over the amount that is paid out, how it is paid out, and whether or not it can be refused. The commissioner also makes sure that all injured workers are apprised of their rights under Texas' Workers' Compensation Laws, and sets the acceptable fees for attorneys representing both sides. The Texas Labor Code section 402.00128 details all his powers and duties are as the commissioner:
Sec. 402.00128. GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER.
- (a) The commissioner shall conduct the daily operations of the division and otherwise implement division policy.
- (b) The commissioner or the commissioner's designee may:
- (1) investigate misconduct;
- (2) hold hearings;
- (3) issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents;
- (4) administer oaths;
- (5) take testimony directly or by deposition or interrogatory;
- (6) assess and enforce penalties established under this title;
- (7) enter appropriate orders as authorized by this title;
- (8) institute an action in the division's name to enjoin the violation of this title;
- (9) initiate an action under Section 410.254 to intervene in a judicial proceeding;
- (10) prescribe the form, manner, and procedure for the transmission of information to the division;
- (11) correct clerical errors in the entry of orders; and
- (12) exercise other powers and perform other duties as necessary to implement and enforce this title.
- (c) The commissioner is the agent for service of process on out-of-state employers.
Essentially, the Texas Workers' Compensation Commissioner exists because disputes exist. Think of him as the judge of workers' comp in Texas because he has the final say on any WC matters. If a case comes before the commissioner, all parties basically have to take the commissioner's decision as final because there is no appeals process for the decisions he makes, making his verdict indisputable.
If you are injured in a workplace accident, contact Grossman Law Offices for help.
The first thing you should immediately do after you are injured in a workplace accident is contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney. They will be able to go over your claim and explain what role the commissioner could play in your case as well as explain your rights under the law. Our attorneys at Grossman Law Offices, based in Dallas, TX, have over two and a half decades of experience and have helped many injury victims determine their rights. Call today for a free consultation regarding your case at 1-855-326-0000.
Related Articles for Further Reading:
- Can I Use My Own Doctor or Do I Have to See a Workers' Compensation Approved Doctor?
- Understanding Maximum Medical Improvement
- A Look at Workers' Compensation Death Benefits