Texas Workers' Compensation: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In the State of Texas, there are basically two types of work injury claims. If your employer has a workers' compensation policy approved by the State Department of Insurance, then when you file an injury claim, you receive automatic benefits. However, employer enrollment in workers' compensation is not mandatory. If your employer does not carry the state-sanctioned policy, then they are what we call a "non-subscriber." In short, you aren't entitled to automatic benefits if you work for a non-subscriber. If your employer doesn't want to compensate you for your injuries or lost wages, you may have to sue.
Let's go over some common inquires we get here at Grossman Law Offices.
Q: How do I know whether or not my employer has workers' compensation?
A: By law, employers must post in a conspicuous location a placard reflecting the status of their workers' compensation insurance. If they are a subscriber, then this sign should also have the name, address and phone number of their specific carrier. If they are not a subscriber, there should be a notice posted that reflects that. If they carry a generic work injury insurance policy not approved for the purposes of workers' comp, then it is a violation of state law to try and pass it off as being in compliance with the workers' comp program.
If your employer lacks the mandatory workplace signage or is being unclear with you or both, contact us and we can figure out the status of their workers' compensation insurance together.
Q: I've been hurt on the job, and know my worker is a non-subscriber. If they don't have insurance, do I still have a case?
A: Your non-subscriber employer can be sued even if they have no insurance policy whatsoever. When a business is negligent, the punishment is always monetary. A corporation can't be put in jail, for instance. So when you're hurt due to unsafe work conditions your non-subscriber employer created, failed to rectify or failed to inform you about, compensation would come directly from their assets. A subscriber is immune from this type of legal action, but because non-subscribers have decided to forego an insurance policy for their workers for whatever reason, they can be sued for legal relief.
Q: Is my employer obligated to pay a percentage of my wages while I'm unable to work?
A: In a standard workers' comp claim, a subscriber employer will pay a percentage of a workers' lost wages from their insurance policy. However, non-subscribers are under no legal obligation to pay any portion of your wages at all. If they choose to do so, then it's based on whatever it is they want to pay. If they don't provide you with a satisfactory amount, you have no option but to sue in order to get what you feel you deserve.
Q: Do I have to see the company's doctor?
A: No, you can see any doctor you would like. If your employer is a subscriber, then you can only go to doctors approved by the State of Texas. But if your employer is a non-subscriber, then you have your choice of healthcare provider.
Q: Can I let my employer try to do the right thing, and if it doesn't work out, can I then hire an attorney?
A: You must decide early on in your case if you do want to sue your non-subscriber employer. If your employer is giving you the run-around, then it's probably a sign you're going to sue them. You only have two years from the date of your injury to decide, so don't let time run out.
Q: Can I get compensation for pain and suffering?
A: In a non-subscriber case, you can be compensated for any attendant hardship related to your injury, like pain and suffering. In a subscriber case, that isn't the case: your benefits and relief are dictated by statute. So if you do decide to sue, your compensation can actually be fuller and more comprehensive compared to a similar subscriber case.
Q: How can I get in touch with a Texas non-subscriber work injury attorney?
A: You can contact the attorneys at Grossman Law Offices at any time, toll free, at (855) 326-0000. In our quarter-century of experience with this type of case, we've learned that in order to get anything accomplished in a non-subscriber case, you need to have an advocate on your side that can match your employer's lawyers, unless you want the terms of your relief dictated by your employer's generosity.