How Texas Workers Compensation claims are handled when you're hurt out-of-state.
People are frequently injured in workplace accidents in Texas, however many people do not know what procedural steps they need to take in order to preserve their right to receive compensation for their injuries.
If you are a Texas resident and your employer subscribes to worker's compensation insurance, then you would seek compensation for your injuries through Texas Worker's Compensation laws, which are governed by the Texas Labor Code.
In this article, our attorneys will explain who is entitled to workers' compensation benefits under Texas law if you were injured in another state.
Questions answered in this article:
- What Texas labor laws explain workers' compensation benefits if I'm injured out-of-state?
- Do I get the same benefits as if I were injured in Texas?
- How long do I have to file for workers' compensation in Texas?
- Why would I need an attorney for a workers' compensation case?
The requirements to collect Workers' Compensation from injuries that occurred outside of Texas:
Sec. 406.071. EXTRATERRITORIAL COVERAGE. (a) An employee who is injured while working in another jurisdiction or the employee's legal beneficiary is entitled to all rights and remedies under this subtitle if:
- the injury would be compensable if it had occurred in this state; and
- the employee has significant contacts with this state or the employment is principally located in this state.
- An employee has significant contacts with this state if the employee was hired or recruited in this state and the employee:
- was injured not later than one year after the date of hire; or
- has worked in this state for at least 10 working days during the 12 months preceding the date of injury.
Your claim will still be governed by the Texas Labor Code, specifically section 406.071. This section explains that if you were injured in a workplace accident that occurred in another state, then you can still receive Texas Worker's Compensation if the following two elements are satisfied.
First, the injury needs to be the type of injury that would normally be covered by Texas Worker's Compensation, had the accident occurred in Texas. For example, if a worker who fell off of the side of a construction project would normally be covered(if the accident had occurred in Texas), then the same accident would be covered by Texas Worker's Comp if the accident happens in Oklahoma or any other state.
The second element can be broken up into two parts, but only one of them needs to be satisfied to prove the element. The first part states that the employee must have what are called significant contacts in the state. A person has significant contacts in Texas if they were hired or recruited in Texas, and then were either injured within one year of being hired; or if they have worked in Texas for at least 10 days in the year before they were injured.
So for example, if a person was hired by a Texas company in January and was injured in Oklahoma in April, they would have significant contacts in Texas. Also, if an employee were hired in Texas five years ago, but worked in Texas for 10 days in May and was later injured in Arkansas in December, the employee would have significant contacts.
The second element can also be satisfied if you can show that the place of employment is principally located in Texas. One way to prove this is to show that the employer has a place of business in Texas from which the employee regularly works. This element could also be satisfied if the employee resides in Texas and also spends a substantial part of their working time at a place of business in Texas.
If you are able to satisfy both of these elements, then you can bring your workplace injury claim under Texas' Workers' Compensation laws - even if you are injured in another state. However, if you choose to pursue this path, the Texas Labor Code will limit the amount of ways you can recover under section 406.075.
What Texas law says about Workers' Compensation Benefits when you're injured outside Texas:
Sec. 406.075. EFFECT OF COMPENSATION PAID IN OTHER JURISDICTION.
- An injured employee who elects to pursue the employee's remedy under the workers' compensation laws of another jurisdiction and who recovers benefits under those laws may not recover under this subtitle.
- The amount of benefits accepted under the laws of the other jurisdiction without an election under Subsection (a) shall be credited against the benefits that the employee would have received had the claim been made under this subtitle.
This section basically states two things. First, if you elect to pursue your claim under another state's worker's compensation laws and you receive compensation, then you are precluded from pursuing your claim under Texas Worker's Compensation laws. Second, if you do not pursue a claim under another state's worker's compensation laws, but you still receive some compensation, then the amount you received will be credited to you and you will not be able to recover that amount again.
For example, if you are injured in Louisiana and you choose not to pursue a claim under Louisiana's worker's compensation laws, but you do receive compensation for your injuries in the amount of $10,000, then you will be credited that amount. So imagine that you then bring a claim under Texas' workers' compensation laws, and receive compensation in the amount of $100,000, you will only be paid $90,000 because you already received $10,000 for your injures. Essentially you cannot "double dip" on your recovery.
You need an experienced attorney.
Even if you think you are able to satisfy the elements of this statute, that only means that you are entitled to bring a claim. It does not mean that you are entitled to receive compensation. The statute can be interpreted in different ways, and you can guarantee that the defendant will attempt everything they can to obtain a result which favors their client.
You need a skilled and experienced attorney to go over your claim and analyze the applicable statutes to determine the merits of your claim, and if necessary, to litigate your claim. Our attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have over twenty years of experience and we have helped thousands of clients determine their rights under the law. Call today for a free consultation regarding your work injury claim at (855) 326-0000.
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