A work injury can lead to months or even years of suffering. When an accident occurs on the job, it is important to understand your rights. Because Texas does not require your employer to have workers’ compensation coverage, getting compensation following a work injury can get complicated. Here we explain how compensation applies so you receive compensation coverage whether your work subscribes to workers’ compensation or not.
Subscribing to Workers’ Compensation
If your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance, it limits the type of compensation you can receive, as well as how much you are paid. These limits are determined by the law and make it difficult for you to file a claim against your employer as their subscription helps cover them legally. Workers’ compensation offers three types of compensation:
- Medical: You are entitled to coverage for all recommended and approved medical treatments
- Income: While recovering from injuries, as well as when you can’t return to your usual wages due to your injury, you are entitled to temporary income benefits that are 70% of the difference between your average weekly wages and what you can earn after your injury. If you earn less than $10 an hour it is 75%.
- Death: In the case of death, survivors are entitled to 75% of the deceased employee’s pre-injury wage, up to the same maximum as temporary income benefits as well as up to $10,000 for the cost of burial.
The limitations are based on the type of benefits you receive. Your doctor rates permanent injuries with each rating determining how much you should receive to make up for wages lost due to your new impairment.
If your employer is a “non-subscriber”, your employer becomes responsible for compensation. As a result, they are vulnerable to personal injury lawsuits. As an employee, you have a right to pursue compensation, and the damages in theory are almost unlimited. However, it is your responsibility to prove your employer’s negligence. This can be difficult without the assistance of a lawyer.
Waiving Workers’ Compensation
At the time you are hired, your employer must explain whether they are a subscriber or non-subscriber. You have five days to opt to waive your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits and choose instead to retain your common-law right to sue the employer in case of a work injury.
When you waive your right, it is important to understand this means you will not be entitled to medical or income benefits under workers’ compensation law. You should consider the pros and cons of remaining covered by workers’ compensation including that regardless of fault, if your injury occurs at work, you can receive a percentage of your income as well as be covered for medical care. However, you are also limited on that coverage and have no legal recourse to seek further coverage.
If you or a loved one were injured at a non-subscriber workplace, speak to the Malley Law team to learn about your rights to compensation.