Workers’ compensation is a government-run program that ensures workers are compensated when an injury occurs on the job. But there are two issues with the program. The first is that the benefits received are limited by guidelines. The second is that in Texas, employers have the right to decide not to subscribe to the program.
As a result, you are left without benefits. Adding to the confusion, you can opt to waive your right to receive workers’ compensation. So why would you choose to waive your right to receive benefits for your injury? Here we review the pros and cons of waiving your workers’ compensation rights in Texas.
Pros of Waiving Your Rights
As mentioned above, the compensation received through workers’ compensation is limited. Those limitations make up the majority of our list of pros including:
- When you maintain your rights to receive workers’ compensation benefits you also waive your rights to seek fair compensation for other types of damages including not being able to perform the same higher paying job for life, or pain and suffering
- You only have 30 days to file a claim for your work-related injury
- You have a right to medical care, but only if you seek care from a workers’ comp approved doctor
- You do not receive the full amount of your wages, and instead, get a percentage of the income you usually earn
- There are limitations on the maximum compensation you can earn
- Your family is only eligible to receive 75% of your weekly wages should you die
- If you require extended benefits, you only receive 75% of your weekly wages
- Extended benefits apply to extreme conditions including amputations, permanent paralysis, permanent blindness, severe brain injuries, severe burns, etc.
So while you receive compensation to help you recover or even maintain your health, the limitations can keep you from receiving the full compensation you deserve. These shortfalls can have a substantial negative impact on the quality of life you can enjoy following an injury at the hands of your employer.
Cons of Waiving Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits
One of the main reasons you should think carefully before waiving your rights is that it is probably the easiest way to get compensated for medical care and lost wages. Some of the cons to waiving your rights to benefits include:
- Should you be unable to return to work, or the same level of work you were performing prior to the accident, workers’ compensation provides benefits for retraining allowing you to find gainful employment alternatives
- Your loved ones receive up to $10,000 in funeral and burial expenses should you die as a result of your injuries
- Although your lifetime benefits are limited to 75% of your previous wages you are entitled to an increase of 3% of those benefits each year
- If you are unable to find treatment within 30 miles of your home, you can receive medical travel expenses
- You receive your workers’ compensation far more quickly than when suing for damages
So while you have a good chance of gaining full compensation as well as pain and suffering and other injury-related costs when you waive your workers’ compensation benefits, you also waive the right to automatically receive compensation and all the benefits to which you are entitled under the law.
If you were injured due to a work-related accident at a non-subscriber workplace or chose to waive your workers’ compensation benefits, speak to the Malley team to learn about your rights to compensation.