Texas saw 608 workplace fatalities in 2019, making up 9.29% of the U.S. workplace fatalities that year, according to the Department of Worker’s Compensation. In most workplaces in the USA, every employer pays into some form of workers comp insurance pool. Injured workers (or their surviving families) can file claims and draw funds from that pool to cover their medical expenses and a portion of their wages during recovery. However, in Texas private-sector employers have the option of whether or not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Texas allows any employer to opt-out of the workers’ compensation system, making them nonsubscribers. So, when workers are injured on the job in Texas at a nonsubscriber workplace, who pays for medical bills, lost wages, and damages?
The answer: it’s complicated. But it’s not so complicated that any worker should have to suffer employer negligence that leads to injury and lost wages. Let’s break down how the nonsubscriber workers comp process works in Texas. When people are suddenly taken out of the workforce because of workplace injuries, it puts a lot of stress on families, not to mention the grief of losing a father or partner in the case of workplace death. Because an injured or killed worker obviously can’t work and earn an income, their bills and medical costs can pile up quickly. About 28% of private employers in Texas are nonsubscribers, according to data compiled by the Texas Department of Insurance. Hundreds of thousands of people, nearly 20% of workers in Texas, are working without a workers’ comp safety net.
But Does Private Insurance Cover Workers Comp at Nonsubscriber Workplaces?
While private insurance plans cover many of the same costs as workers’ compensation, those plans are not legally workers’ compensation. Even with this private insurance option to cover medical expenses and other costs, nonsubscriber employers don’t get immunity from civil lawsuits by the employee for injuries sustained on the job. It’s important that you know your options as a non-covered worker in case you are injured. It’s also important to know what to do and where to turn if you sustain an injury at a nonsubscriber workplace.
What Should You Do if You Get Injured at a NonSubscriber Workplace?
Follow these instructions to have the best chance at getting the compensation you deserve while you’re recovering from an injury.
First, Give your employer a written notice that you’ve been injured. Notify your employer that you were hurt on the job, and deliver the notice in writing and within 30 days of the incident (the earlier, the better).
Second, see a doctor. Getting prompt medical attention not only speeds up recovery but also creates a record of your injuries. You can see any doctor you like, there are no preferred doctors outside of the subscriber network.
Third, prove negligence. To have the best chance at winning your case, you will have to prove 3 things:
- You were operating within the “course and scope” of your employment at the time of the accident.
- The employer failed to meet safety standards.
- This failure led to your injury.
Don’t worry, we can help. If you’d like expert guidance while navigating this complex process, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us. Don’t worry about costs…getting expert legal help from us is always risk-free. Your initial case evaluation is free, and we don’t get paid until you get paid.
If you get injured on the job, always remember: Give written notice to your nonsubscriber employer, see a doctor, and then get in touch with our experts to help get you the compensation you deserve.