Injured on the job while working for a Texas non-subscriber? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is a Texas Non-subscriber?
Most states require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage to cover expenses when an employee is injured on the job. Texas doesn’t have that requirement. Texas is unique because it provides an opt-out option for workers comp insurance. This kind of flexibility with insurance requirements can be a boon or a burden. How it works for you depends on your circumstances.
While it gives employers and employees flexibility and freedom of choice, having no coverage (aka “going bare”) exposes employers to personal injury lawsuits from employees who are injured on the job. The damages and attorney’s fees in these lawsuits are almost unlimited. While the statutes that govern workers comp in Texas are fairly straightforward, it’s not always obvious how the law will be applied in each case. The best thing to do if you’re involved in a worker’s comp dispute is to get help from experienced Texas worker’s compensation attorneys. You have the best chances of coming out on top when you get legal help early in the process.
In the meantime, these frequently asked questions about non-subscribers in Texas can help to demystify the whole process.
What are Texas employers required to do for workers comp if they are a non-subscriber?
Texas employers, at a minimum, must:
- Notify the State they do or do not have coverage
- Notify the State when they terminate coverage
- Post notices, with the exact wording, in the workplace
- Notify new employees of the absence of coverage
- Notify existing employees of coverage termination
- Notify employees how to file claims
- Many employers must also have drug prevention programs
Does an employee automatically win a Texas non-subscriber injury claim if an employer opts out?
No, the injured employee must prove the employer was negligent.
The employer can defend themselves by showing the accident was caused by:
(A) an intentional act of the employee, or
(B) the employees’ intoxication (including substance abuse).
To win a case as an injured employee, you have to prove negligence in court
What can injured employees do to prove negligence on the part of the employer?
An employee can prove employer negligence by showing:
- An employer failed to maintain adequate staff to perform the job safely
- An employer failed to maintain safe premises and working conditions
- An employer failed to provide or maintain the necessary equipment to perform the job safely
- An employer’s supervisors or employees were negligent
Can an employer covered by Texas workers comp insurance still get sued?
Absolutely. A surviving spouse or heirs of an employee can sue if their loved one died because of an intentional act or omission by an employer, or the gross negligence of an employer. Also, lawsuits can be filed after the claims determination process has been completed.
Each worker’s comp claim in Texas is different, and each case will have a different approach for winning damages as an employee or successfully defending your actions as an employer. Whenever you’re dealing with a nonsubscriber claim in Texas, you need a lawyer to help. Otherwise, you risk getting lost in the weeds and being stuck with your medical bills after a workplace accident. The lawyer you choose will have an outsized impact on the outcome of your claim. Only deal with experienced attorneys with a proven track record in Texas employment law and that are willing to offer you a risk-free case evaluation.
That way, you have the best chances at winning your case and you don’t have to risk any money upfront to get the legal help you deserve. Contact Malley Law Firm today to get started.