Unlike most states, Texas does not require all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In fact, by some estimates, up to one-third of Texas employers are “non-subscribers,” the term applied to companies that choose not to participate in the workers’ compensation program.
At Ted B. Lyon & Associates, our Dallas lawyers frequently represent injured workers, a number of whom work for non-subscribers. In this blog post, we’ll briefly explain what types of insurance your employer may have, and what you should do if you get hurt while working for a non-subscribing company.
Possible Insurance Scenarios You Might Face in Texas
If you were hurt on the job, you’ll likely face one of the following scenarios. Your company:
- Has workers’ comp insurance: In this case, your employer has insurance that covers employee injuries and you are covered. You may, however, need an attorney to help you get all the benefits you deserve.
- Has only a general commercial liability policy: These broad insurance policies rarely, if ever, cover injuries to employees or contractors.
- Has no insurance whatsoever: In this case, you’ll need an attorney to help you file a lawsuit directly against the company or its owners to obtain compensation.
- Is a non-subscriber: Rather than participate in the Texas work comp program, your employer has gone out and purchased an insurance policy from a third-party insurer to cover injuries.
Why Would My Employer Be a Non-Subscriber?
Texas employers that don’t subscribe to the workers’ comp program mostly do so because they can gain extra control over their insurance payouts if they purchase insurance outside the system. Often, these third-party policies heavily favor the company over the worker. They are low cost for employers, and it’s difficult for employees to make valid claims. The focus is not helping the employee get healthy; rather, it’s getting the employee back on the job quickly while paying out as little as possible.
Important Steps to Take if You Were Hurt When Working for a Non-Subscriber
These four steps are crucial to obtaining compensation for your injury if your employer is a non-subscriber:
- Report the injury to your employer within 24 hours: Talk to HR or the safety department and give them details about what happened. This helps prove the injury was work-related and was severe enough to require medical treatment.
- Preserve evidence: Save any communication you have with supervisors or coworkers about the injury, timesheets, medical receipts, photographs and anything else related to the incident.
- Write down all witnesses: If a colleague or bystander saw what happened, try to obtain their name and contact information. Their testimony can go a long way toward helping in your claim.
- Don’t take no for an answer: If your non-subscribing company refuses to report your injuries, keep talking. Tell managers that you’ve been hurt. Make a written report. Explain that your medical bills are stacking up and you need help.
Most Importantly, Call an Attorney
Since non-subscribers have tipped the scales against workers, workers need help evening things out. Speak with an experienced Texas work accident attorney as soon as possible. It is likely that full compensation will only come your way if you file a lawsuit and are successful, so you need legal help right away.