Getting injured while on the job can be frustrating in many ways. In addition to the pain of your injury, you might also have to take off work, which results in a loss of money. Then there’s the cost of the injuries — and everything starts to pile up.
And some jobs are particularly high on the risk factor for injuries, including construction workers, farmers, and logging workers.
At The Stewart Law Firm our Austin personal injury lawyers have extensive experience advocating for workers who have been injured on the job. This blog will go over workers’ compensation, Texas law, and all the basics you will need to know about workers’ compensation.
What is Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated insurance program that provides medical and income benefits to workers for work-related injury or illness, regardless of who is at fault.
These types of injury or illnesses include:
- Occupational illnesses – for example, a chronic lung condition caused by breathing in hazardous chemicals at work
- Trauma injuries caused by repetitive tasks or awkward positions while working- back injury
- Accidents- falling due to not proper signage of wet floor, etc.
These do not include injuries, though, that happens outside of work. Nor does it cover injuries due to intoxication on the job, knowingly doing unsafe practices, etc.
Texas Work Injury Laws
One would think that workers’ compensation is available for all workers; however, that isn’t the case in Texas.
In Texas, private employers do not need to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers not providing workers’ compensation insurance coverage are referred to as non-subscribers.
Non-subscribers lose essential legal protections, including immunity from most lawsuits by injured employees. They could also be forced to pay high damage awards if an injured employee can prove in court that the employer was negligent in any way.
If an employer has workers’ compensation insurance coverage, Texas law limits the employer’s liability for work-related injuries. Injured employees may get medical and income benefits set by state law but generally may not sue their employers.
Liability limits in Texas
For employers that provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage, Texas law limits the employer’s liability for employees’ work-related injuries.
However, for non-subscribers of workers’ compensation, there are no limits.
The non-subscriber could be subject to high damage awards, including punitive damages and damages for pain and suffering. The employer might also be required to pay defense-related legal expenses, such as attorneys’ fees.
Non-subscribers also lose certain common-law defenses, including:
- The injured employee’s negligence caused the injury
- the negligence of fellow employees caused the injury
- The injured employee knew of the danger and voluntarily accepted it.
Private Disability Insurance Policy
If a Texas employer has a private disability insurance policy, it can still be difficult for an injured worker to recover appropriate compensation. Such policies are sometimes bare-bones, and worker claims are routinely denied.
Unlike workers’ compensation insurance coverage, alternative coverages typically have specific policy limits on medical benefits for each covered employee.
In addition, alternative coverages usually have shorter maximum payment periods than those provided by Texas workers’ compensation laws.
Contact A Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Trying to navigate all the different types of insurances an employer could have can be tricky for a recently injured worker. Working with an Austin, Texas personal injury lawyer can be beneficial in this situation. You will want someone on your side who will fight for what you deserve every step of the way.
Our team of attorneys at The Stewart Law Firm have years of experience with personal injury cases, including work injury-related cases. We will provide you with the reliable counsel you need. Contact us to discuss your case.