The workers’ compensation system in Texas is, at its heart, a mixed bag. This type of insurance makes it possible for a worker who becomes sick or is injured on the job to receive all of the medical care he or she needs and to provide the injured party with income during the time they can’t work, so that they can at least pay the bills.
All states have some form of workers’ compensation insurance in their systems, but the Texas workers’ compensation insurance system is different, primarily because it’s optional. Nearly everywhere else in the country, employers are required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance for every employee under their control, but Texas employers don’t have to participate.
What Is Covered By Texas Workers’ Compensation
If a Texas employer chooses to participate in the state’s workers compensation system, they will purchase insurance to cover their employees and that worker will be covered for any costs. In return for that, the employee can’t sue that employer for an accident, so the workers comp benefits are the only source of compensation available to an injured employee, unless a non-employer third party was somehow responsible for the workers injury. What this means is, a worker can be very limited as to what they can do to be compensated for their losses.
In the Texas workers compensation system, any employee who has been injured in an accident in the workplace is required to notify the employer within 30 days of the accident or within 30 days of the diagnosis of a workplace injury or illness. At that point, the employer will then notify the insurer and all of their benefits should begin almost immediately. These benefits include coverage of all medical bills and disability income to cover 80 percent of lost wages. If an employee dies on the job, Texas workers compensation covers all funeral costs and death benefits for the surviving family.
Whether or not an employer was negligent has absolutely no relevance when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits. As long as the employee can prove that any health issues they claim happened while performing their work duties, workers comp will usually provide benefits, whether they were seriously injured by a falling piece of equipment, they were exposed to toxic chemicals at work or they developed carpal tunnel or some other repetitive stress injury.
Who is Eligible for Workers Compensation in Texas?
In Texas, any employee under the workers comp system who is unable to work can have all medical bills paid and they will also receive what are called temporary income benefits (TIBS) for 105 weeks or until doctors determine that maximum medical improvement (MMI) has been reached. MMI is basically the point at which the injured worker will no longer continue to improve medically. When doctors determine that MMI has been reached, that employee will be assessed and given an impairment rating, after which they will receive Impairment Income Benefits (IIBS) based on that reading. If the impairment rating is 15 percent or greater, the employee may also receive Supplemental Income Benefits (SIBS).
While the benefits available through the Texas workers compensation system can be significant and keep you financially solvent after you get hurt, employers don’t have to provide workers compensation insurance. While they do have to publish certain notices and they do have to notify all employees who take a job with them that they do not provide workers’ compensation coverage, not all employers do this, which means that quite often an employee doesn’t realize they’re not covered by workers’ compensation until they have been injured.
In those cases, the worker may have to file suit against the employer and prove that the employer was somehow negligent in order to win a lawsuit against a nonsubscriber, which is what the Texas Department of Insurance calls an employer who opts out of workers’ compensation in Texas.
Employees covered by workers compensation in Texas are forbidden by law from filing a claim against their employer, but a number of accidents can be the result of negligence on the part of a third party who is not the injured workers employer. For example, if a worker was injured by a piece of equipment that was somehow defective, the worker can file a claim against the manufacturer or supplier of the equipment.
Experienced Corpus Christi Workplace Injury Lawyers
Employers have a duty under Texas and federal law to make sure the workplace is safe for all employees and workers compensation provides an exclusive remedy for any worker who was hurt on the job. It’s relatively quick and easy for the employee and prevents the employer from being sued.
However, it’s also important to remember that not all workplace accidents are solely the fault of either the employer or the employee, and failing to explore that option with a highly qualified Corpus Christi workplace injury attorney, such as the ones of the Gutierrez Law Firm, means you may not be giving yourself the best chance of getting the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can look at the circumstances and find out if you are getting everything you deserve.