What Are Your Rights if Your Employer is a “Non-Subscriber”?
You’ve been hurt on the job in Texas. In most states, your employer is required to either purchase a policy of workers’ compensation insurance or qualify with the state to be self-insured, paying any compensation for your injury directly. In Texas, though, there is no requirement that any employer carry workers’ compensation insurance. Accordingly, nearly half of all companies in Texas are not covered by the state’s workers’ compensation system, and about one of every five workers will not be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Those Texas companies that do not carry workers’ compensation insurance are referred to as “non-subscribers”. What are your rights if you are injured on the job and your employer is a non-subscriber? Do you still have a right to seek compensation for your injuries? If so, how does the process differ from a workers’ compensation claim?
All Workers in Texas Have a Right to Seek Compensation for Work-Related Injury
In Texas, whether your employer has workers’ compensation insurance or is a non-subscriber, you still have a right to pursue monetary compensation for injury and loss. If your employer does carry workers’ compensation insurance, a work comp claim may be your exclusive remedy for work-related injuries, unless they were caused by an unrelated third party (someone other than your employer or a co-worker).
To qualify for workers’ compensation, you need to show just two things: that you were injured, and that the injury occurred during the course of your employment. You must, however, be unable to work for at least 7 days to be eligible for workers’ compensation. You’ll be limited to an amount based on your average weekly wage (typically 70% of the average of the last 52 weeks). If your claim is approved, you can typically expect to start receiving benefits within a few weeks.
Your Rights When Your Employer is a Non-Subscriber
If your employer has opted out of the Texas workers’ compensation program, you must file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for any injuries or loss suffered in a workplace accident. There are advantages and disadvantages to this course of action:
- You will have to establish that your employer was negligent – To succeed on a claim of negligence, you must first show that your employer failed to act as a reasonable person would. That may require proving a failure to maintain equipment or ensure a safe working environment. You must then demonstrate that the failure to act reasonably caused an accident, and that you sustained actual losses because of the accident. You must show that the accident would not have happened, had your employer acted reasonably. You must also show that the injury or loss you suffered was reasonably foreseeable as a result of the failure to act reasonably. You may not recover compensation for losses covered by insurance.
- You likely won’t see any compensation for a lengthy period of time, unless you negotiate a settlement – It takes a long time for a lawsuit to make it through a trial. Simply gathering evidence can take months or years. Even if the jury returns a verdict in your favor, it may be appealed.
- You won’t be limited to the fixed amount of compensation available through a workers’ compensation claim – A jury can award you damages for lost wages and income, unreimbursed medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium or companionship.
Contact the Proven Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the devastating impact any type of personal injury can have on every part of your life. We’ll aggressively protect your rights throughout the legal process, acting as your intermediary with insurance companies and as your voice in all meetings, hearings and legal proceedings. Contact us by email or call our offices at (844) 402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.