What If My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation?
Texas is unique in many ways. It’s the only state to have six different flags flown over it. It is served by its own electricity grid. And prior to entering the union, it was the first in the nation to offer a homestead exemption.
But the Lone Star State is distinctive in another way as well: workers’ compensation laws. Texas is the only state in the U.S. where businesses are not required to become part of a workers’ compensation program. If a company chooses, it can opt out of the state’s plan and become what is known as a “non-subscriber.”Workers Compensation “Non-Subscriber”
In order to become a non-subscriber, Texas businesses must fulfill certain requirements. They must file a notice with the Texas Department of Insurance every year stating that they are opting out of the workers’ compensation program. They must notify every new employee in writing that they do not offer coverage. And they must post notices in the human relations office and throughout the workplace stating that the company is a non-subscriber.
Companies who do not provide coverage save money each month by not having to pay premiums for this type of insurance. However, their non-subscriber status prevents them from certain protections that are offered by the Texas workers’ compensation program, such as:
- automatic payment of attorneys fees that result from workers’ compensation litigation
- the common law defense that an injury was caused by the victim’s negligence
- the common law defense that an injury was caused by the negligence of other employees
- the common law defense that a victim was aware of the dangers and voluntarily accepted the risk
- a ban on punitive damages resulting from a lawsuit
Basically, any employee injury would be treated much like an injury suffered by a customer or other person on company premises. In other words, the injured party should retain a work injury attorney in order to pursue compensation, such as lost wages from missed time at work, reimbursement of medical expenses related to the injury, and possibly monetary damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering, and reduced quality of life. Unlike workers’ comp claims, medical expenses and unpaid wages in non-subscriber cases are not capped at an amount determined by state law – meaning there is no limit as to how much money a injured party might be able to recover.
If you are hurt on the job and your employer does not offer workers’ compensation, it is possible to try and reach an agreement with the company over how much money you need to cover medical expenses and/or unearned wages. If a satisfactory arrangement cannot be reached, or if the employer refuses to cooperate with you altogether, then it is strongly recommended that you engage the services of a an injury attorney who can help you file a lawsuit to receive the monetary damages to which you are entitled.We Can Help
Whether your employer is a subscriber or not, the Ramos Law Office can review your case, negotiate with your employer, and/or advocate for your rights in a work injury lawsuit if necessary – and you don’t have to pay unless you win your case. For more information, contact our office today.Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos, P.C.