If you’re injured on the job in Texas, what are your rights? It’s not so clear. Texas doesn’t require workers’ comp.
You get injured at work. A simple thing.
…But not if it involves your employer paying you for time off or medical bills!
Not all employers are bad that way. But many are. And Texas law doesn’t necessarily work in favor of workers like you.
In fact, we’re the only state in the nation who doesn’t require employers of a certain size to carry workers’ comp.
And the insurance companies who pay for workers’ injuries actually design their services to not pay for your injuries.
For example, Andrew Ellis, who was unloading a delivery of PVC pipes from his truck, felt a pop in his knee. It was a serious injury.
He told his employer’s insurer his knee “gave out,” and they said that didn’t meet the definition of an accident or injury. His employer fired him. And he slept in a storage room at his church because he couldn’t pay for his apartment.
15 months later he finally had surgery. And 33 months later he finally collected payment.
…And Andrew’s story is a typical one!
What Are Your Rights if Injured at Work in Texas?
Even though Texas law doesn’t require employers to carry workers’ comp, most do (but stil around ⅓ don’t).
If they don’t, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit to possibly recover compensation for your injuries.
And if they do, recovering fair compensation for your injuries can still be tough.
In Mr. Ellis’ case, insurance policies for employers who don’t subscribe to workers’ comp give ridiculous limits for reporting an injury (24 hours versus 30 days for workers’ comp).
They also send a supervisor to tag along with you to your doctor appointment so they can gather evidence against you.
And benefits end after 50 – 120 weeks (compared to up to 401 weeks or even your entire lifetime with workers’ comp).
Now, as you saw, Mr. Ellis still recovered compensation for his injury, despite not necessarily following those policies. So, you can still come out okay. But you may endure extreme hardship in the meantime because employers and workers’ comp insurers don’t want to pay.
If your employer does not have workers’ comp, they have almost total control. They can literally fire you the second you report your injury, and for exactly that reason, without fear of any specific legal consequences for doing so.
Remember, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them, or possibly against a contractor, coworker, or the business owner.
If your employer has workers’ comp, they cannot fire you for being injured on the job. However, if they can prove you engaged in misconduct unrelated to your injury, they can fire you.
So if you haven’t figured it out already, it’s just kind of a big mess!
What To Do If You’re Injured on the Job
Whether your employer offers workers’ comp or not, it’s a wise idea to at least run your claim by a personal injury lawyer.
You pay only after your case wins because personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.
And at least then you can be sure you get fair treatment.