Most private employers in Texas have a choice—they can opt out of providing workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. When employers choose to be a nonsubscriber, they are legally required to notify every employee when hired and post notices in the workplace that they don’t provide workers’ comp. They could also notify you through an employee handbook.
However, if you work for a nonsubscriber and you are injured on the job, you can still file a personal injury claim against your employer. Even without workers’ compensation insurance, the company may have to pay damages to an employee injured in a work-related accident or to the families of that employee.
Which Employers Don’t Have Workers’ Comp?
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, approximately 44 percent of Texas employers are nonsubscribers—that means thousands of employers in diverse industries throughout the state don’t provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. Fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King, home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, and large retailers such as Walmart are currently nonsubscribers in Texas.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury at work, it is important to know if your employer is covered by workers’ compensation or is a nonsubscriber.
How to Recover Damages If Your Texas Employer Doesn’t Offer Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If your employer is a nonsubscriber and you were injured at work due to employer negligence or an unsafe work environment, you have the right to file a claim to recover damages. You could have a case if you were hurt because your employer failed to:
- Warn you about a dangerous condition
- Train employees properly
- Assign enough workers to do the job safely
- Provide safe tools or machines
Do not trust your employer to protect your rights—even if you were hurt in one of the situations described above. Instead, you need to know your rights. As an employee of a nonsubscriber, you have the right to pursue a fair recovery even if your employer offers to pay for some of your lost wages.
In order to protect these rights, you should:
- Get the medical care that you need
- Report your accident injuries
- Keep all documentation or evidence of your accident and injury
- Know that your employer can’t raise some of the defenses that are raised in other Texas personal injury cases. For example, your employer cannot claim contributory negligence, assumption of the risk, pre-injury waiver of liability, or fellow servant doctrine in a nonsubscriber injury case.
- Not give a statement or sign anything prior to speaking with a lawyer
You may be compensated for:
- Medical bills. You may recover damages for all of your past, current, and future medical bills for surgeries, hospital stays, doctor visits, rehabilitation therapies, and medications.
- Lost income. You may recover for your past, current, and future lost income.
- Pain and suffering. You may receive compensation for physical pain and emotional suffering.
- Punitive damages. You may recover punitive damages if an employer acted in an intentionally unlawful way.
If a court determines that your employer was negligent—even if some type of negligence on your part played a larger role in the injury—it’s likely that the employer will be held financially responsible. And the employer may have to pay all defense-related legal fees.
Approximately 20 percent of Texas employees work for employers who are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If you become injured on the job, there are steps you need to take to protect your potential recovery. In most nonsubscriber cases, you have two years to file a personal injury claim against your employer. However, there are benefits to acting quickly. Please contact a board certified attorney today at 888-404-9469 for more information.