The Lone Star State is one of the few states that does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Instead, employers can opt-out and either not have insurance to cover injured workers or maintain a separate policy that may or may not cover your injury.
This may create a confusing set of circumstances for those suffering from work injuries who just want financial and legal help to move forward.
If you were injured on the job and your employer does not carry workers’ compensation, you may ask yourself, what damages you may be able to recover for a work injury as a non-subscribing employee.
In this article, the Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP team provides information about Texas non-subscriber rules. We also explain the types of compensation you may be able to receive by filing a claim against your employer.
We understand the often complex Texas laws surrounding recovering compensation for work injuries when your employer does not have workers’ comp insurance.
Our team has helped clients recover millions to reimburse them for the financial and emotional loss of being injured on the job.
Rules About Texas Non-Subscriber Insurance
In Texas, most businesses and other employers have a choice about whether or not to “subscribe” to workers’ compensation insurance.
Under a workers’ compensation policy, the employee may recover wage replacement benefits and compensation for injury-related medical expenses.
But there are limits depending on the type of policy that the employer has, the pertinent facts, and the law at play in that situation. Workers cannot sue or hold their employers responsible if they are subscribed to workers’ compensation.
By contrast, employers who do not subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance (i.e., “Texas non-subscriber insurance”) can be sued by employees who suffer injuries on the job.
Workers can seek to recover compensation by filing personal injury lawsuits. The employee is responsible for proving the elements of a work-injury case, including establishing that their employer or someone who worked for their employer was negligent.
Texas employers who do not subscribe to the state workers’ compensation program may take out different insurance policies to cover some aspects of work injuries.
If the employer’s insurance does not adequately compensate the employee or if the provider denies coverage, workers can still file a lawsuit to recover a financial award.
Before accepting compensation from your employer, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney. You want to ensure you understand the implications if you take the offer.
An attorney can also help you determine if it is in your best interest to accept the settlement versus pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
What Damages May I Be Able to Recover for a Work Injury as a Non-Subscribing Employee?
As an injured employee whose employer does not subscribe to workers’ compensation, you may be able to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
Under Texas law, the compensation available to you includes economic, noneconomic, and, in rare cases, exemplary (or punitive) damages.
An economic damages award reimburses you for the financial burden of the work injury. This might include compensation for your medical bills, prescription costs, lost wages, and physical therapy fees.
Typically, a damages award encompasses past expenses and those you reasonably expect to incur in the future because of the accident or injury, such as lost earning capacity or future medical care.
Noneconomic damages compensate you for the emotional, psychological, and societal costs of the injury. For example, this category provides financial relief to address the pain and suffering you experienced because of what happened.
Finally, courts award exemplary damages in the uncommon case where it is necessary to punish an at-fault employer. Typically, exemplary damages are reserved for claims with evidence of fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
Texas Case Law Safe Work Environment Non-Subscriber Employers
Regardless of their status as a subscriber or non-subscriber, Texas employers must maintain a safe work environment for their employees. For example, they must implement safety protocols, properly train their employees and management, provide necessary equipment and breaks, and so on.
If an employer fails to provide a safe work environment and a worker is injured, the employer may be held liable if they are a non-subscriber. On the other hand, subscribers are not held responsible (in most cases).
Employer Defenses in the Texas Labor Code Non-Subscriber
The Texas Labor Code non-subscriber allows employers to assert limited defenses if their employee files a personal injury lawsuit against them due to an on-the-job injury.
The employer can allege that the worker intentionally caused their injuries or did something to cause themselves harm intentionally. The second defense is that the employee was intoxicated while on the job when they were injured.
Armstrong Lee & Baker: Workers’ Rights Advocates Serving Texas
When you are injured on the job, your priority is to get better, get compensation, and get back to your normal life as soon as possible.
Our team understands how frustrating and challenging it can be to suffer a work injury and try to pursue compensation. We are here to help ease your burden and hold your employer accountable.
Scott Armstrong of Armstrong Lee & Baker provides aggressive but personable legal representation, helping clients to achieve favorable results in many complex situations.
His hard work and dedication have earned him the distinguished ranking of Rising Star from Super Lawyers, a distinction reserved for 2.5% of attorneys who have been practicing for ten years or less and are under 40.
If you suffered a work injury and have questions about receiving compensation, call our firm today at 832-709-1124 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.