Workplace injuries usually call to mind inherently dangerous jobs and worksites. But the truth is, a workplace injury can happen in any profession, at any job site, at any time—from an early morning oil field accident to a late-night movie theater mishap.
Luckily, the Lone Star State is a frontrunner when it comes to providing workers with safe workspaces.
In fact, Texas private industry employers only reported 178,900 non-fatal employee on-the-job injuries in 2021. At 2.1 injuries for every 100 people, that’s below the 2021 national average.
The other heartening news is that if you are one of those people who were injured on the job, the Tyler workplace accident lawyers at Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP could help you recoup damages.
What If My Employer Opted Out of Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Many states require employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits. However, Texas allows most employers to opt out of having workers’ compensation coverage. In Texas, employers must purchase a state-approved workers’ compensation plan to avoid civil liability.
If your Tyler employer offers a state-backed plan, your damages are covered under whatever benefits the plan provides. In that case, you cannot bring a civil suit against your employer for extra damages.
A company that opts out of workers’ compensation in Texas is called a non-subscriber. Employees injured while working for Tyler non-subscriber companies can bring a civil lawsuit against that employer for damages.
Can Alternative Workers’ Compensation Coverages Replace State-Backed Plans?
Almost every Texas employer can opt out of traditional workers’ compensation. The rare exceptions are companies involved in state construction projects and government entities. Some companies that opt out buy private workers’ compensation plans.
However, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) prohibits insurance companies from representing alternative coverages as substitutes for workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
This means that even if your employer offers private accident and health insurance policies instead of state-backed compensation, you can still bring a civil suit against them for damages such as pain and suffering, punitive damages, and attorney fees.
Essentially, you can collect damages provided by these alternate policies and still sue your employer for other losses.
If your employer has a private workers’ compensation insurance plan, you should consult with an experienced workplace accident attorney to learn more about your options.
The Tyler non-subscriber attorneys at Armstrong Lee & Baker can review your case, work with your employer’s insurance companies to help you secure benefits and determine whether filing a civil suit is the next best course of action.
What Are Some Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Non-Subscriber Cases?
Texas state workers’ compensation benefits are available to workers when a workplace injury occurs. They ensure that workers receive fair compensation for their injuries when they are hurt on the job.
If your company opted-in to Texas workers’ compensation, it is indemnified from further civil liability.
This means a worker’s sole means of getting compensation is through the state system.
Workers’ compensation compensates injured employees for lost wages, poor employment prospects, and medical expenses.
However, it does not award damages such as pain and suffering. These benefits are usually distributed through weekly payments. If an employee suffers fatal injuries, workers’ compensation usually provides burial expenses and additional benefits to the family.
Texas-backed workers’ compensation will cover your injuries no matter what. You do not have to prove negligence on your employer’s part like you would if you filed a civil suit.
Nor do you have to wait for a lengthy trial or settlement negotiations to be completed to receive compensation.
But it also means that your compensation may be limited or that it will not fully cover your injuries and lost wages.
Unlike workers’ compensation cases, non-subscriber cases are treated like other types of personal injury lawsuits. The good news is that they are not subject to the same restrictions imposed by the workers’ compensation system.
An injured worker may also obtain substantially more money through a lawsuit than a workers’ compensation claim would offer, including pain and suffering damages.
However, the injured worker must prove that their employer’s negligent conduct caused their injuries and losses.
Retaining a personal injury lawyer experienced in workplace law can help you present a strong claim that proves your employer’s negligence, speeding up the settlement process.
Our Tyler workplace accident lawyers can walk you through the non-subscriber claims process and work with your employer’s private insurance companies to recover fair compensation for your injuries.
If the insurance company does not make a fair settlement offer, our attorneys can help you decide if you want to file a lawsuit.
Contact Our Tyler, TX Workplace Accident Lawyers Today
Our Tyler, TX, workplace accident lawyers understand precisely how non-subscriber employers operate and are adept at securing compensation from them.
We’ve won millions in workplace accident compensation for our clients and never take a fee unless we win. If you hire us, our battle-tested attorneys will work tirelessly for you every step of the way to ensure that you get the best result possible.
We take pride in being a client-centered law firm, and we will always put your interests first.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultations.