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Texas Non-Subscriber Workers’ Compensation Cases: Your Rights and What to Do When You’re Injured

Workplace injuries are painful, stressful, and confusing. Understanding the different types of Texas workers’ compensation cases can help you receive financial support as quickly as possible.

Subscriber and Non-Subscriber Workers’ Comp

Texas workers’ comp cases fall into two categories: subscriber and non-subscriber. Those terms refer to whether your employer is enrolled in workers’ compensation insurance, which you can verify online.

If your employer subscribes to workers’ comp insurance, the process for filing a claim is straightforward. In Texas subscriber cases, you don’t have to prove your employer’s negligence. You simply need to show that you were performing activities within the normal scope of your job when you were hurt.

However, there are limitations on how much compensation you’ll receive and the types of treatments that are covered. Workers’ comp insurance doesn’t offer much in the way of damages and financial compensation, but it covers your basic needs and is less litigious than other claims.

In a Texas non-subscriber case, you must prove that your employer was negligent and that their negligence contributed to your accident. However, employers cannot argue that employees are responsible for their own accidents. The exception to this rule is when a worker’s behavior was so reckless, they were clearly the only party at fault.

There are no caps on the amounts or types of compensation you can be awarded under Texas non-subscriber law. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you might recover damages for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and disfigurement, loss of wages or wage-earning capacity, and other grievances not covered under traditional workers’ comp claims. But these cases are more litigious than subscriber cases, and the burden to prove negligence falls more heavily on the victim.

Common Workplace Injuries

Van Wey, Presby & Williams specializes in non-subscriber workers’ comp cases that involve catastrophic injuries. We define catastrophic injuries as those that, at minimum, require surgery. But they often involve permanent, life-altering disabilities and reduce the victim’s long-term earning capacity.

The types of injuries we see vary by industry. Hospital and nursing home workers generally suffer accidents when they’re forced to lift heavy patients without help or have to use medical equipment without training and assistance. Industrial accidents happen for a variety of reasons, such as electrocution and electric shock. Forklift accidents are common as well.

In some cases, employers will violate OSHA standards by asking workers to climb without protective harnesses and safety lines. Construction sites also pose significant risks, particularly when employees are working in areas without railings or safety equipment.

What to Do After a Workers’ Comp Injury

If you or a loved one is injured at work, find out whether your employer subscribes to Texas workers’ comp insurance. If you can’t track this information down online, we’ll be happy to look it up on your behalf. Just give us a call, and we will find the answers at no charge.

Most people are reluctant to file workers’ comp claims against their employers because they’re afraid of losing their jobs. In a situation where your company subscribes to Texas workers’ comp insurance, you may decide against hiring a lawyer and following the standard claims procedure. But if you feel more comfortable with representation, we’re happy to refer you to firms that handle these claims, again at no charge.

If your employer is a non-subscriber to Texas workers’ comp and you’re not hurt too badly, you might choose to work with them on the case. Let them pay your medical bills and compensate you for your recovery and rehabilitation. Once you’re well, you may go back to work for them.

However, if you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury, hire a lawyer immediately, no matter how nice your employer seems. We often meet with people who resisted getting a lawyer because their employers promised to pay their medical bills and compensate them for their time off. But a year down the road, their injuries are more complicated than they seemed, and the victims are facing years and even lifetimes of not being able to work.

By that time, there’s not a lot we can do because the employer and insurance company have already conducted their investigations. The faulty machines have been fixed and put back into service, so there’s no chance of us being able to figure out what went wrong. It’s very difficult to build a case when that much time has passed, so do not delay in retaining a lawyer.

Cooperating With Your Employer

In most accident and injury cases, we advise clients not to give statements or cooperate with the other party’s insurance investigation. However, workers’ comp cases require more diplomacy because the other party is your employer.

Cooperate with their investigation, but do not assume that what is best for them is best for you. If possible, you want to maintain a positive relationship. But what matters most is that you get the right medical treatment and fair compensation.

In most cases, your employer will want you to see their specified doctor. That doctor has a financial incentive to minimize the amount of money your employer has to pay out, so we encourage you to get a second opinion.

We’ve seen tragic cases in which workers do not receive the correct diagnosis after an injury and they suffer physical and financial fallout for years following the initial accident. Delays in treatment can lead to health complications, time off work, and increased medical expenses, so get a trusted medical opinion right away. Having a lawyer is advantageous at this point as well. Even if you don’t bring a suit immediately, your lawyer can advocate for you with your medical case managers to ensure you get the care you need.

We understand people’s fears about losing their jobs and the loyalty they feel to their employers. However, you must be your own champion in workers’ comp cases. Your employer may be kind and generous, but they’re also constrained by their insurance policies and other responsibilities.

No one is more motivated than you and your family to ensure that you receive top-quality medical care and the appropriate amount of financial support to recover from a catastrophic injury. We’re here to ease that burden and help you claim the compensation to which you’re entitled so you can focus on getting well and rebuilding your life after an accident.

By: Kay Van Wey | October 31st, 2017

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