Understanding the Texas Workers' Compensation Act
The Texas Workers' Compensation Act controls the relationship and conduct, upon an employee, being injured while in the course and scope of his or her job, AND his or her employer has workers' compensation insurance.
Ultimately, the employer decides whether or not to participate, or subscribe, to the protection offered by the Act.
The employee is more or less subjected to one of two sets of rules depending upon that decision made by the employer. This double set of rules determining the rights of the worker have led to what is known in the legal world as Workers' Comp Law and Non Subscriber Law.
To determine if an employer provides Workers Comp Insurance, call our Law Firm we will investigate for you. If they do, we can help. If they don’t we may still be able to help under the Non Subscriber Laws of Texas.
The Texas Workers' Compensation Act is a benefit to the employer because the injured employees cannot usually sue his or her employer in the event he or she is injured on the job, if coverage is in existence.
The benefit to the employee is that there is at least some type of insurance coverage that, in theory, should cover reasonable and necessary medical bills, so long as the employee can prove that the injury was incurred on the job. If the employer subscribes to workers' comp insurance, it lessens the chance that the employee gets nothing, as is often the case when the employer simply has no money to pay to an injured worker.
The employee is also entitled to receive a percentage of his lost wages for a certain number of weeks. The amount of weeks the employee is entitled to is determined by the extent of the injury and the impairment rating that the doctor determines. Generally speaking, an employee does not receive any lost wages compensation for the first 7 days that they are out of work. So, if an employee misses 15 says of work, they only start getting compensated on day 8. However, if the employee misses 30 consecutive days of work, or more, then they are retroactively compensated for the first 7 days.
To recap, the laws of the Workers' Compensation Act apply to any injured employee that works for that company.
The employer is protected because they cannot be sued by the employee for their involvement in the injury. The benefit to the employee is that there is at least some money for the employee to tap into if they are injured. The workers' comp insurance policy will pay for their medical expenses and pay some percentage of their income while they are unable to work, even if they can never work again.
However, the above is how it is "supposed" to work.
Unfortunately, in reality, many employers try to bend the rules in order to avoid paying an increased premium for their workers' comp insurance. They often resort to unscrupulous tactics that are neither fair nor legal. Also, many workers' comp insurance carriers require that the employee sees a doctor of their choosing who may or may not have the best interests of the employee in mind. Once an employee faces this type of opposition, they will need the help of a workers' compensation attorney as the case will ultimately go before the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission which will ultimately resolve all disputes.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, call our Office.