Workers’ compensation rules differ from state to state, but in Texas, the rules are unique in comparison to the rest of the country. If you’re employed in Texas, it’s important to know how workers’ compensation functions and what to do if you’re injured on the job.
Having this information is crucial so that you can receive compensation for your work-related injury. Learn what you need to know about workers’ compensation in Texas from your Houston personal injury attorneys.
How Texas Workers’ Compensation Differs From Other States
Unlike other states, Texas employers are not required to participate in the workers’ compensation program nor are they legally required to provide their employees with workers’ compensation coverage.
If an employee is injured at work and their employer does not have coverage, the employee can file a personal injury lawsuit against the company to get the financial relief they need.
When you’re first hired at your new job, your employer will inform you about the company’s workers’ compensation plan, if they offer one. In Texas, you are given five days after the start of your employment to waive your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
If you choose to waive your benefits, you still have the right to file a lawsuit against your employer in the event of a work-related injury.
How the Workers’ Compensation Program Works
While many are enrolled in the workers’ compensation program, few actually utilize it. If you’ve been injured on the job, there are several steps you must take to receive compensation.
These 4 steps include:
- Reporting — If you’ve been injured or become ill due to a workplace mishap, you should inform your employer right away. Your employer is then obligated to share the workers’ compensation insurance information with you and should also file a report with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
- Seeking Medical Treatment — If your injury or illness requires medical attention, tell your doctor that it is a result of your job. Your medical record should clearly state that your injury or illness happened at work.
- Initiating the Workers’ Compensation Claim — Once the insurance company is notified of your injury or illness, they have a limited amount of time to accept or reject your claim.
- Lifetime Medical Benefits — If the claim has been accepted, your medical care should be covered by your workers’ compensation insurance company as long as the care is reasonable and necessary. Many times, the insurance company will make sure that your healthcare provider is part of the insurance company’s network.
If you’ve filed your claim with the insurance company and have to miss more than 7 days of work, you can also receive benefits for your lost wages. Once you’ve become eligible for those benefits, your insurance carrier should send you a weekly check until you reach your “maximum medical improvement.”
After your maximum medical improvement has been reached, your income checks will stop and your permanent impairment will be assessed for further payment.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Your Employer
If you’ve been injured on the job and your employer offers workers’ compensation coverage, you must file a workers’ compensation claim to receive the benefits. You cannot file a lawsuit against your employer if they have workers’ compensation coverage.
However, if your employer does not have coverage, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them. To file a personal injury lawsuit, you will want to speak to a Houston personal injury attorney. They can help you initiate the claim and either settle the claim or represent you if it goes to trial.
Damages you may be able to recover from a personal injury lawsuit include but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future income
- Pain and suffering
Get Help With Your Personal Injury Lawsuit With Lapeze & Johns
If you’ve been injured on the job and are looking for compensation, reach out to your Houston personal injury attorneys at Lapeze & Johns to get started on your legal claim. Our experienced attorneys can handle your case from start to finish and help you receive full compensation for your injuries.