For most work-related injuries, your employer’s workers’ comp policy would cover some of your damages. However, not all companies subscribe to this policy.
In Texas, companies can opt out of workers’ comp benefits and list themselves as a non-subscriber. This allows employees to file a personal injury claim to recover their damages rather than relying on workers’ comp, which often only covers a fraction of employee damages anyway.
If you’ve been injured working for a non-subscriber Texas company, let the experienced attorneys at Anderson Injury Lawyers help you recover total compensation for your hardship. In our 25 years of experience, we’ve handled many cases just like yours and have helped employees file non-subscriber claims.
$280,000 Settlement After Worker's Compensation Refused to Pay
Workers’ Comp vs. Non-Subscriber Claims
Workers’ comp benefits and non-subscriber claims differ in many ways, especially in terms of compensation. Additionally, you will be limited in the amount of legal action you can take depending on your scenario.
What Is Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ comp is a benefit that employers pay for, which helps pay for some of the expenses that result from a work-related injury. You must be eligible for this benefit, and eligibility depends on the characteristics of your incident.
If you’re found negligent in any way or a third party other than your employer caused the work injury, workers’ comp will not cover your expenses.
Compensation Available in a Workers’ Comp Claim
Although workers’ comp seems like a generous benefit to hard-working employers, it significantly impacts your compensation. Workers’ comp only compensates you for medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages.
This fails to consider the entirety of damages you may have suffered, including non-monetary damages like pain and suffering. Furthermore, workers’ comp is a tactic companies use to prevent injury lawsuits. This safeguards them from legal liability no matter how negligent they are.
What Is a Non-Subscriber Texas Company?
A non-subscriber Texas company has chosen to forgo paying for workers’ comp benefits to avoid paying out compensation to employees if a work injury occurs. Only a few states are allowed to make this decision.
Compensation Available in a Texas Non-Subscriber Claim
The rules that apply for workers’ comp claims do not apply to non-subscriber claims. When your employer doesn’t subscribe to workers’ comp, you are well within your rights to take legal action. Additionally, you can now pursue total compensation for your work injury rather than the limited amount allotted for workers’ comp. These damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Punitive damages
- Lost wages
Are You Working for a Non-Subscriber?
If you are injured at work, you may be unsure of the rights you have as an employee and whether you’re able to file a work injury claim. If you’re unfamiliar with your company’s current policy, we recommend you find out in the following ways:
- Check the Texas Department of Insurance Website – The Texas Department of Insurance allows you to search companies to view their insurance status.
- Verify Your Employee Contract – Your employee contract should highlight essential information regarding your benefits and your company’s workers’ comp policy.
- Employer Posted Notifications – If your employer chooses to forgo workers’ comp benefits, that information should be posted as a written notice to update workers.
What Companies Are Non-Subscribers?
Given the leniency of Texas workers’ comp laws, several companies have chosen to opt out of paying for workers’ comp benefits.
Here is a list of notable non-subscribers:
- Academy Sports and Outdoors
- Randalls (Tom Thumb, Albertsons, etc.)
- Amazon (Whole Foods)
- BP America
- McLane Food Service Group
- United Airlines
- Hewlett Packard
If you were injured at BP America, ExxonMobil, Amazon (Whole Foods), or another non-subscriber company, you have the right to pursue total compensation for your losses.
Were You Injured Working for a Non-Subscriber?
When you are injured working for a non-subscriber, you must file a claim to cover your damages. There are several things you can do after your incident to strengthen your claim.
Report Your Incident
Even if you were hurt working for a non-subscriber, you should still report your injury. This injury report documents the time and place of your injury, as well as what occurred. This could be valuable evidence for your claim, much like a police report for a car accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Even a minor accident may warrant a trip to the hospital for closer examination. Not only will this start your recovery journey, but proper medical documentation can provide the necessary evidence that shows you were injured from the incident.
This will also show the extent of those injuries, which will help determine the value of your claim.
If your injury occurred near other co-workers, their testimony would prove invaluable to your claim. Additionally, an attorney can recruit the help of experts to investigate your accident and determine the root cause.
File A Personal Injury Lawsuit
Typically, you would have 30 days to report your incident to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. Since those benefits aren’t available to you, you will need to get started on filing a personal injury lawsuit with an attorney.
The deadline to file personal injury claims in Texas is two years. Although this seems like a long time, your attorney will need time to investigate your accident and gather the necessary evidence for your claim.
Texas Non-Subscribers Have Limited Defenses
In personal injury claims, you must prove that the at-fault party is negligent and caused your damages. The same is true for non-subscriber claims; however, the defendant’s strategy for defense is limited. Since employers opted out of workers’ comp benefits, they can no longer make the same arguments in a typical personal injury claim.
Defense Examples Your Employer Can’t Use
When you file a personal injury claim against your employer, they will not be allowed to use the following defenses:
- Comparative Fault – In your non-subscriber claim, your employer can only argue that you were the primary cause of your injuries.
- “Canned Defenses” – In addition to a comparative fault, your employer cannot use an “Act of God” or “Sudden Emergency” defense to claim that the cause of your injury was unavoidable.
Arguments Your Employer Can Use
While your employer is limited in their arguments, you should still be aware of the many they can use against you, including:
- You intentionally injured yourself
- Your negligence caused your injury, such as drinking on the job
- You were performing a routine task
- The hazard that could have caused your accident is naturally present within the job
Texas Non-Subscriber Work Injury FAQs
Given the complexity of non-subscriber claims and how they differ from traditional workers’ comp, you may have many questions. We compiled a few of our most frequently asked questions.
Can You Sue Your Employer in Texas?
When you are injured working for a non-subscriber Texas company, you are well within your rights to sue your employer. However, if your company subscribes to workers’ comp benefits, then you are not within your right to sue.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Workers’ Comp in Texas?
Workers’ comp allows employees to receive pre-packaged benefits in the event of injury. This includes payment for medical treatment and a portion of lost wages. However, your accident may have been more severe, requiring additional damages to be covered.
Workers’ comp does not cover emotional damages like pain and suffering and punitive damages to punish the at-fault party. Furthermore, you cannot sue your employer to recover these damages since they offer workers’ comp benefits.
Should You Sign a Post-Injury Waiver?
After a work injury, your non-subscribed employer may approach you to sign a post-injury waiver. This waiver states that your employer will provide benefits and medical treatment for you. This waiver also says that you will not be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. Signing this could prevent you from receiving compensation.
What Makes a Post-Injury Waiver Valid?
Under Texas law, there are several requirements to make a post-injury waiver valid. These requirements include:
- Must be signed after the injury and not before
- Cannot be signed within ten business days after the injury report was filed
- Must be voluntarily signed by the worker
- Cannot be signed until a non-emergency care doctor examines the employee
If your post-injury waiver is invalid in any way, you may still be entitled to sue your employer.
Anderson Injury Lawyers Can Help
A work injury with a non-subscriber Texas company opens the door to pursuing all the compensation you could be entitled to rather than settling for workers’ comp benefits. Anderson Injury Lawyers has helped recover over $100,000,000 for accident victims in cases just like yours.
Let us review your case and put our experienced team of legal advocates to work on helping you recover compensation for your injuries. We’ll investigate your accident, determine fault, and hold those at-fault parties liable. Contact Anderson Injury Lawyers today at 817-294-1900 or fill out our online contact form.