Workers’ compensation is an insurance system regulated by the state that ensures medical bills and lost wages are covered for employees injured on the job. While most states require employers to provide this insurance coverage, Texas allows private employers the right to choose whether or not they want to offer workers’ compensation. Those who don’t are referred to as workers’ compensation nonsubscribers. Employers exercise their option to not provide workers’ compensation for a number of reasons. For starters, they might be trying to avoid extremely high workers’ compensation premiums, fraud, or never-ending medical claims.
However, by electing to not offer workers’ compensation, nonsubscribers run the risk of personal injury lawsuits, paying high attorney fees, and paying damage awards if an employee proves negligence on the employer’s behalf. When an employer has workers’ compensation coverage they are legally protected, and in Texas that protection creates a bar to negligence lawsuits by injured workers.
How To Know if Your Employer is a Nonsubscriber
An employer is obligated to notify new hires of its workers’ compensation coverage status. It must also post notice of its coverage status in its place of business.
Texas law requires nonsubscribers to report their decision not to provide workers’ compensation to the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) each year. Employers must also report any work-related injuries, fatalities, or occupational diseases that may occur to the DWC.
Other Components to Consider with Workers’ Compensation Nonsubscribers
Most nonsubscribers in Texas provide private insurance coverage for injuries, medical expenses, and/or lost wages. It is essential that employees carefully read over any insurance plans or “Employee Injury Plans” to fully understand their benefits should they be injured while on the job. It’s important to also keep in mind that there are typically a number of requirements that must be met in order for employees to be elegible for these insurance benefits. To learn more about injuries under a non-subscriber, read part 2 of our workers compensation blog.
To stay on the safe side, keep a copy of your employer’s plan on hand. Under federal law, employers must provide a copy of their injury benefit plan upon employee request. If you have been injured and your employer is a workers’ compensation nonsubscriber, make sure you understand all of your legal rights. If you have any questions, contact the lawyers of Richard J. Plezia & Associates for help.