Best Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Houston, TX Of 2024 – Forbes

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Texas has a unique system for compensating injured workers. It is the only state that allows any private-sector employer to opt out of providing workers’ compensation coverage. Employers who opt out are referred to as “non-subscribers”. By comparison, other states require employers to offer workers’ compensation to employees in most circumstances.

As a result of these unique rules, navigating work injury claims in Texas can be confusing. Whether you need to work with a workers’ compensation lawyer or a non-subscriber work injury lawyer will depend on the type of coverage your employer offers.

Who Is Protected By Workers’ Compensation Laws in Houston, TX?

Workers’ compensation laws apply only to employees whose employers have opted into the state’s workers’ compensation coverage. Employers that opt-in are called “subscriber” employers. As of 2022, workers’ compensation coverage was held by 83% of private Texas employers. That was the highest rate of the prior 12 years.

If your employer is a subscriber employer, then they are required to notify you of the coverage. The notification must be prominently displayed in the employer’s office, often in a break room.

Non-subscriber employers—those who have opted out of providing workers’ compensation coverage—are responsible for reimbursing injured workers directly. It is common for non-subscriber employers to carry an alternative benefit plan. How much the alternative plan covers is up to the employer’s choice.

If your employer is a non-subscriber, they must post a notice to that effect and provide details on any alternative coverage in writing.

Workers’ Rights Under Houston, TX Workers’ Comp Laws

Workers employed by a subscriber employer are entitled to reimbursement of medical expenses after suffering a work injury. Lost wages may also be awarded for time you could not work if your injury caused you to miss seven or more work days.

Filing Process for Workers’ Compensation in  Houston, TX

Employees of subscriber employers still need to meet the following filing deadlines before they can claim benefits:

  • Within 30 days. File an injury report to your employer. The 30 days runs from either the date of injury or from when you discovered that your injury was work-related.
  • Within one year. File an official claim for compensation through the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation

Free general assistance with the initial claim filing is available through the Texas Office of Injured Employee Counsel (OIEC). Assistance is available at local offices and by telephone.

Workers’ Recovery for Workplace Injuries Beyond Workers’ Comp in Houston, TX

You will not be able to sue your employer for work-related injuries or illness in most cases if they are a subscriber employer. Keep in mind that lawsuits against a third party are allowed when that third party is at fault for your injuries. A third-party lawsuit does not limit your ability to file for workers’ compensation benefits.

If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation coverage, then you may be able to file a non-subscriber lawsuit. The statute of limitations for non-subscriber work injury cases in Texas is two years from either the date of injury or the date you became aware of the injury.

When employers carry alternative benefit plans instead of workers’ compensation coverage, they may have different filing deadlines and reporting requirements. You should have received notice of the plan rules when you were hired.

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