Subscribers vs. Non Subscribers
What is a Non Subscriber?
When it comes to on the job injuries, your employer falls into one of two categories. They either have state approved workers’ compensation insurance or they don’t. Texas is the only state which allows employers to completely opt out of workers’ compensation coverage. The employers who opt out of state approved workers’ compensation insurance are called non subscribers or bare employers. If you have questions about whether your employer is one of the 60% which has state approved workers compensation insurance, please contact us, and we will research it for you.
Some of Texas’ Biggest Employers Are Non Subscribers
The 40% of employers without state approved workers compensation include some of the biggest employers in the state. Grocery stores, home improvement stores, department stores, large discount stores, and most healthcare facilities, including hospitals, do not carry state approved workers compensation. Most of these employers have look-alike plans called Occupational Accident plans. These are not true workers compensation plans, and many have terrible conditions—for example, you must report an injury within 24 hours or your claim will be denied. These plans, sometimes called ERISA plans, let the insurance company dictate which doctor you see and whether you get the medical care you need. In our experience these plans are problematic. If you are having problems with your occupational accident, please contact us.
If Your Employer is a Non Subscriber, You Still Have Options
If your employer does not have state approved workers’ compensation insurance, you can sue them, settle, or try your case in front of a jury. Texas allows employers to go bare and not carry state approved workers’ compensation insurance but not without a tradeoff. Texas Labor Code section 406.033 says:
(a) In an action against an employer who does not have workers’ compensation insurance coverage to recover damages for personal injuries or death sustained by an employee in the course and scope of the employment, it is not a defense that:
(1) the employee was guilty of contributory negligence;
(2) the employee assumed the risk of injury or death; or
(3) the injury or death was caused by the negligence of a fellow employee.
(b) This section does not reinstate or otherwise affect the availability of defenses at common law, including the defenses described by Subsection (a).
(c) The employer may defend the action on the ground that the injury was caused:
(1) by an act of the employee intended to bring about the injury; or
(2) while the employee was in a state of intoxication.
(d) In an action described by Subsection (a) against an employer who does not have workers’ compensation insurance coverage, the plaintiff must prove negligence of the employer or of an agent or servant of the employer acting within the general scope of the agent’s or servant’s employment.
In other words, you have a valid claim against your employer if your employer (or a co-employee) was negligent in causing your injuries—even 1% negligent.
What is negligence?
In basic terms, negligence means that someone hurt you by not acting reasonably. Your common sense will tell you when someone made a mistake that you are paying for. If you have any questions or would like to discuss making a claim against your employer, please contact the Austin non subscriber attorneys at Allison and Ward.