Practicing for 20+ years Austin Employment Lawyer and Houston Labor Attorney Jack Nichols fights to get you the maximum amount of recovery due to you for on-the-job and workplace injuries when you employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance (Non-Subscriber).
What is the Workers’ Compensation?** What is “Non-Subscriber”?**
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wages and medical benefits to employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness. Private employers in Texas may choose if they will provide this coverage to their employees, as it is not required. However, there are substantial benefits to an employer who chooses to cover their employees by workers’ compensation insurance, and substantial penalties for those who do not.
When an employer obtains a workers’ compensation insurance policy aka “subscribes” to a workers’ compensation policy, statutory limits are placed on the type and amount of compensation that an employee may recover if they are injured at work. As a result, an employer may become immune to certain types of lawsuits, and its employees may be forced to seek compensation for work related injuries solely from the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
However, when an employer does not obtain a workers’ compensation insurance policy, they are known as a “non-subscriber”, and the employer may be sued for an employee’s on-the-job personal injuries without the benefit of any statutory limitations. Further, the law restricts the non-subscribing employer’s ability to defend itself in court by limiting the defenses that may ordinarily be available in other types of personal injury cases.
How do I Find Out if an Employer has Workers’ Compensation?**
Whether an employer has workers’ compensation insurance should be posted at the workplace and stated in the employer’s handbook. If not an employee can contact the Texas Department of Insurance’s Division of Workers’ Compensation at (512) 676-6000 or look look the employer up on their website. If should be noted that workers’ compensation is not the same as health insurance or commercial liability insurance, thus, an employer who does not have workers’ compensation insurance does not enjoy the benefit of statutory limitations on liability and is still subject to penalties even if the employer provides its employees health insurance and carries commercial liability insurance.
Can an Employee Sue an Employer who Does Not Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Personal Injuries (aka a “Non-Subscriber”)?** How do you Prove a Personal Injury Case Against an Employer Who Does Not Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance (aka a “Non-Subscriber”)?** How does a Non-Subscriber Personal Injury Case Differ from a Normal Personal Injury Case?**
If the employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance (a “non-subscriber”), an employee may sue the employer if the employer’s negligence caused the injury. However, the law punishes the non-subscribing employer by making it easier for the employee to win. In an ordinary personal injury case, an injured person must generally prove that the person who injured them was negligent. A person is negligent when they fail to act as a reasonable person would have in the same or similar circumstances, and that failure caused injuries. For example in the employment context, depending on the facts of the case, this could be as easy as showing that a reasonable employer would have provided the employee with a helmet at a construction site.
In normal personal injury cases, an employee’s damages are reduced by the employee’s percentage of fault, and if the employee is more than 50% at fault, the employee cannot recover anything from the employer. However, in a non-subscriber personal injury case, the employer cannot argue that the employee was partially at fault. If the employer has any fault at all, then the employer is liable for 100% of the damages. For instance, even where an accident is 98% the fault of the employee, the employee can still recover 100% of his or her damages from the employer and the employer is not entitled to a reduction or to win because of the employee’s own negligence. The only exception is where the employee is 100% at fault.