web analytics

What to Do to Maximize Your Compensation Under Texas’ Nonsubscriber Workers Compensation

When you are injured while working for a nonsubscriber employer in Texas, you do not have the ability to file a workers’ compensation claim with the Texas Department of Insurance. This is because nonsubscribers are not part of that state system. Unlike subscriber employers, nonsubscribers create their own alternative injury benefit programs that are not regulated by Texas statutes.

Taking Immediate Action After Suffering a Workplace Injury

If you have suffered an injury, accident or illness while working for a Texas nonsubscriber employer, it is imperative that you take prompt and thorough action to document what happened.

Here are detailed steps to take:

Report the Incident to Your Employer

Notify your employer as soon as possible. Provide details on how you got hurt, what body parts were injured, and whether you required immediate medical care.

Request that your supervisor create an incident report documenting all the details provided on what occurred. Ask them for a copy of this report to retain for your records, as it verifies that management was notified of the workplace incident.

If your injury developed over time from performing job duties (like a repetitive strain injury), inform your employer in writing when you become aware of it.

Seek Medical Treatment Immediately

Another vital step is to get medical attention right away after suffering a workplace injury, even if it seems minor. Seeking prompt diagnosis and documented medical care shows that the injury impacted you significantly enough to require treatment.

Go to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic to get triaged if the injury seems serious. For less severe injuries, make an appointment with your primary doctor or a specialist. Getting assessed quickly protects your health, creates medical records, and may help avoid issues being pre-existing conditions excluded by the nonsubscriber employer later.

Inform all treating physicians that you got injured on the job so it gets documented in health records. Keep following up with doctors until you have fully recovered. The medical paper trail verifies the injury’s impact and any effects on your ability to work.

Maintain Detailed Records of Everything

To receive fair damages under non subscriber workers compensation in Texas, you must have impeccable records.

Be sure to comprehensively document:

  • The details on how, when and where you got injured
  • Witness accounts corroborating what occurred
  • The incident report filed with your employer
  • Medical records from all urgent care, ER, doctor, therapy, specialist visits
  • Itemized bills and payments for medical expenses
  • Medications and medical devices prescribed for the injury
  • Diagnosis and treatment details for the injury
  • Physician-ordered restrictions impacting your work duties
  • Days missed from work due to the injury and recovery
  • Communication with the employer about the injury

Thorough documentation helps prove the elements of negligence as far as the company’s actions or nonactions are concerned, connects the injury directly to your employment, shows losses incurred, and maximizes potential damages. Keep physical and digital copies of everything secured in safe places.

Understanding Negligence and Your Legal Options

When an employer opts out of providing workers’ compensation insurance in Texas, injured employees lose statutory no-fault benefits. This means you can no longer simply file a workers comp claim with the state to guarantee receiving medical and wage payments for workplace injuries.

However, the trade-off under Texas law is that nonsubscribing employers lose certain legal protections. Notably, you as the injured employee can bring civil action against a nonsubscriber company and sue them for negligence to recover significant damages. But your attorney must prove the employer’s direct negligence led to your injury occurring.

Some examples of negligence by nonsubscriber companies that often lead to employee injury include:

  • Failing to properly train employees on safety protocols
  • Not providing appropriate protective gear
  • Forcing employees to use inadequate or faulty equipment
  • Violating federal/state regulations on workplace conditions
  • Ignoring employee safety complaints
  • Failure to mitigate known hazards

To maximize potential compensation for injuries in a nonsubscriber injury case, your attorney may advise bringing legal action against multiple negligent parties like the employer, parent corporations, equipment manufacturers, property owners, individual decision-makers, and potentially others.

Suing multiple defendants raises the chances that one or more will decide it’s best to settle out of court. Settling could put pressure on the remaining parties to do the same. If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, going to trial becomes necessary.

Understanding What Kinds of Damages You Can Recover

In a personal injury lawsuit against negligent nonsubscriber employers and other responsible parties, there are different types of damages that your attorney will seek compensation for, including:

Economic Damages

These are tangible financial losses with calculable dollar amounts attached. Economic damages that may be awarded in a nonsubscriber case include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages already incurred from missing work
  • Loss of future earning capacity if you cannot return to your prior job or career
  • Loss of benefits like health insurance and retirement contributions
  • Cost of rehabilitation services and assistive devices

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic losses involve intangible effects on your personal life. These can be more subjective to calculate but deeply impact injury victims. Non-economic damages in a workplace injury lawsuit may cover:

  • Physical pain already suffered
  • Emotional anguish like depression or anxiety
  • Disfigurement and permanent scarring
  • Loss of enjoyment of life if normal activities are limited
  • Physical impairment that reduces the quality of life

Your testimony details how the injury personally affected your life. Witness accounts, journals, therapy records, and medical experts can corroborate non-economic suffering already incurred or expected in the future.

Punitive Damages

If an employer’s negligence is found especially reckless or egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. Gross negligence involving nonsubscriber injuries could include:

  • Deliberately hiding known hazards
  • Failing to address serious reported safety issues
  • Violating key regulations that aim to protect workers
  • Prioritizing profits so clearly over worker safety

Punitive awards vary greatly but can be extremely substantial, so employers have the motivation to avoid such reckless behavior. If it can be proven, punitive damages may give your attorney even more leverage in negotiating a settlement.

Understanding the Challenges of Settling Nonsubscriber Cases

Settlements in nonsubscriber cases tend to be more challenging than other injury claims. Insurance carriers for these employers know Texas law allows them to opt out. They often dispute negligence claims more aggressively and make very low opening offers to try to minimize payouts.

Nonsubscriber employers also contract with insurance companies that specialize in their niche, making them experienced at valuing risk and liability. Their adjusters understand Texas courts and jury tendencies well. They may only offer nuisance settlements banking on workers not being able to afford the costs of going to trial.

So require your attorney to negotiate firmly on your behalf for a settlement package that fully covers all your calculated damages and losses, both incurred and future. Be prepared for this process to take time and potentially involve going to mediation. Have reasonable expectations, as nonsubscriber cases do tend to settle for less than their actual value.

Conclusion – Taking Prompt Action is Key

When employed by Texas nonsubscriber companies that opt out of workers’ compensation, the unfortunate truth is that you lose significant protections if injured on the job. However, by acting immediately after an incident to document and report what happened, seeking prompt medical care, maintaining thorough records, and hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, you put yourself in the absolute best position to recover maximum allowable damages through your legal options.

The keys are acting quickly, proving negligence, calculating losses accurately, negotiating firmly, and being ready to go to trial if needed. This approach is what ensures injured employees have the best chances of getting the highest possible compensation under Texas’ unique nonsubscriber system. So do not delay in taking the necessary steps after any workplace injury while working for an employer that does not provide standard workers’ compensation coverage.