Did you know that companies in Texas can choose not to participate in the workers’ compensation system? It’s true—but fortunately, it is still possible to get compensation for illness or injury related to your work.
A company that opts out of workers’ comp is known as a non-subscriber employer. The name is a little unclear, but it simply means that a company has decided, for whatever reason, that they won’t “subscribe” to the workers’ comp program.
Ideally, you would be aware of your company’s policies related to work-related injury and illness from the start of your employment. But how can you find out whether your workplace is a non-subscriber employer?
Identifying Non-Subscriber Employers
While your employer may not go out of their way to tell you they are a non-subscriber workplace, there are some fairly straightforward ways to check. These include:
- Non-subscriber employers are required to post a written notice in the workplace.
- Policies about injury and/or illness should appear in your contract, the employee manual, the policy list, or in other official documents you receive or sign as part of the hiring process.
- If your workplace does not appear on the Division of Workers’ Compensation Website, they are likely a non-subscriber employer.
Many Kinds of Injuries, One Process to Follow
There are many different kinds of injuries that can occur in the workplace. They include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Lacerations (cuts) and/or scarring
- Dislocated joints, damage to soft tissues, and/or broken bones
- Hearing and/or vision loss
- Neck, back, and/or spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries and/or paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Respiratory (breathing) issues
Again, this is only a partial list of potential injuries. If you are injured on the job in any way, you may be entitled to compensation. To pursue that compensation, you will want to follow these essential steps:
- Report your injuries to your employer. Even minor injuries should be reported. Failure to do so may make it impossible for you to pursue compensation.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. Regardless of whether you have signed an arbitration agreement with your employer or not, you should speak to an attorney.
- Keep all of your medical and rehabilitation appointments. Follow all of the recommendations made by your doctors to treat the injury you sustained.
- Make a list of everyone who witnessed the accident when it occurred. In addition, write down any details you can think of related to the incident—including anything that might demonstrate the employer’s negligence or failure to protect your safety.
Keeping track of what happened and who saw it happen is an important part of making sure you have the evidence necessary to make your case. Let’s look more closely at what sorts of evidence can help you get fair compensation for your injuries.
Gathering the Evidence You Need
That evidence may include:
- The incident report that describes what happened. Many (but not all) companies require the filing of this kind of report any time someone is hurt on the job.
- Witness statements from anyone who saw what happened.
- Any available photographs, videos, or damaged items that demonstrate the extent of the accident.
- Your medical records related to the incident to show the extent and consequences of your injury.
- Your employment records to demonstrate any lost wages and/or benefits as a result of your injury.
- Expert witness testimony from someone who, for example, specializes in the analysis of workplace accidents.
All of these kinds of evidence will be helpful in your case. You will also have another thing going for you: your employer has limited options for what they can argue in an effort to discredit you or to avoid taking responsibility.
Your Employer Cannot Blame You
Of course, your employer will be looking carefully at all of the information that can be gathered about the accident. Nevertheless, you—the injured employee—are in a strong position following a workplace accident. That’s because the law prohibits non-subscriber employers from arguing that you contributed to or caused your own injuries—unless you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol or intentionally hurt yourself. So your employer will not be able to suggest that they have no responsibility for your injuries.
Damages Available in Workplace Injury Claims
Following an injury at work, you may be entitled to compensation in any or all of the following areas:
- Medical expenses. This includes any medical attention, surgery, therapy, rehabilitation, or prescriptions you may require after you have been hurt at work. This is not limited to your immediate expenses. Instead, you may be awarded damages to cover future medical expenses like long-term care or a sequence of surgeries.
- Lost wages. Damages for medical expenses are all about the money you had to pay out as a result of being hurt at work. On the flip side, damages for lost wages are all about the money that isn’t coming in due to your injuries. This may include past and future wages—and can include compensation to replace lost income resulting from your inability to return to work at all.
- Pain and suffering. Being injured can be an extremely traumatic event in a person’s life. Damages for pain and suffering are calculated based on the extent of your injury and the effect it has had on your overall well-being.
If You Are Injured Working for a Non-Subscriber Employer, We Can Help
While we do not handle workers’ compensation cases, the lawyers of SJ Injury Attorneys are experienced when it comes to pursuing injury claims against non-subscriber employers. We will fully investigate the accident in question and help you gather the evidence you need to make a compelling case. We work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay us unless we win your case. We will aggressively pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible for your injuries and ongoing difficulties and expenses. Do not hesitate to contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are ready to go to work for you.