At The Law Offices of Aaron Allison, we represent Dallas residents injured while working for employers who do not carry workers compensation insurance. While the law does not require employers to provide workers comp, it does not limit your options or the employer’s responsibility for your damages. With experience in workers compensation, non subscriber workers compensation and personal injury claims, we have the experience to overcome the complex legal obstacles and obtain reasonable compensation for you.
WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides compensation to workers for on-the-job accidents, illnesses, injuries, and fatalities. In return for this compensation, employees lose the right to sue their employers for negligence or other injury-related damages.
For employees who are injured at work, workers’ compensation insurance provides:
Compensation for medical bills and treatments
Compensation for lost wages due to illness or injury
Compensation for permanent injury or disability
In the case of a fatality, compensation for funeral and burial expenses
For employers, workers’ compensation offers a number of benefits as well, including:
Protection from negligence lawsuits
Protection from compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering
Protection from high damage awards, including punitive damages
This trade-off, where workers exchange the potential of high damage awards from a lawsuit in return for guaranteed benefits, is called “the compensation bargain.” Because it benefits workers while being cost-effective for employers, it expanded across the U.S. in the early 1900s, and every state had a workers’ compensation program by 1949.
Workers’ compensation insurance is regulated by state governments. In some states, like Texas, workers’ compensation plans and benefits are also directly administered by the state government. In some states, workers’ compensation plans are provided and administered by private insurance companies. Government regulation and oversight means that if a workers’ compensation claim is denied, an employee can appeal all the way to the state judicial system and have their case heard by a judge or magistrate.
WE HELP INJURED WORKERS
Texas is unique in that employers are not required to carry workers compensation insurance. This law, coupled with the high cost of insurance premiums, has caused over 40 percent of Texas businesses to opt out of workers comp insurance and become non subscribers.
If an employer carries workers comp insurance, Texas workers compensation laws shield Dallas-area employers from negligence lawsuits brought by their employees when the employee is hurt on the job. In cases like these, workers compensation claims are filed against the insurance provider, not the company. However, non subscribers, or those employers who have opted out of the workers compensation system, can be subjected to a personal injury negligence claim.
In either situation, injured workers can seek different forms of monetary relief. A typical workers comp claim seeks compensation for medical expenses and lost wages suffered while an individual recovers from a workplace injury. With a personal injury claim, additional damage payments may be available to compensate for emotional suffering, damaged property, damaged equipment and loss of earning potential.
WHAT IS THE WORKERS’ COMP CLAIM PROCESS?
If you have a workplace injury in Texas, through no fault of your own, you are entitled to compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and other related expenses. However, there is a statute of limitations for your claim: it is important to file correctly and on time in order to recover your damages. (If your employer does not carry workers’ comp, see the “non-subscriber” section below.) Here is an overview of the workers’ compensation claim process:
Report your injury to your employer. As soon as it is safe to do so after the incident, report your injury to your employer. It is important to be as complete and detailed as possible, and it is best to document your injury and the circumstances in writing and take pictures or witness statements if possible. For this reason, you may briefly notify your employer by phone or text as soon as you are able, but then later write a more comprehensive account by email for your records and theirs.
Contact the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) within 30 days. Because workers’ compensation is an insurance the employer carries, it is their responsibility to report your injury to the TDI and file a claim on your behalf. However, it is always best to reach out directly to the Workers’ Comp Division and make sure that your claim was filed on time and correctly. If your employer did not report your injury and make a claim on your behalf, you can do it yourself.
Complete workers’ comp claim documents thoroughly and accurately. After your injury has been reported, TDI will send you a packet of information and documents to complete. Follow the instructions and return the forms promptly.
Keep records and receipts. Whether your workers’ compensation claim is accepted or denied, it is important to keep records of all your damages. Keep ongoing records of days of missed work, medical and therapeutic appointments, and the impact on family or loved ones who may need to spend extra time providing care and assistance. Keep receipts for all out-of-pocket expenses, including over-the-counter medications, therapeutic devices, and other injury-related costs.
After your claim has been filed, it may be accepted, in which case you will receive compensation, or it may be denied. If your claim is denied, you can begin the appeal process to have the denial reconsidered or overturned. Remember that many companies will work hard to deny your claim and hire legal representation to make sure you don’t get compensation. It is important to consult with a Dallas workers’ comp lawyer to make sure your rights are protected.
THIRD-PARTY INJURY CLAIMS
Some Dallas workers comp claims involve the negligence of a third party. Negligent subcontractors, defective equipment, dangerous site conditions or an inattentive driver crashing into a company car are common causes of third-party liability claims.
In the event of a third party causing serious injuries, you may be able to recover compensation through both a workers compensation claim and a personal injury case. Our Dallas workers compensation attorney will investigate the accident, and we will use our resources and experience to hold all involved parties accountable for their actions.
Dallas workers compensation attorney Aaron Allison started working at his father’s law firm as a teenager, and he has dedicated his life to the practice of law ever since. He handles workers comp and personal injury claims at a small, specialized law firm in Austin, upholding his father’s legacy to justice.
Employers who opt out of workers’ compensation insurance are still liable for their employees’ work-related injuries and illnesses and still owe compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses. Instead of workers’ comp insurance, these employers often choose one of two alternative plans:
Self-insurance. Companies that have a lot of capital may choose to be self-insured. This means that they pay injured workers directly using company funds, and claims are administered internally, often by the Human Resources Department.
Private insurance. Instead of participating in the workers’ compensation insurance offered by the state, a company may choose to buy some other insurance policy. They may carry private workers’ comp insurance or offer other injury or disability packages.
Non-subscribing employers are required to notify employees of what insurance they carry and what procedure they need to follow in order to file a claim. They are required to include this information in their employment contract and to post signs in common areas like break rooms. If you work for a non-subscriber, it is important to understand their injury and claims filing process and share that information with family and loved ones who may need to operate on your behalf in case of a severe injury or fatality.
Workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t just provide compensation to injured employees. It also offers the employer certain legal protections, including protection from lawsuits. If an employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance and they do not compensate you fairly and promptly, you may need to take them to court. A non-subscribing employer has additional legal liability in the case of employee injury, including:
Liability for negligence without the defense of contributory negligence. Workers’ compensation prevents employees from suing their employers for negligence in regard to their injury. Not only are non-subscribers potentially liable for negligence, but they cannot claim that the employee was also negligent in a way that contributed to the injury.
Liability for assumption of risk. A common defense against worker injury liability is called “assumption of risk.” An employer may claim that an employee in a high-risk profession was aware of how dangerous a task was and chose to do it anyway, therefore sharing some liability for the injury. Non-subscribing employers cannot claim the assumption of risk as a defense.
Liability for non-economic damages. Non-subscribing employers are also liable for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress or mental anguish, decrease in quality of life, loss of consortium, and other damages that cannot be measured financially.
Exposure to full common-law damages. Workers’ compensation insurance offers a set benefits package. For example, the Texas workers’ comp lost wages benefit is equal to 88% of the employee’s average wage. Common law damages may be much higher than these standard benefit amounts since they are designed to fully compensate a victim and make sure they suffer no losses at all.
While a non-subscribing employer has all of these additional risks and liabilities in case of an employee injury lawsuit, taking your employer to court can still be a long, difficult, expensive process. It is important to find an expert Dallas workers’ compensation attorney who will fight aggressively for your rights and who isn’t afraid to take your case to court. The employer will have attorneys on their side: you need great legal representation on your side.
PROFESSIONAL AND AGGRESSIVE REPRESENTATION YOU CAN TRUST
“I looked at several attorney’s for my husband’s case, and Aaron looks like he was the best one. He was the best Worker’s Comp attorney in our area of Texas. So, we called and made an appointment for an initial visit. Once we talked to him we got that he knows his job. Plus he’s very nice and very personable. We could tell that right away.”
Aaron Allison has lived in Austin his entire life. He understands how the legal system works here. Instead of trying to navigate it yourself, trust a personal injury lawyer with decades of experience handling cases like yours. We hold negligent individuals, companies and employers accountable when they cause serious injuries or fatal accidents, and we do everything we can for you and your family. Schedule a free consultation with us.