San Antonio Non-Subscriber Lawyer

As of 2020, an estimated 2.25 million workers in Texas were not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Although there has been an increase in employer participation in workers’ comp since the pandemic, this still leaves millions of Texas workers without the protection of workers’ comp. Unfortunately, those workers are just as likely to become injured at work and still need compensation for their medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses.

If you or a loved one have been injured at work, and your employer does not carry workers’ compensation, here’s everything you need to know about non-subscriber coverage and how a San Antonio non-subscriber lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.

What Is a ‘Non-Subscriber?’

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that companies and employers can purchase to help pay the costs associated with workplace accidents and injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance pays for medical care and treatment, and compensates workers for lost wages and other expenses, until they can return to work.

Workers’ compensation is typically administered by the state government — in Texas, it is administered by the state Department of Insurance — and most states require employers to pay for this coverage in order to protect workers.

In Texas, not all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The only companies required to carry workers’ compensation are:

  • Public employers, including city and county governments, state agencies, and state universities
  • Building and construction companies working for public employers
  • Bus companies and motor carriers
  • Dealers in combustible gasses, including liquid propane and compressed liquid natural gas
  • Companies that operate inmate work furlough programs

For companies in any other industry or business, workers’ compensation insurance is optional. Employers that choose not to carry workers’ comp are called “non-subscribers.” Currently, about 25% of private sector companies in Texas are non-subscribers.

Non-Subscriber Work Injuries

If you have been injured at work through no fault of your own, and your employer is a non-subscriber, the law is on your side. You are still entitled to compensation for the costs of your medical care and treatments, lost wages and earnings, and may even be entitled to non-economic damages like pain and suffering. However, the process of getting the compensation you deserve may be very different and more complex than claiming workers’ comp.

Remember that you are entitled to compensation regardless of your immigration status, and even if you are a temporary employee. Consult with a San Antonio non-subscriber lawyer to understand your rights.

How To File a Non-Subscriber Claim

If your employer is a non-subscriber, they are required to inform you that you are not covered by workers’ compensation and how to file a claim using their insurance or compensation system. You should have this information in writing in your employment contract or employee handbook, and it is also required to be posted prominently in shared areas in the workplace, like breakrooms. Review this information carefully and share it with loved ones so you are prepared ahead of time and don’t need to find this information during a medical crisis.

Generally speaking, you will have three different ways to file a claim and receive compensation from a non-subscribing employer.

Employer-Owned Private Insurance

Some companies with a lot of capital choose to be self-insured, create their own insurance policies, and pay their own claims. Employers who wish to be self-insured must be certified by the state and are held to specific financial and operational requirements.

These systems can be very efficient because claims are often filed and processed within the company, often by Human Resources or other administrative departments. A self-insured company can create any policy they choose, with any terms they want. They can specify the types of injuries that are eligible, the amount of compensation that is paid, the treatments that are covered, the time frames for reporting and filing a claim, etc.

Employees should review the terms of their insurance policy carefully and understand how to file a claim.

Alternative Private Insurance

While most workers’ compensation insurance policies are offered and administered by the state, there are private companies that offer alternative insurance policies. An employer may choose to carry private insurance that compensates employees in the case of injury. An employer may carry several of these policies; for example, they might have one type of insurance for medical care, another for disability coverage, another for life insurance, etc.

Again, employees should read these policies carefully and understand their coverage. Share the name and contact information of these private insurance companies with loved ones who may need the information.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

Arguably, the biggest benefit of workers’ compensation insurance is that it protects employers from lawsuits in the case of workplace injuries and fatalities. Non-subscribing employers can be sued in a civil court by employees who are entitled to compensation. If a non-subscribing employer has denied your claim, or if their insurance policy is not compensating you fully for your losses, you may have no choice but to take them to court.

Knowing how to file a claim is important, and if you work for a non-subscribing employer, you may have many different options and procedures to follow. No matter what type of alternative coverage or policy your employer offers, if your claim is denied, or if the benefits are insufficient to compensate for the losses of your injury, you should consult with a Texas workplace injury attorney to understand your options. Always consult an attorney before accepting a settlement.

Steps to Take With a Non-Subscriber Claim in San Antonio

The process of filing a non-subscriber claim and receiving benefits for a workplace injury in San Antonio may be very different depending on your employer and their specific coverage. Different non-subscribers may have different insurances, different procedures, and different ways of filing a claim.

Regardless of the specific details of the employers’ coverage, here is what you should always do when filing a workplace injury claim in Texas:

Write a Detailed Report of the Incident

As soon as possible after your injury, create a detailed written record of what happened. Include when, where, and how the accident occurred. Draw diagrams if possible. If you are unable to write it, create a voice memo or some other record that includes the date.

Send a copy of this report to your employer, and keep a copy for your own records. It may later be important evidence in your case.

Non-subscribing employers are required to report to the state of Texas all workplace injuries that result in a lost day’s work. Failure to accurately report accidents and injuries can have serious consequences for the company, and creating your own report may help you later.

Collect Evidence

If possible, collect the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident or injury. Take pictures of the scene, of the injury, or of any other damage that occurred.

Many workers’ compensation and other insurance claims take a long time to process, and it may take even longer to go through an appeals process or file a lawsuit. During that time, important evidence may be lost, witnesses move on, or the scene of the accident may change. Collecting your own evidence is a great way to protect your rights if there is a later dispute.

Hold on to Receipts and Documentation

Create a file to keep copies of your receipts, bills, medical reports, and other documents related to the injury. Include the dates and times of appointments, over-the-counter medications, and other details.

If your case proceeds to a courtroom, you may need to prove your damages, and these records will be essential.

Keep Records of all Correspondence

When possible, always communicate with your employer, their agents, the insurance company, and other relevant people in writing. This allows you to create a record of exactly what was said and when. Keep copies of all these documents.

If some of the communication is verbal (for example, you received a phone call), then immediately write down who called and what was said.

Consult With a San Antonio Non-Subscriber Lawyer

In most cases, workplace accidents and injuries are compensated fairly and without a dispute. However, if there is a dispute or denial, it can often be very difficult, complex, and expensive to resolve. It is always best to consult with a workplace injury lawyer very early in the process in order to understand your rights and protect your interests.

In most cases, accepting some form of compensation or a settlement agreement waives your right to file a lawsuit. In some cases, non-subscribing employers have terms in their insurance policies or employment contracts that waive your right to sue, require mandatory arbitration, or have other terms that deny you your legal right to the compensation you deserve. A San Antonio non-subscriber lawyer can review your case and help you get everything you are entitled to.

Creating and keeping all these records may seem difficult and cumbersome, but it’s an important part of the non-subscriber claims process in Texas. It protects your interests and ensures you receive adequate compensation.

Suffering From a Non-Subscriber Workplace Injury? Let’s Discuss Your Options

The Law Offices of Aaron Allison offers free consultation to victims of non-subscriber workplace injuries. We can help you understand your rights and options and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call 512-474-8346 today.

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