Workers’ compensation regulations are specific benefits, codified in state law, to which employees who sustain job-related injuries or illness are entitled. The procedures for obtaining these benefits are delineated within the statutes as well. Every state has its own workers’ compensation laws which allow workers to request benefits if they become injured or sick because of their employment.
In most states, every business is required to have some form of workers’ compensation insurance to deal with statutory obligations to workers who are injured at the workplace or who become ill due to some trigger in the workplace. Texas, however, does not require most employers to purchase an insurance policy to provide coverage to employees who are harmed in any way while performing work duties. Employers in Texas have the option of having workers’ compensation coverage.
The Impact of Workers’ Compensation Laws
Texas industries and employers that REQUIRE workers’ compensation coverage:
Any public employer, including cities, counties, and state agencies
State universities, including the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech University
Building and construction contractors for public employers
Motor carriers (providing transportation over public highways)
Liquid propane gas and compressed natural gas dealers
Employers of inmates in work furlough programs
Workers’ compensation laws are intended to make certain that employees who are harmed on the job receive set financial compensation, without having to fight in court to receive it from their employers. Workers’ compensation laws provide a critical safeguard for employees who could suffer an injury or illness in the course and capacity of their employment. Chapter 406 of the Texas Labor Code which addresses Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage clarifies that employers are required to pay three main types of benefits to any employee injured or ill due to work-related events or circumstances: medical benefits, income benefits, and death benefits; the law defines each type. (Note: other laws can be involved in workers’ compensation cases, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. If other laws provide greater protection than workers’ compensation laws, they are applied to the case instead.)
Most workers’ compensation laws also function to provide a certain level of protection to employers. So, while the state of Texas does not mandate workers’ compensation insurance for most businesses, it is still a pragmatic choice. By subscribing to workers’ compensation insurance, employers can limit the amount and kind of monetary award that an affected employee may collect under the law. In addition to limiting the payment amount that employees can recover from their employers, these laws are also important for prohibiting affected employees from suing according to personal injury laws. Workers’ compensation is basically a “no-fault” system wherein the injured or ill employee is covered for his or her work-related injuries or other health impacts, regardless of what those exact impacts are specifically or in what manner they were caused.
If an employer in Texas chooses to go without coverage, they are left open to the possibility of employees who sustain injuries or suffer other harm filing personal injury lawsuits against them. The monetary damages and attorney’s fees that can be recovered in such cases have no legal limit; and employers cannot claim certain defenses to curb the level of financial recompense that might be required of them.
Reeves Law, PLLC, located in Austin, Texas, handles a variety of legal cases, including business law cases that deal with workers’ compensation issues. The experienced professionals at Reeves Law are committed to every client and aim to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in every case. If you have questions regarding workers’ compensation or other matters related to employment law, contact Reeves Law for assistance including free consultation.