Unlike the vast majority of U.S. states, Texas does not mandate private employers to carry no-fault workers’ compensation coverage. As explained by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), an employer could opt to be a “non-subscriber.” For a worker hurt at a non-subscriber employer, navigating the legal claims process can be challenging. You have important legal rights. Within this article, our personal injury attorney in Dallas provides an in-depth overview of the key things to understand about non-subscriber claims and workplace accidents in Texas.
Texas Law: Employers Must Notify Workers of Non-Subscriber Status
In most U.S. states, virtually every employer is legally required to provide no-fault workers’ compensation insurance coverage to their employees. However, Texas is unique. All private employers have the right to “opt-out” of the workers’ compensation system. For reference, official state data shows that approximately 25 percent of private employers in Texas were workers’ comp non-subscribers in 2022.
How do you know if your employer is a workers’ comp non-subscriber? Texas law requires all businesses and organizations who choose not to carry workers' compensation insurance to proactively notify their employees of this status. A worker should never be left in the dark as to whether or not their company has workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Among other things, non-subscriber employers in Texas must:
- Display a clear notice in the workplace of their non-subscriber status; and
- Provide a clear written notice of non-subscriber status to new employees at the time of hire.
The Two Key Things that Make Non-Subscriber Workplace Injury Cases Different
You may be wondering: How is a non-subscriber claim different from a workers’ compensation claim in Texas? Workers’ comp insurance is effectively a “grand bargain” between employers and employees. Injured workers receive no-fault coverage with workers comp, but in turn they give up the ability to bring a personal injury lawsuit against their own employer. With non-subscriber claims, both of these things are different. Here is a more detailed explanation “
- Unlike a Workers’ Comp Claim, You Must Prove Fault (Employer Negligence)
In contrast to workers’ compensation claims—where employees are not required to prove that their employer was at fault for an injury—non-subscriber cases require the employee to establish that an employer’s negligence contributed, at least in part, to the accident. As a general matter, the burden of proof lies with the employee. An injured worker must prove that their employer’s failure to provide a safe working environment was a factor in causing the accident. It is crucial that all workplace accidents at non-subscriber employer’s are comprehensively investigated by an experienced attorney.
2. Unlike a Workers’ Comp Claim, You Can Pursue Compensation for Damages
The second big difference between workers’ compensation claims and non-subscriber claims is that an injured worker has the right to pursue compensation for the full extent of their damages, including for non-economic losses. In Texas, workers’ comp limits benefits largely to medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. However, in a non-subscriber claim, an injured worker may be entitled to recover financial compensation for the full extent of their damages related to the workplace accident. Recovery may include:
- Emergency room care;
- Medical bills;
- Ongoing medical needs;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earning power;
- Pain and suffering;
- Disability or disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death.
Injured Workers May Also Have a Third Party Liability Claim
An injured worker can sue a non-subscriber employer for negligence. Beyond that, an injured worker may also have a claim against other parties beyond their own employer. You may have a third party liability claim against any other negligent entity that contributed to your accident. Some of the most notable examples include:
- Property owners; and
- Equipment manufacturers.
Third party liability claims may offer an additional avenue for financial recovery after a serious workplace accident in North Texas. It is imperative that all parties that contributed to your work-related injury are identified and held accountable. An experienced Dallas workplace accident attorney can help.
Contact Our Dallas, TX Workplace Accident Lawyer Today
At The Pennington Firm, our Dallas workplace accident attorney is a skilled, experienced advocate for injured workers. If you or your loved one was hurt while working for a non-subscriber employer, we can help. Contact us today to arrange your free, fully confidential initial appointment. With a legal office in Dallas, we fight for the rights and interests of injured workers throughout North Texas, including in Fort Worth, Garland, Arlington, Richardson, and Farmers Branch.