How and when to use workers’ compensation in Texas

Both employers and workers of Texas should know of the workers’ compensation laws unique to their state.

Workers' compensation laws exist to protect workers who are involved in dangerous tasks on a day to day basis, and will kick in to provide a stipend in the event of an injury. The laws may vary somewhat from state to state, and getting a job does not necessarily imply that someone will get workers' compensation for any injury. Injuries need to be reported to the proper agencies, and not all jobs offer the same benefits. A brief disclaimer to keep in mind is that workers' compensation may be different for federal employees.

Texas does not require its employers to provide workers' compensation, so anyone looking for a job in this state should be ready to ask their potential employers what they offer. Both employers and employees should know about the basic requirements of workers' compensation in their state in order to best be able to decide if the system is right for them.

What employers should know

While offering health insurance to employees is an elective decision, employers should be aware that if choosing to sign on to a workers' compensation program, they are accepting certain rights and responsibilities, which are outlined in documents provided by the Texas Department of Insurance. A self-insurance group is also subject to regulation by the TDI. The basic rule that no one should forget is that any time a worker is unable to work for more than 1 day due to a illness or injury sustained at work, it must be reported to the Division of Workers' Compensation.

Another thing for employers to remember is that they still need to report work-related illnesses and injuries to the DWC, even if they do not provide workers' compensation to their employees. It also needs to be reported to the state that they are not providing this coverage.

What employees should know

A major aim of the workers' compensation in the state of Texas is to encourage employees to return to work. Those who file for unemployment while receiving workers' compensation benefits will no longer be able to access those benefits. Employees who do file for workers' compensation are protected from discrimination. However, in order to gain access to any recompense, a claim needs to be filed within 30 days of the occurrence of injury. Another key fact to keep in mind is that even though employers can discontinue coverage, they must inform their workers as soon as possible.

Anybody working in Texas who has become injured or sick because of the risks associated with their job may be dealing with expensive medical bills, which are hard enough to pay without being able to work. Those who have questions about workers' compensation or who have doubts about how to proceed may find it helpful to contact an attorney in the local area who practices employment law.