If you experience an injury while working in Texas, there is a good chance you have plenty of rights under Texas’ Workers’ Compensation program. This can be so even if you were somewhat negligent and largely caused your own injury.
As noted by the Texas Workforce Commission, if your injury falls under the workers’ compensation program, you may be able to receive compensation or reimbursement, including the following:
- Medical care for your injury without cost to you
- Reimbursement of travel expenses getting to and from a medical appointment
- Wage replacement while you are unable to work
- Benefits to your family should you die as a result of a work-related accident
Note that unlike other states, in Texas your employer can choose not to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. However, many choose to because by purchasing the insurance, the employer gets the benefit of a limit on the amount and type of compensation it must pay you if you suffer injury.
Your employer can choose not to carry workers’ compensation
For instance, if there is workers’ compensation coverage, you cannot sue your employer for personal injury, such as pain and suffering and loss of quality of life, if you are severely injured. Rather, you are subject to limitations to some of the forms of compensation noted above. If the employer chooses to not carry the coverage, you can sue the employer if it is liable for your injuries, and the employer will also lose many typical defenses to a personal injury claim.
Employer notification and your right to waive coverage
When you started employment, your employer should have notified you whether it carries workers’ compensation coverage. In fact, it needs to advise you of another right at the time of hire or shortly thereafter. You, as employee, can waive the coverage if you want to retain your right to sue for personal injury, i.e., employer negligence-caused injury. Consider the choice carefully, however, because workers’ compensation coverage of your medical bills will be unavailable if you waive it.