Workers' Compensation Non-Subscribers in Dallas
Although the Texas Department of Insurance has a workers' compensation division, Texas employers are not required to opt into a workers' compensation plan like other states are. Private employers in Texas can choose whether or not to carry this particular type of insurance, while specialized industries and government jobs are required to provide workers' compensation insurance. This does not mean that employers can opt-out of providing insurance altogether. Texas employers who choose not to provide workers' compensation must file with the Texas Department of Insurance to get non-coverage status. Employers that fail to report injuries at the workplace may face violations and penalties.
There is much benefit to carrying workers' compensation, such as various legal protections from lawsuits and high compensation awards. Many employers see workers' compensation as a financial benefit. Other employers see workers' compensation as a costlier insurance system than they need, which is why these employers can become nonsubscribers. If you work for a company that does not provide workers' compensation insurance, than you may be able to receive punitive damages from your employer if you win an injury lawsuit. Employers also are susceptible to noneconomic damage payments if their employees can prove negligence or carelessness.
Alternative Insurance Coverage
The State of Texas does not recognize alternative coverage options as substitutes for workers' compensation insurance. Some of these alternatives policies are accident & health policies or employer indemnification agreements. Accident and health policies can cover accidental death at the workplace, disability benefits and lost income benefits, among other things. Employer indemnification agreements can include coverage for settlements, attorney fees and other costs associated with workplace litigation.
Not only is alternative coverage not recognized by Texas, it is actually considered illegal. Companies that only provide their workers with alternative modes of coverage can face lawsuits from their injured employees. One of the main reasons these alternative insurance options are not acceptable is that they typically do not offer compensation for punitive damages, noneconomic damages or court and attorney fees. Texas does, however, allow for professional employer organizations (PEOs). This will allow an employer to outsource compensation and injury benefits to an "employer of record." Employees should be careful to stay informed though, since some PEOs do not provide workers' compensation coverage. This means that the "client company" can be held liable for any employee injuries.
Independent Contractors and Workers' Compensation Coverage
Unless an independent contractor has entered into an agreement with an employer, they will not be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. This is detailed under Title 5 of the Texas Labor Code, Subtitle A, Chapter 406, Subchapter F. An independent contractor, for the purpose of workers' compensation insurance, is not considered an employee of the general contractor. There are some instances in which workers are wrongfully labeled "independent contractors" which can indication a workplace violation. Some employers fail to provide workers' compensation to employees that actually deserve it, which can be grounds for a lawsuit.
Some companies may have purchased workers' compensation insurance from an illegitimate source without knowing it, and therefore are in noncompliance of mandated regulations. A claim against an unlicensed company can go unpaid, which can mean financial hardship for those involved. To learn more about your rights as an employee, especially if you are injured on the job, please contact our firm today and speak with a Dallas Personal Injury Attorney. Zinda Law Group has years of experience helping employees secure the benefits that they rightfully deserve under Texas Statutes. Do not hesitate to contact our firm today so that we can advise you about your case and stand up for your rights as a worker.