What Employers Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation in Texas
Each state has its own workers’ compensation laws, and Texas is no exception. Workers’ compensation laws are designed to aid workers who are injured at work with their medical bills and other damages incurred as a result of the accident. Below is a brief overview of the key points you should know about workers’ compensation laws in Texas.
Not Every Employer in Texas is Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation
In Texas, workers’ compensation coverage is an elective coverage, which means that all private employers have the option to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees or not. All employers are required to notify new hires of their workers’ compensation plans (or lack thereof) and must also post notices around the office informing employees of the availability of workers’ compensation coverage. If you decide not to provide workers’ compensation coverage to your employees, you must notify the Texas Department of Insurance’s Division of Workers’ Compensation in writing.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Covers All Injuries Sustained “Within the Course and Scope of Employment”
If you choose to provide workers’ compensation coverage to your employees, it will cover all injuries sustained “within the course and scope of employment.” That means fault will not be considered in an analysis of whether an injured employee can receive workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation in Texas covers all injuries sustained “within the course and scope of employment.” This includes not only injuries that take place at the employee’s place of work, but also while the employee is engaged in work-related activities outside of the workplace. For example, if the employee is a restaurant delivery driver and is involved in a car accident while driving to deliver food to a customer, any resulting injuries from that car accident would be covered under workers’ compensation. If, however, the driver was driving home after work when the accident occurred, any injuries sustained would not be covered under workers’ compensation.
There are certain exceptions to the above rule. If the employee is engaged in illegal conduct or horseplay when the accident occurs, or if the accident is the result of an act of God, then the employee will not be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Your Employee Must Notify You of Injury Within 30 Days
Even though, by law, your employees have 30 days to report their workplace accident to you, you have reason to raise concerns if they wait even one day to report their injuries. Pay close attention to injuries that are not reported immediately and be sure to ask ample questions to learn in detail what exactly happened. Your workers’ compensation carrier should do the same.
By Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim, Your Employee Gives Up the Right to File a Personal Injury Claim
One benefit to providing workers’ compensation coverage to your employees is that by filing a workers’ compensation claim, your employee gives up the right to file a personal injury claim against you and your business. This is a great way to avoid costly litigation, especially in cases in which the employee’s injury may have been caused by something you did or did not do (i.e., your negligence). Since workers’ compensation laws do not take into consideration which party was at fault, providing workers’ compensation benefits to your employees is a great way to avoid liability in case you are at fault for your employee’s injury.
Contact a Texas Employment Attorney Today
This post is a broad overview of workers’ compensation laws in Texas. For a complete review of workers’ compensation laws and how they apply to your business, contact the employment attorneys at Simon Paschal online or at 972-893-9340 today for a free consultation.