Workers' Compensation in Texas
Texas workers' comp (also known as workers' compensation, workman's comp, and work-compensation) is designed to give injured/ill employees income while they recover from their work-related injuries or illnesses. Death benefits are intended to replace the deceased employee's lost wages and provide for his dependents. Texas law does not require that employers carry workman's comp insurance, unlike most states. However, your employer may have work compensation insurance, and if you are injured you should file your claim with the Texas Division of Workers' Compensation.
There are certain workers' compensation matters that necessitate the assistance of legal counsel. When your boss is underinsured, uninsured, or refuses to cooperate, or when your claim is disputed, it is imperative to have an attorney's expertise to rely on. Further, if your injury was the result of a defective piece of equipment or product, you may have a claim against the manufacturer, and should consult a Texas workers' comp lawyer about how to structure your lawsuit.
Illnesses and Injuries Covered Under Texas Workers' Compensation Law
Accidental Physical Injuries
- When you are injured in an accident at your workplace, your injury may be covered by work compensation law. However, if your injury was self-inflicted or occurred while you were intoxicated or using drugs, your employer will probably not have to pay you workers' comp benefits.
- Sicknesses that result from repetitive trauma and exposure to toxic chemicals, skin disorders, and respiratory disorders, among others.
- Dependents of injured workers who pass away as a result of their workplace injuries are eligible to receive death benefits.
The Texas Worker's Comp Claims Process
- Notify Your Boss
- You must tell your boss about your worksite injury within 30 days of the injury or you risk losing your workers' comp benefits.
- Get Medical Help Promptly
- File a claim for compensation with the Texas Division of Workers' Compensation: The employee must file a Form DWC041 (claim for compensation) within one year of the date of injury or if the employee complains of an illness, within one year of when the illness was or should have been discovered. If the worker does not file within one year, his claim will be statutorily barred, and he will lose lost wage payments, medical benefits, and permanent disability compensation.
- If you run into problems with your workman's compensation claim, or would just like some additional advice, you should talk to a Texas workers' compensation attorney.
Benefits Received in Texas Under the Workers' Compensation Program
The following kinds of workman's comp benefits are available in Texas:
Talk to a Texas work compensation attorney about your potential workers' comp benefits.
- Medical Treatment: Covers the medical expenses you incur for the diagnosis and treatment of your job-related injury or illness. Your employer or employer's insurer will make the payments straight to your medical provider.
- Wage Reimbursement: You will be reimbursed for the wages you lost by going for medical treatment and traveling to and from such treatment. Additionally, you will be reimbursed for time you spend in hearings with the Division of Workers' Compensation if your employer is uncooperative or contests your claim, or your employer's insurance refuses to pay.
- Funeral: Whoever paid the deceased employee's funeral expenses will be reimbursed up to $6,000.
- Death: Death benefits will be paid to a deceased worker's family if the worker dies as a result of a work-connected injury. The amount of death benefits varies, but the benefits are designed to replace income lost by the family because of the employee's death.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: If you are unable to go back to your pre-injury/illness job, the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services may be able to help you train for a new job and provide you with financial assistance while you complete the training.
- Income Benefits in Texas can be categorized as follows:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD for short): Payable to you when you are injured or ill and are completely unable to work as a result.
- Amount: 70% of your average weekly wage per week. Payments will be made for no longer than 104 weeks.
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD for short) : When an employee was injured on the job, and is unable to perform his same job duties, but may be able to do some work for lower pay.
- Amount: 70% of the difference between the employee's pre and post-injury weekly wage.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD for short): The employee's injury is so debilitating that he is permanently completely unable to work.
- Amount: 70% of the employee's average weekly wage. Payments will continue for up to 401 weeks.
- Impairment Income Benefits (IIB for short) : The employee reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), but will still have permanent physical damage.
- Amount: Your Impairment Rating (IR) will determine your weekly benefits.
Why Hire A Texas Workers' Comp Lawyer?
You should get counsel who specializes in work compensation issues to help you with your claim. In some cases, your injury may be hard to prove, your boss may contest your claim, or there may be other parties involved that make the claim process more complicated. In any case, a Texas workmans comp lawyer can develop a strategy for your case, explain the filing deadlines and your possible options for compensation, appear for you in front of the Division of Workers' Compensation (if necessary), and generally use his or her expertise in workman's comp procedures to help you through the process.
Texas Labor Code
The Texas Workers' Compensation Act is part of the Texas Labor Code
- Employers Subject To Workers' Compensation
- Workers' Compensation Act, Tit. 5, Chp. 401 §11.
- Covered Employees
- Workers' Compensation Act, Tit. 5, Chp. 401 § 12.
- Workers' Compensation Act, Tit 5, Chp. 401, §§ 151-181.
- Claims Procedure
- Workers' Compensation Act, Tit. 5. Chp. 409.