The Texas Tribune had a recent article on the current status of Workers’ Compensation laws in Texas. Among the findings was that Insurance companies dispute injured workers claims in whole or part 45% of the time and when serious disputes arise injured workers win only one-third of the time. Because it is difficult to obtain a lawyer to represent injured workers they don’t have much of a chance. Among the findings of the Texas Tribune were:
- Texas stands alone in allowing employers to forgo workers’ comp insurance, and over 500,000 workers have no coverage if they are hurt or killed.
- Texas doesn’t regulate private occupational insurance, which often provides fewer due process rights and stingier benefits than workers’ comp.
- More than 90 percent of employers without workers’ comp flout a requirement that they notify the state of their opt-out status.
- A quarter or more of employers without workers’ comp underreport lost-time injuries, recent audits suggest.
- Major court decisions have eroded protections injured workers once had, including the right to sue certain employers who fire them for filing an injury claim.
- Nearly half (45 percent) of all workers’ comp claims were initially denied or disputed in whole or in part from 2008 to 2013.
- Workers are losing far more major disputes with workers’ comp insurers, and their margin of defeat has increased.
In El Paso, Texas I have seen these same sad statistics with my injured clients. However if you are injured you should see an employment lawyer. There may be other avenues of redress that an employment lawyer can help injured workers with. For example if the company does have workers’ compensation they cannot terminate employees for filing a claim (451 of the Texas Labor Code) and if they don’t have workers compensation they can often be sued for damages outside the workers’ compensation system in a State District Court or in Arbitration. Also the employer has a duty not to discriminate against a disabled employee (disability can include such things as a knee or back injury) and must in many circumstances accommodate injured workers. Disability laws apply to workers who have been injured on the job and off the job. So it is important to see a board certified labor and employment Texas lawyer if you have been injured. Learn your rights early before the bills start piling up and the denials of compensation start.
For the full article: http://apps.texastribune.org/hurting-for-work/a-tw…