Workers’ compensation benefits in Texas

While Texas does not mandate the coverage of workers’ compensation insurance, many employers do offer this benefit.

On any given day, a person in Texas may be involved in an accident while at work. These incidents can happen in any line of work and in any industry. This includes settings generally known to be dangerous like construction sites to those not often thought of as risky like retail establishments or professional offices.

When an accident happens, it is important for employees to know what, if any, type of workers' compensation benefits they may be eligible for.

Does my employer have to provide workers' compensation?

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas is unlike other states in that it does not legally mandate companies to carry workers' compensation insurance . It does however provide a cap on how much money an injured worker can receive for those employers who do carry such insurance.

If a business elects not to provide workers' compensation, employees may independently pursue civil action against the business to seek compensation after an accident. There is no cap on how much money a worker may be awarded in these situations.

What types of workers' compensation benefits are there?

For employers that do choose to carry workers' compensation insurance, this coverage provide four different types of benefits. One of these offers people financial assistance to compensate them for their loss of income. All are based upon a formula leveraging average weekly wage figures.

The Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers' Compensation explains that for injuries that render a person unable to work for more than seven days, temporary income benefits may be available. If a person is deemed to be permanently impaired as the result of a work-related accident, impairment income benefits may be received.

For person who may have qualified for impairment benefits but did not seek lump sum payments of that benefit type, supplemental income benefits may be available. The level of impairment must be at least 15 percent to be eligible for this benefit. There are also lifetime income benefits available to people who meet certain criteria such as the loss of sight in one or both eyes or a spinal cord injury that prevents the use of at least two limbs.

Other benefits include coverage for reasonable and necessary medical treatment, funeral or burial expenses and death benefits to survivors. This latter type of benefit may be payable to a parent or parents if there are no surviving children or dependents.

What should I do if I am hurt at work?

Anyone in Texas who is injured at work should talk to an attorney. This is the best way to understand a person's best options for seeking the compensation they deserve and properly filing any workers' compensation claims.