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My employer does not have workers’ compensation. I was injured at work. What should I do?

Most larger Texas companies carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, some of them elect to operate without workers compensation insurance. Companies that do not offer workers’ compensation are called “nonsubscribers.”

If there is an accident at the workplace and negligence can be shown against the employer, Texas law allows the injured worked to file lawsuit against the company, seeking damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, and mental anguish. They may also file a wrongful death lawsuit if a family member was killed.

The Texas Labor Code does not favor non-subscribers and eliminates many of the legal defenses that they may attempt. The most common example is the defense of comparative responsibility. In Texas, an award to a victim is typically reduced by the victim’s percentage of fault in causing the event. For example, if an award is $100,000.00, but a victim caused 20 percent of the event, then the victim only recovers $80,000.00. In nonsubscriber cases, an employer cannot pursue a defense of comparative responsibility. Thus, if the employee can show the employer’s negligence was 1 percent responsible for the event, then the employer can be held 100 percent responsible for all injuries sustained.

Workers’ compensation law is complex, and it is best to have an experienced attorney helping you to navigate the minefield of filing for and obtaining compensation. Be open to all avenues of filing and recovery and do not accept that if your employer does not have workers’ compensation, that you cannot recover compensation for your work-related injury.

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