Texas employers are not required to carry a workers’ compensation insurance policy for the benefit of their injured workers. Employers who choose not to purchase a standard workers’ compensation insurance policy are referred to as “non-subscribers.”
Many employers who choose status as a non-subscriber provide an Occupational Injury Benefit Plan to pay certain limited medical and income benefits for work related injuries. Each plan is specific to the employer that creates the Plan, and the employer is not required to follow the same method for the payment of benefits as an insurance policy subject to the Texas Labor Code and adopted rules. If you are an employee of a non-subscriber, always keep a copy of the plan summary so that you will be familiar with your legal right to medical and income benefits in case you suffer an on-the-job injury.
Non-subscribing employers are subject to lawsuits at common law for personal injury damages. TEX. LAB. CODE§ 406.002(a). To prevail, a Plaintiff must file suit and “prove the elements of a common law negligence claim.” TEX. LAB. CODE 406.033(d)§ A Plaintiff may establish liability against her employer if there is evidence that her employer failed to use ordinary care in providing a reasonably safe workplace. Texas has recognized the following duties owed by an employer to its employees:
- The duty to provide rules and regulations for the safety of employees;
- The duty to furnish reasonably safe machinery or instruments with which its servants are to labor;
- The duty to furnish its servants with a reasonably safe place to work;
- The duty to exercise ordinary care to select careful and competent fellow servants or co-employees;
- The duty to warn employees of hazards of their employment that are not commonly known or already appreciated;
- The duty to supervise employees’ activities; and
- The duty to train employees in the safe use and handling of products and equipment used in and around an employers’ premises or facility.
If you have questions about your Injury Benefit Plan or your right to recover for personal injury damages, please contact us.