What Are My Rights If I’m Injured On The Job?
A lot of people ask me ‘If I’m injured on the job, what are my rights?’ The answer is, unfortunately, ‘it depends.’ It depends on whether your employer carries workers’ compensation on you. You see, the state of Texas is the only state in the country that does not have mandatory workers’ compensation coverage for employees. Your employer can choose to have coverage or not to have coverage. So what do you do if you’re injured on the job? The first thing you need to do is find out ‘does my employer carry workers’ compensation insurance?’ The law states that employer must have that fact posted at his job site. If he does carry workers’ compensation insurance, that notice must include the name, address and telephone number of his workers’ compensation insurance company. The law also requires that the employer posts name of the office of injured employee council and their telephone number. That office is designed to help injured employees get through the workers’ compensation system.
Now, if your employer has done all that and has workers’ compensation insurance and you’re injured on the job, you’re entitled to receive limited disability benefits and have your medical expenses paid. You may be entitled to additional benefits, but that depends upon your injury. On the other hand, you have the obligation of timely reporting your injury to your employer, and completing certain forms for the office of injured employee. Again, that office can help you with that.
Now, the next question is, “what if my employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance? What are my rights?” Well, typically if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance and will not voluntarily pay your medical bills and lost wages, your only right is to bring a claim or lawsuit against your employer. If you can establish that your employer was negligent or careless or failed to provide a safe workplace and that negligence or carelessness or failure to provide a safe working place was a cause of your injuries, then your employer will be legally obligated to pay your damages. If, on the other hand, you’re injured through no one’s fault, an accident at your fault but not your employer’s fault, then your employer is not legally obligated to pay any of your damages.
So, if you have a job now or are looking for a job, you need to know whether or not your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. Because if they don’t and you’re injured, you may be left holding a responsible for medical bills and lost wages.