Texas Non-Subscriber Employers: Injuries to H-E-B Workers

by Terry Bryant

For the past several years, the economy in Texas has thrived. New positions have been created, and hundreds of thousands of people have been able to find gainful employment. Unfortunately, not everything is ideal in the Texas employment sector. For employees of non-subscribers to the state workers’ compensation benefits programs, such as H-E-B employees, working can sometimes be hazardous. Workers’ compensation programs are highly contentious in the state, leaving many people with inadequate coverage. If this applies to you, here is what you need to know about workers’ compensation in Texas.

The problem of Texas non-subscriber employers

The growth of our state’s economy over the past few years has been largely credited to the lack of regulations in Texas compared to other states. In particular, Texas does not require all private employers to carry workers’ compensation. This can be particularly unsettling, considering that Texas has high rates of on-the-job deaths, often No. 1 in the nation.

The state does have a Division of Workers’ Compensation, but it does not legally mandate that private employers carry coverage. More than 500,000 Texans, therefore, have no benefits if they are injured or killed on the job. These people often end up relying on lawyers, charities, or taxpayers for help.

In addition to the 500,000 who have no coverage, there are also many who are not included in the state workers’ compensation system but who do have some type of coverage from their employers. The problem with these plans, however, is their very limited scope. They commonly get rid of protections that employees have under the state plans, such as drastically reducing the amount of time people can receive benefits or forcing them to report injuries within a few days or less – instead of up to 30 days like many state plans. Only 41% of these plans include any kind of death benefit as well. This means that if someone dies on the job, in most cases their families will receive nothing.

Even those covered by state-regulated programs can experience problems. Most claims submitted will be disputed or denied. For thousands of workers each year, the promised benefits do not materialize. This leaves workers injured, often unable to work, and without any relief or help.

Are there any protections for these employees?

Attention has been called recently to the troublesome laws and the lack of regulation for businesses with regard to workers’ compensation. More than 90% of employers who do not subscribe have not notified the state as required. These employers should be fined for their noncompliance. In the past, the law has had weak enforcement, but many critics now advocate for harsher penalties.

The law also requires those who do not subscribe and have at least five employees to report all lost-time injuries and fatalities. Commonly, employers will understate injuries. Enforcement of these provisions would also provide better protection for workers through improved tracking.

There have been attempts at reform of these laws lately, which would benefit H-E-B employees, as well as others who work for non-subscriber employers. Many in the state, however, fear that more regulations in this area will lead to increased government oversight in other areas. In a state famous for a lack of regulations, this had led to backlash against regulation attempts.

What should an injured H-E-B employee do?

H-E-B is one of the very large employers who do not subscribe. They often hire minimum-wage workers, who are also easily replaced. This makes people injured on the job while working at this organization very vulnerable.

If you were hurt while working for H-E-B, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

  1. Seek medical attention. It is important for anyone who faces a serious injury to get treatment as quickly as possible.
  2. Contact a lawyer. If you were injured on the job, lawyers can help you build a case against the employer. The sooner, the better.
  3. Save and document everything possible.

Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help

For H-E-B workers, or anyone else working for a non-subscriber to TX worker’s comp, who suffer a serious injury on the job, it can be a challenge to know where to turn for help. You should seek an experienced lawyer who has a proven track record with on-the-job injury cases, and specifically non-subscriber claims. If you have suffered a workplace injury and you want to learn more about your legal options, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to set up your free consultation. We look forward to helping you.