In most states, workers who are injured on the job are covered by workers’ compensation, an insurance program that provides medical, rehabilitation, and income benefits for workplace-related injuries and illnesses. Employees benefit from workers’ comp by knowing that if they are injured on the job, they will have basic coverage without having to go through a lawsuit. Employers benefit because employees who are covered by workers’ comp generally cannot sue their employers for their injuries.
However, Texas stands alone among the 50 states in not requiring most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees who suffer injuries on the job. The Texas workers’ compensation law enacted in 1913 allowed private employers to completely opt out of participation in the workers’ comp system, or to “nonsubscribe.”
H-E-B (the H.E. Butt Grocery Company) is one of the very large Texas employers who do not subscribe to the system, so if their employees are injured on the job and cannot work, they may not know if they have benefits to help feed their family and pay for medical care.
Fortunately, if you or your loved one was injured at work, an experienced work injury lawyer can help clarify your situation, determine what benefits you may be entitled to, and fight for the compensation you deserve. For employers that provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage, Texas law limits the employer’s liability for work-related injuries of employees. However, non-subscribers like H-E-B do not have these same legal protections, and a work injury lawyer may be able to bring a lawsuit against the employer or against a third party who might have caused your injuries. In a successful case, you may be able to win a damage award that covers not only your medical care and lost wages, but non-monetary damages such as pain and suffering.
Can I Get H-E-B Workers Compensation?
You May Need to Bring a Lawsuit to Get Compensation
Workers’ compensation is supposed to eliminate the need for lengthy and costly civil lawsuits in cases of injury on the job, since injured workers do not have to prove fault to receive benefits and, in return, are not allowed to sue their employer. However, when employers are non-subscribers, like H-E-B, you may be able to bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim for compensation. You may also be able to file a lawsuit if your injury was due to negligence by the employer or recklessness on the part of a third party.
Negligence – In the case of negligence, you may file a lawsuit if your injury resulted from your employer’s failure to provide a safe workplace because of the lack of training, equipment, or manpower, or if the employer adopted an unsafe work practice and you were injured as a result.
To win your case, your attorney would have to show that your employer or another party, the defendant in the case, was negligent and at fault for causing the accident that injured you. This means showing the following legal elements:
Duty: The defendant had a duty not to cause harm.
Breach: The defendant breached this duty by actions or failure to act.
Cause: This breach caused your injuries.
Damages: You suffered damages as a result.
Third-party cases – For a third party case, someone besides the employer must have caused the accident that led to your injury. Examples include:
a subcontractor, materials supplier, or another employee who injured you
the manufacturer of faulty equipment if the equipment failed and injured you
the owner of a property where you were injured due to unsafe conditions
a driver of a vehicle that crashed into you.
Damages You May Recover in a H-E-B Nonsubscriber Case
In a successful Texas lawsuit, you may win compensation for both your economic damages or financial losses and also your “non-economic” damages that do not have a specific dollar value.
Economic damages may include:
lost wages and earnings
costs of modifying a home or vehicle, such as for a wheelchair
funeral costs in case of death.
Noneconomic damages are for less tangible damages that negatively impact your life, such as:
pain and suffering
emotional mental anguish
loss of companionship or consortium
Punitive damages – In some rare cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. These are intended to punish a defendant who acted in an especially reckless or egregious manner and to deter such behaviors in the future.
Amounts of Damage Awards
There are a wide range of damage amounts, from thousands to millions of dollars, that may be awarded in a successful lawsuit, depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Factors that go into determining amounts include:
the severity and permanence of your injuries, and whether you will need continuing care
costs of medical and rehabilitation treatments
loss of income from being unable to work
whether injuries led to a death
the availability of insurance and assets of the defendants
the individual judge and jury involved
how well your attorney can negotiate a settlement or litigate your case.
H-E-B Workers’ Compensation Claims
H-E-B Is a Nonsubscriber for Texas Workers’ Comp
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, such as not requiring all private employers to carry workers’ compensation. The state does have a Division of Workers’ Compensation, but it does not 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, there are employees 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, such as the one that H-E-B uses, is their very limited scope. Essentially, insurance companies provide policies that covers a worker’s injuries, but the plans primarily have the company’s interests in mind – protecting the business, controlling costs, controlling claims, and “getting the employee back to work”!
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. In addition, these plans may require arbitration, and the arbitrators are notoriously biased for the employer.
For employees of non-subscribers to the state workers’ compensation benefits programs, such as H-E-B employees, working can sometimes be hazardous. Even employees covered by state-regulated programs can experience problems, and most claims submitted will be disputed or denied by insurance companies that are out for profit. 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.
With the deck so stacked against injured workers, it makes sense to have an experienced work injury lawyer on your side to fight for the fair compensation you deserve.
What Are Protections for H-E-B Employees?
Recently, attention has been called 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. If an injured employee works for a company like H-E-B that is not a workers’ compensation participant, the employee may be able to seek damages from the employer by hiring a Texas work injury attorney for purposes of filing a work injury claim that may eventually require arbitration or litigation.
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 lower 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.
Seek medical attention. It is important for anyone who faces a serious injury to get treatment as quickly as possible.
Save and document everything possible.
Contact a work injury lawyer. If you were injured on the job, lawyers can help you build a case against the employer. The sooner, the better.
Call Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law for Help
For H-E-B workers, or anyone else working for a non-subscriber to TX workers’ comp, who suffer a serious injury on the job, it’s important to get help from an experienced lawyer who has a proven track record with on-the-job injury cases, and specifically non-subscriber claims.
If you are covered under workers’ comp, our work injury lawyers in Houston can ensure that everything is filed correctly and that you receive the benefits you deserve, and can appeal your case if denied. If your employer does not provide workers’ comp, we will pursue maximum compensation for you through a legal claim – and potentially a lawsuit.
When you have Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law on your side, our legal team will get to work immediately to fight for a fair settlement. We will:
Investigate your work injury case, how it happened, and who the negligent parties were
Gather evidence such as from work and medical records, photos and videos, and interviews with witnesses, first responders, and fellow workers
Make sure you get proper medical treatment and everything is documented
Get testimony from experts as to the harm you received, the care and costs you will have into the future, and how your injuries affect your life and family
File all necessary paperwork and correspond with insurance companies, negligent parties, and their attorneys to negotiate a settlement on your behalf
Build your case and take it to trial if necessary.
We provide a free, no-obligation consultation to examine the facts of your individual situation and show you how we can help. There are no fees to you unless and until we win your case, so you have nothing to lose. Call us now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.
Terry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]