Nobody ever anticipates that they’re going to be injured at work, yet it happens every day. In fact, the state of Texas has led the entire country in worker fatalities and injuries for most of the past decade. What’s even worse is that when workplace injuries or fatalities occur in Texas, these workers and their families aren’t always protected by workers’ compensation insurance.
Many Texas employers don’t offer workers’ compensation to their employees. How is this possible? Because of questionable laws and a lack of progression following the industrial era, Texas remains the only state in the country that doesn’t require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage.
Instead, most employers opt out of workers’ compensation in favor of providing their own coverage through the state’s regulated system. This coverage is generally known as a non-subscription policy—and while these policies are often touted by employers as offering excellent coverage, deeper digging reveals that actually collecting on these benefits can prove to be very difficult for workers who are injured on the job.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Non-Subscription Policies
To understand the true impact of Texas’ lack of workers’ compensation requirements, it is important to understand some of the key differences between a “typical” workers’ compensation policy and a non-subscription policy.
Workers’ Compensation Protections
Generally, when a person is injured on the job and their employer carries workers’ compensation coverage, the employee has up to 30 days to report the injury. Upon approval, workers’ compensation benefits can then be collected for up to 401 weeks, and many policies also carry the possibility of lifetime benefits for those who are permanently disabled or unable to work. Workers’ compensation policies also include death benefits, which are paid out to families when a worker is killed on the job.
A non-subscription policy, on the other hand, does not offer the same level of protection as workers’ compensation coverage. For starters, many companies require workers to report an on-the-job injury within 24 hours to receive benefits. From there, many non-subscription policies strangely include a stipulation that supervisors must accompany injured employees to doctors’ appointments following the injury. Even if a worker is approved for benefits, they can automatically be cut off after anywhere from 50 to 120 weeks, and they generally come with no option for lifetime benefits. It is also worth noting that more than half of these policies in the state of Texas do not include any kind of payout for death benefits if an employee is killed on the job.
Challenges for Workers Injured on the Job
So, what does this all mean for employees who are injured while working for a non-subscribing company? Unfortunately, these non-subscription policies can make it difficult or near-impossible for workers to collect benefits. In fact, it has become more challenging and time consuming than ever for workers to settle benefit disputes with their employers. And in the meantime, while injured employees are unable to work due to their injuries, their employers can fire and replace them without consequence—and this is often what happens. Even if an injured worker is eventually able to make a recovery on benefits, it can be years before a settlement is reached and payout is received. During that time, injured workers may have already lost their jobs, become homeless, and suffered countless other hardships.
Have You Been Injured on the Job at Home Depot?
Home Depot, despite being one of the nation’s leading home improvement chains, is one of the many employers that does not offer workers’ compensation benefits in the state of Texas.
If you work at a Home Depot in Texas and were injured on the job, you may be wondering what legal recourse you have if you were denied benefits. One of the best decisions you can make for yourself is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible; from there, you can receive the guidance you need to determine whether to move forward with a claim, and how.
At the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant, we have represented many employees who were injured on the job at Home Depot and many other employers across the state. We understand the frustration and hardship of being hurt on the job, only to then be denied benefits and treated unfairly by your employer.
Regardless of the specific reasoning for your benefit denial, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with our legal team today. We may also want to explore potential third party claims relating to your injuries. Call us now using (713) 973-8888, or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.