Are You Protected if You’re Injured at Work?

According to United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 882,730 people suffered an injury at work that required them to miss at least a day of work in 2017 (that’s the most recent year for which BLS has statistics). Many people assume that they would be covered in case that happens, and their employer would pay their medical bills and their lost income. Sometimes that’s true, and sometimes it’s not.

In Texas, there are three basic possibilities: (1) Workers Compensation; (2) non-Worker’s Compensation Employee Benefit Plan (EBP); or (3) No Coverage. Let’s discuss what each of these are, and what it could mean for you.

  • Worker’s Compensation: Worker’s Comp is a special kind of insurance that an employer can buy, and it gives certain protections to employees, and certain protections to employers.
    • Good for employees: it pays your medical bills and part of your lost income even if the injury was your fault (assuming the injured person was not on drugs or alcohol) without having to file a civil lawsuit
    • Bad for employees: limited choice in doctors, no compensation for pain, suffering, or mental anguish, lost household services, or loss of consortium. Also you often have to fight the insurance company to get basic benefits you are entitled to.
  • Non-Worker’s Compensation Employee Benefit Plan (EBP): many large companies in Texas have opted out of the Worker’s Comp system and have created other plans that help their employees in case they get hurt at work. Each company can design its own EBP—there aren’t any special rules for them. That means that they are all a little different. EBPs can be better than Workers Comp for employees in some cases.
    • Good for employees: EBPs usually pay your medical bills and a part of your lost income even if the injury was the injured person‘s fault, very similar to Worker’s Comp., and you can still sue later for pain and suffering.
    • Bad for employees: to recover pain, suffering, mental anguish, lost household services, and loss of consortium, you must prove that the injury was caused at least partly by the employer or another employee. Also, you’re likely to be stuck in binding arbitration without the benefit of a jury deciding your case

WARNING: employers with EBPs will often try to trick you into
signing away your rights.
Before you sign anything, talk to a lawyer
who knows the law and
can help you protect yourself.
Call Lovins Law before you sign!

  • No Coverage: this is almost always the worst for employees. It provides no benefits to injured workers without a fight – often a lawsuit. And, worst of all, if the employer is a small business without a lot of assets, and the injury is serious, there is no insurance or any money to take care of injured workers.
    • Good for employees: You can recover pain, suffering, mental anguish, lost household services, and loss of consortium, but that’s IF the company has assets to pay.
    • Bad for employees: If the company doesn’t have any assets, there may not be any way to make them compensate their injured employee even if you win the lawsuit against them.

Next week, we are going to give you some tips to stay safe at work. The following week, we are going to tell you how to find out if you are protected in case of a workplace injury.

If you or someone you love has been injured at work, call Lovins Law right away at 214-484-1930.