When your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, it can make for a very confusing beginning to your claim.  How are you supposed to get treatment?  What benefits are available if you can’t work?  What about my pain and suffering?  These are all big questions if you think your employer is a nonsubscriber.

When an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, we call them a nonsubscriber. If your job actually does have workers’ comp coverage, then we call them a subscriber.  People who get hurt while working for a subscriber get all of the benefits allowed under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act – this is regular workers’ compensation. 

People who get hurt while working for a nonsubscriber are in a different position.  The downside is that you don’t get the benefits allowed in a regular workers’ compensation claim.  The upside is that if you have a serious injury, you might recover more than you could under a regular workers’ comp claim.

My Employer Has A “Plan” For Work Injuries

If your employer does not have workers’ compensation (the regular kind) and is a nonsubscriber, they may have a “plan”.  A plan means that they bought some insurance to cover work injuries, just not regular workers’ compensation insurance.  Usually, these plans are written in a way that allows the insurance company to deny most of the benefits you think you should have.  For instance, in a regular comp case, you have 30 days to report your injury.  In most plans, you have 24 hours to report your injury or you lose your right to benefits forever.

Employers with a plan generally intended to cover the cost of your first company doctor visit, but not much more.  The length of time that you might be able to collect lost wages is significantly reduced, and the medical treatment is so limited that you will probably feel disrespected.  So, when we hear the word “plan”, we don’t think much of it.  It certainly isn’t the same thing as workers’ compensation insurance.  It’s fake workers’ comp.

Nonsubscribers Can Be Sued For Negligence

When your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance (the real kind), the law says you can sue them if your employer was negligent and caused your injury.  This is a big deal.  Employees collecting “real” workers’ compensation benefits don’t have this right.  The only injured workers who can sue their employer in Texas are those who work for nonsubscribers.  This means if you have a serious injury, you might be able to get a much bigger recovery for your injuries than if you were limited to “real” workers’ comp benefits.

When you can sue your employer, you can collect benefits that don’t exist in a “real” workers’ comp claim.  You can get all of your lost wages instead of only 70 percent for only 2 years.  You can get treatment from any doctor you can get to treat you instead of the one your insurance company approves.  Your permanent impairment can be fully recovered rather than partially paid.  You can get paid for your pain and suffering – this doesn’t even exist in a “real” workers’ comp case.

If you have a minor injury and don’t think you will miss many days from work, regular workers’ comp is a good thing.  If you have a serious injury that is caused by your employer’s negligence, it can be much better if your employer is a nonsubscriber.

Will I Need An Attorney For A Nonsubscriber Claim?

Collecting everything you may be owed from a nonsubscriber does require hiring an attorney.  You are going to need help obtaining medical treatment.  You are going to need help going to court – which is almost always necessary in these types of cases. Even when you think they don’t have a defense to your claim, you almost always have to file a lawsuit.  The good news is that a firm like ours will take on these cases and charge you nothing up front. In fact, we don’t get paid unless you win.

If you want to discuss your options after getting hurt at work without workers’ comp coverage, please ask for a free consultation immediately.