Workers’ compensation refers to monetary benefits given to any government employee or a private company in certain situations. This is a law mandated by all the states of the U.S.A. Any employer can face trial for denying workers compensation in Houston in justified situations.
This law has an interesting history spanning 150 years, since 1857 when the first attempt was made to provide compensation for the injuries suffered by workers while on the clock.
Finally, after multiple trials and errors, in 1923, the U.S. implemented the “Workmen’s Compensation Act of 1923.”According to this section, every worker has the right to compensatory benefits in case of injuries during or as a result of their job.
However, as various Houston workers’ compensation attorneys say, there are certain specificities of this law that vary for every state in the U.S.
Most Common Reasons for Needing Worker’s Compensation in Houston
There are several scenarios faced by an employee that calls for compensation. The most common of which include:
These unforeseen incidents may occur during an employee’s work hours. This also includes accidents that happen while carrying out their jobs beyond their work site. In any case, physical injuries arising from such accidents demand compensation under the workers’ compensation law. There is no bar on the severity of the injury. Minor and major injuries are both eligible for being compensated.
Onset of Illness
This is a common happening in unhygienic or toxic worksites. Workers working with toxic chemicals or in a polluted environment are prone to developing degenerative diseases. In case this happens, the workers can benefit from the workers’ compensation for their treatment costs and more.
This is a situation where severe injuries temporarily disable workers and make them incapable of working. If the disability is a result of a workplace accident– the workers’ compensation applies in this case. The employee can benefit from medical and wage compensation for the disability period.
This happens if the worker loses a limb or bodily function due to a workplace injury. In this situation, the workers’ compensation benefits apply for a much longer period. This is because the permanent disability resulting from workplace injury has rendered the worker incapable of earning in the future as well.
In extreme situations of the death of a worker due to workplace injury, the workers’ compensation benefits are still applicable. The compensation is provided to the surviving family members in this case.
What Benefits Does Workers Compensation Provide?
The benefits of the workers’ compensation vary depending on the injury type and rehabilitation duration.
In Houston, Texas, the following are the specificities of worker’s compensation benefits-
In case of any workplace injury, medical benefits are provided that cover the treatment costs, doctor fees, medication, and more. If your workers’ compensation scheme is already attached to a healthcare network, you must get treated in a facility within that network to avail yourself of your benefits.
Temporary Income Benefits
This applies if a workplace injury renders the employee incapable of working for seven days or more. The amount of temporary income benefits varies from 70-to 75% of one’s average weekly wage before the injury occurred. This benefit is not applicable when the recovery period is over.
Impairment Income Benefits
Applicable when the workplace injury impairs the body function of the employee. The eligibility for impairment income benefits is determined after Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is reached. The doctor then provides an IR (impairment rating) after medical assessments. Based on this rating, the benefit duration is calculated. The benefit amount is usually 70% of the previous average weekly wage.
Supplemental Income Benefits
This is applicable in cases where there is a physical impairment of more than 15% due to a work-related injury. Supplemental income benefits are provided once the initial impairment income benefits are over. To claim this benefit, one must prove that they are looking for work, or even if they are working, they now function at 80% or less productivity due to the impairment.
Lifetime Income Benefits
Lifetime benefits are for employees who have permanent disabilities after a workplace injury. There are specific conditions defined as permanent disabilities. The benefit amount is 75% of the previous average weekly wage with a 3% increment each year.
In case of the death of a worker due to workplace injury, the costs of the burial and subsequent funeral are reimbursed to the surviving family.
Monetary compensation is provided to the surviving members of the immediate family who were dependent on the employee. Death benefits may also be paid to surviving children below 25 years enrolled in a college or university. The amount of this benefit is 75 % of the deceased’s average weekly wage before death. The duration of this benefit is till the terms of eligibility are met.
Who Provides Workers Compensation benefits in Houston Tx?
In Texas, all workers’ compensation-related details are handled by the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). Every employer must have a workers’ compensation scheme/ insurance in place for providing the benefits. Employers can opt for an insurance scheme from licensed insurance companies.
However, in Texas, employers of private entities are not required to have this compensation unless they deal with government bodies. In other cases, the compensation may come from an employee’s personal insurance plans or they can apply to the DWC by duly completing the required procedure.
What If You Are Denied Workers’ Compensation by Your Employer?
In case your employer denies your rightful compensation, you can take matters into your own hands.
- Firstly, file an annual notice with the DWC to inform them of your employer’s negligence.
- Inform your colleagues about the lack of workers’ insurance in the company
- File a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. In case the employer is negligent about workers’ insurance, they will have no legal protection. A lawsuit will then hold them liable for their actions and help the employee gain their rightful compensation.
Things to Remember About Workers Compensation Rules in Houston, TX
- The workers’ compensation is not applicable if the employee is proved at fault. Even a partial contribution will also bar the employee from receiving compensation.
- The workers’ compensation is not applicable for workplace injuries resulting from an “Act of God.”
- The compensation is not applicable when injured outside of work hours or worksite due to personal negligence.
- The injury must be reported within 30 days to the employer. Any time after this will invalidate the case by default.
- The employer must inform their insurance vendor within seven days of awareness of this incident. Any later action will be considered negligence.
Contact our personal injury lawyers in Houston to get more information.