Owning a business can be quite rewarding, but there are certain risks that you need to be aware of. One of the biggest risks that TX business owners – especially those that are just getting started out – overlook is a employee getting injured on the job.
Accidents happen. An employee can slip and fall; a piece of machinery could malfunction; an illness could occur as a result of a worker being exposed to something dangerous on your worksite (unbeknownst to you). In the event that someone you employ becomes injured or ill while on the job, you are held legally responsible. For that reason, you need to make sure that you have Texas workers compensation insurance.
Does My Business Need Texas Workers Compensation?
If you have an existing business, or are starting a new business, don’t overlook the importance of getting Texas workers compensation insurance. See Texas workers compensation laws for employers. Here’s a look at 4 reasons why you should have it:
It Protects Your Business. Texas workers compensation insurance coverage not only protects your employees, but it also protects your business. Though cases do vary, often times, when a business offers workers’ comp coverage to its employees, workers agree to forfeit their rights to sue a business for negligence in the event of an accident or an illness. This will reduce costly the financial hardships that are associated with lawsuits, as well the damages that legal action could have on your business in the future. For example, businesses that have had lawsuits filed against them for wrong-doing in the case of an accident often have their reputation marred, which could have a negative impact on the success of the business.
It’s Beneficial For Employees. Should an employee be involved in an accident and sustain an injury, or falls ill as a result of being exposed to a toxic chemical or fume while on the job, and is unable to work, workers comp will cover their expenses. These expenses include lost wages, medical costs, and more. In essence, CCA workers comp serves as a financial safety net for your employees.
Assists With Recovery. Not only does Texas workers’ compensation insurance assist with lost wages and medical expenses, but it also covers some of the cost that is associated with any training or rehabilitation that employees may need so that they can return back to work. Moreover, should an employee be unable to return to work, the insurance will provide him or her with training that will better suit his or her new needs.
Helps Employees’ Loved Ones. Workers’ compensation insurance can also protect the loved ones of your employees. For example, it protects from the hardships that lost wages could impose on a family. In the extremely unfortunate event that a worker perishes as a result of his or her injuries or illness, workers comp insurance will likely cover at least some, if not all, of the funeral expenses. Some packages also offer surviving family members benefits.
For these reasons, Texas workers’ compensation coverage is a sound business investment. It protects your employees, their loves ones, your business – and you – from the financial hardships and the legal repercussions that could come about in the unfortunate event that one of your workers is injured or becomes ill while on the job. It is a requirement in most states, and because of the several benefits that this insurance offers, it’s easy to see why. See TX workers comp class codes for more information.
What Does Texas Workers Compensation Insurance Cover?
Workers compensation insurance cover only work-related injury or illness including: lost wages, medical expenses, and other benefits to employees who may become injured or sick while they are working. It’s a sound business investment, as it protects your most important asset: your employees.
A workers compensation policy usually has two parts:
- Workers Compensation Insurance: The first part of the policy fulfills statutory obligations under the Texas workers’ compensation laws. Under this section, the insurer agrees to pay all workers compensation benefits and other benefits that the employer must legally provide to covered employees who have a job-related injury or an occupational disease.
- Employers Liability Insurance: The second part of the policy covers employers against lawsuits by employees who are injured in the course of employment, but whose injuries (or diseases) are not compensable under the state’s workers compensation law. This part is similar to other liability insurance policies where negligence must be established before the insurer is legally obligated to pay.
What Texas Workers Compensation Insurance Doesn’t Cover
Workers compensation typically does not cover:
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Felony-related injuries
- Injuries an employee suffers off the job
- Injuries claimed after an employee is terminated or laid off
- Injuries from a fight started by the employee
- Injuries caused by intoxication or drugs
- Injuries resulting from horseplay or violation of company policy
- Injuries to an independent contractor
TX Workers Compensation Information
According to the Texas Workforce Commission:
Texas, unlike other states, does not require an employer to have workers’ compensation coverage. Subscribing to workers’ compensation insurance puts a limit on the amount and type of compensation that an injured employee may receive – the limits are set in the law.
Being a “non-subscriber”, i.e., going “bare” or without coverage, leaves an employer open to personal injury lawsuits from employees who are injured on the job – the damages and attorney’s fees are almost unlimited – in addition, certain defenses available in most personal injury lawsuits, such as assumption of the risk, contributory negligence, “last clear chance”, and co-worker negligence, are not available to a non-subscriber in a job injury case.
At hire, notify each new hire of coverage and post the same notice along with other required workplace posters – also, let each new hire know that they have five days to elect to waive their right to workers’ compensation benefits and retain their common-law right to sue the employer for a work-related injury – the notice must let the employee know that if they give up workers’ compensation, they give up the right to receive medical or income benefits under the workers’ compensation law.
If an employer discontinues its workers’ compensation coverage, it must inform employees and the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Texas Department of Insurance as soon as possible.
Under workers’ compensation law, an injury or illness is covered, without regard to fault, if it was sustained in the course and scope of employment, i.e., while furthering or carrying on the employer’s business; this includes injuries sustained during work-related travel.
Injuries are not covered if they were the result of the employee’s horseplay, willful criminal acts or self-injury, intoxication from drugs or alcohol, voluntary participation in an off-duty recreational activity, a third party’s criminal act if directed against the employee for a personal reason unrelated to the work, or acts of God.
Injured workers must file injury reports within thirty days of the injury, must appeal the first impairment rating within 90 days of its issuance, and must file the formal paperwork for the workers’ compensation claim within one year of the injury. If the work-related nature of the injury or illness was not immediately apparent, those deadlines run from the date on which the employee should have known the problem was work-related.
Three main types of benefits: medical benefits, income benefits, and death benefits – each type is statutorily defined and limited.
The law places a heavy emphasis on return-to-work programs, since all studies show that recovery is faster and more efficient if an employee has some kind of useful work to do.
An employee’s refusal of suitable light-duty work can stop the payment of workers’ compensation benefits.
A job injury can involve other laws as well, such as the FMLA and the ADA – in multiple-law situations, whatever law provides the greatest protection should be applied.
Chapter 451 of the workers’ compensation law prohibits discrimination or retaliatory action against employees who have filed workers’ compensation claims or are somehow in the process of doing so – stray remarks can be harmful to a company’s legal position in a Chapter 451 lawsuit, so never let anyone with your company be heard talking about a claim in terms of it being a problem, since any negative remarks can be twisted and spun to make the employer look as if it intended to retaliate against the claimant.
Design your paid leave policies to avoid “benefits stacking”, i.e., the combining of workers’ compensation and leave-related benefits in such a way that the employee ends up getting more than 100% of his or her regular wage each week – for a sample policy, see “Limits on Leave Benefits” in “The A to Z of Personnel Policies” in this book.
Employees on workers’ compensation do not have to be allowed to continue accruing leave or other benefits, but should be treated at least as favorably as other absent employees in that regard.
Loss of health insurance benefits while on workers’ compensation leave is a COBRA-qualifying event.
If a workers’ compensation claimant files an unemployment claim, he or she will be disqualified from unemployment benefits unless the workers’ compensation benefits are for “permanent, partial disability”, which translates to “impairment income benefits” under the current law – in addition, the claimant’s medical ability to work would be in question and should be raised by the employer as an issue in its response to the unemployment claim.
How Much Does Texas Workers Compensation Insurance Cost?
How much does Texas workers compensation insurance cost? The cost of TX workers comp insurance varies tremendously, depending on your industry and location. If you are in an industry where work-related injuries are more likely to occur or in an area where insurance premiums are higher, then it will cost more.
For example, for a roofer, tree trimmer, or demolition company, the cost could be $17 per $100 in payroll, or even higher. On the other hand, the cost to cover a attorney, accountant or real estate agent could be under $0.20 per $100 of their payroll. So, for an employee that earns $40,000 a year, a blue collar contracting company could pay around $6800, where a white collar business may pay just $80.
Also your workers comp rates can go up or down depending on your accident history, much like they would for most types of insurance.
Get A Texas Workers Compensation Insurance Quote
If you own or are starting a TX business, let one of our expert agents take a look at your current business policy. We offer a wide variety of options to ensure that your employees and you are properly protected from the hazards that could happen on the job. In most cases we can save you money and offer you better policy options than you currently may have. workers comp codes TX, Texas workers compensation classes, Texas workers compensation audit, how to calculate workers compensation in Texas, workers compensation Texas quote, Texas workers compensation endorsements, texas workers comp code 8391, texas workers comp code 8017.