Virtually every state in the union requires your employer to have workers' compensation insurance. While Texas doesn't technically require it, there are still many situations in which it is required, such as government contracts in the construction industry, and a few states offer waivers under specific circumstances. Some states require workers' compensation insurance even if they only have one employee while other states don't require it until they have three or more.
Workers compensation insurance is protection for both you and your employee. The insurance covers things like loss of limb(s), any injury incurred at work or while working at off-site locations, physical therapy and rehabilitation, medical equipment and supplies, and death. But what happens if your employer doesn't carry insurance and you become injured on the job?
Exercise Your Legal Rights
Whether your employer was within their legal right not to carry the insurance according to state law or they just failed to comply with the law, as the injured worker, you unfortunately have no recourse but to sue your employer. This comes with both advantages and disadvantages.
If your employer doesn't have workers' compensation insurance, your lost wages don't have to be capped at the two-thirds maximum allotment; you can sue for the full amount.You will also be able to sue for your emotional injuries, i.e. having to deal with the physical pain incurred or the resulting depression that might come from a severe injury, like the loss of your leg. This is usually referred to as pain and suffering, which the insurance doesn't account for.
Additionally, you can sue for punitive damages if your employer was lax in following standard safety procedures or the work environment was somehow inherently unsafe, like knowingly using faulty machinery and this resulted in your injuries. Workers' compensation insurance doesn't allow this.
Suing your employer in court typically takes much longer than the few weeks a simple workers' comp claim might. It can take months or even years to settle a lawsuit. Your bills and medical expenses don't stop piling up, though. This can be a potential financial disaster, causing additional stress.
Most states also have time limits for filing claims. For this reason, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel immediately, whether your employer has workers' compensation insurance or not. The laws are too varied and complicated to try to figure out on your own, especially when your focus should be on your health.