According to The Brownsville Herald, at least a half-million Texas workers have no occupational insurance coverage, either from a state-approved workers’ compensation plan or from a private equivalent.
The figures, provided by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), provoked a passionate debate at a legislative hearing about policy solutions in the only state in the US where the decision to carry workers’ compensation or a private equivalent is voluntary for companies of any size.
The Texas House Committee on Business and Industry is studying the voluntary workers’ compensation system, the shifting of costs to taxpayers and proposals for improving care for workers and their families who are left with few or no benefits after a workplace injury or death.
Although victims who suffer workplace accidents can sue employers who have no workers’ compensation insurance, in many cases there is no one to sue and no money to recover. Of the numbers of employees in Texas without occupational insurance, only a tiny percentage of employers are in compliance with requirements to notify the state about their workplace coverage or lack thereof, according to TDI records.
The TDI figures show that in 2012, 81 percent of Texas employees were covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Of those who do not get it, about 70 percent have some type of private, occupational insurance. The remaining 30 percent of those without workers’ compensation insurance are “going bare”, meaning they have no coverage at all, which adds up to at least 500,000 people.
Among the possible improvements discussed were proposals to make workers’ compensation coverage mandatory for danger-prone industries like construction, an idea that has drawn heavy opposition from the business lobby in the past. Some lawmakers also want to stop the rampant misclassification of employees as subcontractors, which allows employers to avoid paying taxes and benefits.
Have You Been Injured On The Job? We Help Injured Texans
We hope that this leads to better, safer work conditions for workers in Texas, because in the Lone Star State, there are few places that injured workers can turn to for help and counsel after suffering serious personal injuries on the job. To schedule a free consultation, contact our Austin workers comp attorney today.
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Workers’ Compensation Attorney