In the United States, every state has laws requiring companies to provide workers’ compensation to employees who suffer injury while working. Well, all but one. Any guesses as to which?
Yep. Texas is the different one. In Texas, companies are allowed to opt out of workers’ comp and write their own worker protection rules. And all too often, workers signing new hire paperwork are not aware that they are signing away their protections. This can lead to dire outcomes when those workers are injured. Too often, Texas workers who suffer injury end up having to foot their own medical bills, all the while missing work due to injuries.
The Story of John Hernandez
John Hernandez is a worker for Swift Transportation, one of the largest trucking companies in the United States. Hernandez was driving a semi-truck through Texas while working and lost control of the rig. The accident left him with three herniated discs in his spine. His company refused to pay for him to see a doctor unless they were able to pick the doctor. The doctor did not perform a physical or anything – just talked to him. The doctor then told him he was fine and was cleared to return to work. Three more visits to the same doctor yielded the same results. He then discovered his herniated discs after a visit to an orthopedic surgeon.
Without workers’ comp, Hernandez was forced to pay his own medical bills. He now suffers trembling in his head due to the injuries.
The working poor are overwhelmingly disadvantaged by this system. If you are hurt on the job and are being denied workers’ comp, speak to a workers’ comp attorney.