Austin Workers’ Compensation Attorney Explains
Texas Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Ryan Brannan has determined that the maintenance tax rate, which applies to insurance companies, will decrease. This is not unusual for our state, as we have lowered the maintenance tax rate four of the last five years. The 2015 rate will be the lowest in five years.
The commissioner states that the lowered tax rate will make it more affordable for businesses to buy workers’ compensation coverage for their workers. This tax helps fund the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), as well as the Office of Injured Employee Counsel.
Why was the Maintenance Tax Rate Lowered?
The Texas Department of Insurance lowered the rates based on the gross premium receipts for 2014. With this information, they assess the maintenance taxes and fees for 2015, including insurance areas that relate to personal injuries, car accidents and workers’ compensation.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, nearly 20 percent of Texas workers do not have the security of workers’ compensation if they are injured on the job. This is because it is not required for Texas businesses to carry workers’ compensation. However, most employers are required to inform you whether or not they carry the coverage. In Texas, an employer that does not provide workers’ compensation is called a “non-subscriber.” An estimated 44 percent of employers do not carry workers’ comp insurance.
What If My Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Comp?
Non-subscribers do not get the same protection that a subscribing employee gets in the case of injury. For instance, if you are injured on the job, and your employer has workers’ comp, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer to recover damages. You must rely on whatever workers’ compensation provides you. The exception is if you can prove that gross negligence was involved in the accident. In that case, you can file a lawsuit. An attorney can let you know if your situation is considered “gross negligence.”
If you are injured while working for a non-subscriber, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against your employer to recover compensation for your injuries or for a wrongful death. The Texas Labor Code actually helps the injured party by prohibiting the legal defense of claiming contributory negligence or claiming the negligence of a co-worker.
Therefore, it is important to consider all your options if you are injured on the job. Even if your employer offers workers’ compensation, you may be able to seek additional damages from a third party responsible for your injuries. An experienced Austin workers’ compensation attorney can increase your chances of securing the necessary compensation for your injuries and time off from work. Call (512) 474-8346 for a free consultation today.