The short answer is, NO! Generally speaking, companies in Texas manage to have little obligation to an injured worker. A person who is injured as a result of an accident that arises from and occurs in the course of his or her employment, or who suffers a disease as a result of his or her employment, is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Those benefits include payment of bills for healthcare that is reasonable and necessary to treat the injury or disease, and disability payments to replace some of the income that the employee loses due to the injury or disease.
In Texas, providing workers’ compensation benefits is not an employer’s legal obligation, although many Texas employers do purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover the cost of providing benefits. An employer, however, does not have to file a claim for an employee.
There are several steps that an employee must take to receive workers’ compensation benefits in the event of a work-related injury or disease.
- An employee who is injured in a work-related accident or who suffers from a work-related disease must tell his or her employer within thirty (30) days of the accident or of realizing that his or her injury or disease might be work-related.
- An employee must file a form, which is known as DWC Form-041, with the Division of Workers’ Compensation within one (1) year of when he or she was injured or of realizing that his or her injury or disease might be work-related; an employee’s attorney can complete and file the form for the employee.
- An employee must tell his or her treating doctors how an injury occurred and that it is work-related.
- An employee is responsible to provide the Division of Workers’ Compensation and the workers’ compensation insurance company that is providing benefits his or her address, telephone number, employer’s name and address, and wages.
- An employee is obligated to inform the Division of Workers’ Compensation and the workers’ compensation insurance company any time his or her address, telephone number, employment status or wages changes.
- An employee who is in a workers’ compensation health care network must also comply with all rules and regulations imposed by the network; if an employee is unsure about network status, the employee should ask the employer for whom he or she worked at the time the accident occurred or whose employment caused the disease.
If an employee does not comply with these requirements, as well as others that are not listed here, then he or she may lose the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. That means that a non-compliant employee might be forced to pay his or her own medical bills.
An employer also does not have to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits on behalf of a deceased employee’s beneficiary. Instead the beneficiary who seeks death or burial benefits must file a form, which is known as DWC Form-042, with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Different rules apply to a claim for workers’ compensation benefits by an employee of a county or local government. An employee who works for a county or local government should contact his or her employer for information about workers’ compensation benefits and treatment for a workplace injury or disease.
Pursuing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits can be complicated. An injured or sick employee, or his or her beneficiary, must remember that the employer does not have to file the claim.
Sandoval Law Firm, PLLC helps injured workers and their families. Call (346) 347-7777 for a free and informative consultation!