While Texas might be a land of opportunity for workers looking to make a living for their families, they should be aware of the dangers of working in the state. Texas has the nation’s second-largest economy, and it regularly leads the nation in fatal work accidents. Despite this fact, the state does not require private employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
How Many Workers Die Each Year in Texas?
In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Texas had the most worker deaths. That year, 545 people lost their lives while working in the state. In 2017, the most recent year available, 534 people died. These last two years of data are not an anomaly; Texas regularly has the most worker deaths in the nation. In fact, The New York Times found that the state led the nation in fatal work accidents for 7 out of 10 years in a 2014 report.
Texas Workers’ Compensation Law Lags Behind the Nation
Texas does not require private employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It is the only state in the nation that does not have requirements for minimal workers’ compensation coverage. While over one million workers have private insurance from their employers, over 500,000 do not have insurance and will not receive any occupational benefits after sustaining an injury caused by their job. While over 80 percent of workers receive coverage from a state-regulated compensation system, many worker advocates claim that this system does not do enough to protect workers.
Even if a Texan Has Insurance, Recovery is Not Guaranteed
Even if a Texan has workers’ compensation insurance through their employer, they might not receive compensation after sustaining work-related injuries. According to The New York Times, insurance companies delay or deny 45 percent of Texas work injury claims. As a result, 90 percent of injury claims are settled between workers and employers informally.
If a Texan makes a claim and receives an unfair denial or compensation offer, they have limited options for solutions. In 2012, the Supreme Court of Texas almost eliminated the possibility of bad faith claim for workers’ compensation claims. The Court decided that bad faith claims, a term which means accusing an insurance company of unfair behavior, was inconsistent with the state’s workers’ compensation system. It decided that it was the job of state bureaucrats to punish insurance companies, not a worker’s attorney.
Texas Has No Agency Dedicated to Protecting Worker Safety
Most states have created agencies that enforce laws for workplace safety. However, Texas has never set up such an agency. Instead, the state relies on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. While this agency has made the American workplace significantly safer over the decades, it does not have enough inspectors to enforce regulations in Texas or the rest of the nation. The agency his only about 1,000 inspectors overseeing millions of workplaces throughout the nation. To enforce regulations, OSHA needs help—Texas does not provide it.
What Should Workers Do After Sustaining an Injury in Texas?
The best thing a worker can do after suffering from a work-related is to reach out to a work accident attorney. Having a lawyer on your side means that someone is protecting your interests before an insurance company even has a chance to offer a settlement. An attorney from Arnold & Itkin will examine your case and explore every legal option that you have. While Texas does not always favor worker recovery, hiring an attorney will help you level the playing field.
For a free consultation of your case, call Arnold & Itkin today at (888) 493-1629. Our team of work accident lawyers is standing by to help you find out which options are best for you.