How to Apply for Texas Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Texas workers' compensation claims

For non-federal employees, every state has a unique process in place for handling workers’ compensation claims. Texas employees with a workplace injury or occupational illness should follow the steps outlined below to apply for benefits. We’ll also explore how the Texas workers’ compensation program statistics changed from 2011-2015.

Does Your Employer Have Texas Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

Unlike nearly every other U.S. state and territory, Texas workers’ compensation coverage is completely optional for employers. That means you must first confirm that your employer provides Texas workers’ compensation insurance coverage before filing your claim. Legally, Texas employers can purchase individual commercial policies for workers’ compensation coverage from insurance companies or apply for self-insured status. Either way, if your employer carries Texas workers’ compensation insurance, you have to file a claim to qualify for benefits. If your employer doesn’t have insurance, you’ll have to file a personal injury lawsuit for medical bills and lost wages.

To check your coverage status online, search for your employer in the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation insurance verification database. Texas law requires every employer to display a poster in the workplace informing employees whether they have workers’ compensation insurance. Employers with Texas workers’ compensation coverage should display this poster (Notice 6). Legally, all Texas employers without workers’ comp insurance coverage must prominently display this poster (Notice 5) in the workplace.

If you get hurt or sick at work and your employer doesn’t provide coverage, you have the right to sue. But if suing your employer’s your only option, get a free personal injury claim evaluation online first.

How to File Your Texas Workers’ Compensation Claim

After you confirm your employer has Texas workers’ compensation insurance coverage, follow these steps to file your claim:

  1. You have 30 days from the date your workplace injury or illness occurred to notify your employer. Waiting any longer to report your work-related injury or illness could make you ineligible for workers’ comp benefits. Always seek emergency medical treatment first, if needed.
  2. You have one calendar year from the date you got sick or hurt at work to file your claim. To get your claim started, fill out . You can also file your workers’ comp claim directly through the DWC’s website, if you prefer.
  3. Once the DWC receives your initial paperwork, your employer’s insurance company will review it before accepting or denying your claim.
  4. If the insurance company denies your claim, you have 90 days to file an appeal. Contact the Office of Injured Employee Counsel (OIEC) for information or talk to a Texas workers’ compensation lawyer for free.

Every Texas workers’ compensation case is different, and your personal experience may not follow the exact steps we’ve listed here. Texas law encourages injured and sick employees to participate in return-to-work programs, and refusing light-duty tasks may terminate your benefits.

Texas Workers’ Compensation Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues an annual statistical report covering the workers’ compensation program in almost every state. These reports list total workers’ compensation claims filed, how many employees missed work or changed jobs, and job sector-specific data. Our chart below shows how the Texas workers’ compensation program changed from 2011 to 2015.

You can clearly see that Texas workers’ compensation claims rose significantly in 2012 compared to other years. More than half those claims (just over 55%) were 154,000 service industry workers who got sick or injured at work. Claims for missing work, changing jobs or restrictions fell dramatically from 2012 to 2013, with 8,400 fewer benefits applications filed. Texas is the only U.S. state or territory that makes workers’ compensation coverage optional for every employer in the state. Most other states have mandatory workers’ compensation coverage requirements in place. Only Lone Star State employees have to worry about verifying Texas workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

Many injured workers find Texas workers’ compensation claims process confusing or frustrating. However, an advocate in our network can review your claim paperwork in person and answer your questions privately for free. Whether you just want a second opinion about your case or need someone to help you get the most workers’ comp benefits that you deserve, we can help.

To start your free benefits evaluation and see if you may qualify for legal assistance, click the button below now.

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