How Do I Apply for Texas Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Important: We updated this article in October 2022 in order to provide you with the most current data available. When you’re dealing with a work-related illness or injury, navigating workers’ compensation can make you feel even worse. The Lone Star State is the only one that doesn’t require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage. That makes it a little more complicated for employees with workplace injuries or occupational illnesses. We’ve got some tips to help make it easier to get the Texas workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.

If your workplace injury or illness requires emergency or urgent care, seek treatment immediately. Then you can begin the process.

How Do I File a Texas Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Confirm that your employer provides Texas workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If they don’t, then you can file a personal injury lawsuit for medical bills and lost wages. Pro Tip: If suing is your only option, get a free personal injury claim evaluation online first.

If your employer does have coverage, you can file a claim. The process typically works like this, but each case is unique so your own process may differ:

  1. Notify your employer immediately. You have 30 days from the date your workplace injury or illness occurred to inform your employer. Pro tip: Waiting longer could make you ineligible for workers’ comp benefits.
  2. File your claim with the state within one calendar year from the date you got sick or hurt. Complete Form DWC-01 or file directly through the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) website. The DWC reviews your initial paperwork. Then your employer’s insurance company will assess your claim and decide to accept or deny it.

If the insurance company denies your claim, you have 90 days to appeal. Contact the Office of Injured Employee Counsel for information on appeals, or find out if working with a workers’ compensation lawyer is right for you. These attorneys typically work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay a fee unless you win benefits. If your case is successful, then you only pay a reasonable, one-time fee.

Pro Tip: Texas law encourages injured and sick employees to participate in return-to-work programs – and refusing light-duty tasks may terminate your benefits.

Who Gets Texas Workers’ Compensation?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues an annual statistical report covering the workers’ compensation program in almost every state. Here’s the data for Texas from 2017-2020, showing total workers’ compensation claims filed, how many employees were impacted, and sector-specific data.

The number of recordable cases dropped to a 5-year low in 2020. The decrease was fueled by a reduction in the total number of employees who had to miss work, transfer jobs, or receive restrictions, even in the service sector.

Many people find the claims process confusing or frustrating and opt to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney advocate. These lawyers review your claim paperwork in person and answer your questions privately for free.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: