Civil Justice Warriors

Employers Opting Out of Workers’ Comp

Most states in the country require companies to provide workers’ compensation to employees injured on the jobs. However, Texas does not. Texas allows companies to opt out of workers’ comp and replace it with their own regulations. New employees also might not know what they’ve signed up for with all the new-hire paperwork they get handed until they actually get injured.

For example, John Hernandez was a worker at Swift Transportation, one of the largest trucking businesses in the country. He was driving one of the company’s commercial big rigs in Texas and lost control of the vehicle, ending up with 3 herniated discs in his spine. Most people, like Mr. Hernandez, would assume his employers would end up footing the bill since he was on the job. However, he has been paying almost all of his medical expenses himself, including the surgery he required on his back.

During the accident, Mr. Hernandez says the truck’s wheel locked up, which made it impossible for him to regain control of the vehicle. After the crash, Swift Transportation sent its employees to their own doctor, the only way they would pay for his medical treatment. The doctor, according to Mr. Hernandez, never even gave him a physical. Mr. Hernandez told the doctor verbally that he was experiencing pain in his back and shoulders, and the company-paid doctor informed Mr. Hernandez that he was healthy and could return to work. He saw the doctor three more times, and each time the doctor said it was nothing serious.

Hernandez then decided to take matters into his own hands. He saw an orthopedic specialist on his own dime and was diagnosed with the 3 herniated discs. He now has a head tremor as a result of the spinal damage. Swift has had to pay for none of it.

The company opted out of workers’ comp insurance 11 years ago and now only has to comply with what their hired physicians tell them must be done. The company is also not alone. Around 19,000 other businesses have also replaced workers’ comp with their own version of coverage. Most of these are huge companies such as Walmart and McDonald’s, which employ thousands of people.

If you’re having similar issues with your employer, give us a call. No one should be stuck with a bill caused by the negligence or greed of someone else. Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers can offer you an extremely experienced team of Dallas personal injury attorneys. We have a history of success and can help you navigate the legal system and seek ways to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. While you work on healing your body, we can work on the tedious and often complicated aspects of dealing with a reluctant insurance company or employer. We will stand by your side to ensure you fully understand your legal rights and options.

Contact us at (214) 739-0100 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.