Texas Worker's Compensation Benefits
By Aaron Larson
Important Notice: The following overview of Texas's worker's compensation (workmans comp) benefits is presented on an as-is basis. This information is believed accurate as of the date of authorship, but is not intended to provide a complete analysis of available benefits and may not reflect subsequent changes in the law. For a full review of Texas's worker's compensation law, or for a determination of how the law applies to a specific worker, please consult a worker's compensation attorney licensed to practice in the state of Texas.
- Special Employment Situations
- Medical Benefits & Choice of Physician
- Disability Benefits Provided
- Death Benefits Provided
- Limits on Attorney Fees
Texas's system of worker's compensation (workman's comp) is elective, meaning that employers may choose between providing worker's compensation coverage or being subject to civil suit in the event of worker injury. Worker's compensation insurance may be provided through a competitive state fund, a private insurance carrier, or employers may self-insure. Waivers are not permitted.
Certain farm and ranch workers are subject to the Act's elective provisions. Employers may provide voluntary worker's compensation coverage for domestic servants.
Full medical benefits are provided to employees entitled to worker's compensation benefits, with no time or monetary limits. Initial choice of physician is made by the employee, from a list of physicians prepared by the Worker's Compensation Commission.
Payments are made for temporary total disability (TTD) in an amount determined by a percentage of the worker's wage, subject to weekly maximum and minimum payment amounts. Payments may continue for up to 104 weeks or the point of maximum medical improvement, whichever occurs sooner. The 104 week period may be extended if spinal surgery is involved.
Payments are made for permanent total disability (PTD) based upon a percentage of the worker's wage, subject to weekly minimum and maximum payment amounts. For injuries listed in the statute as constituting PDT, payments continue for life; otherwise payments for PTD continue for up to 401 weeks.
Payments for permanent partial disability (PPD) are made based upon a percentage of the worker's wage, subject to weekly minimum and maximum payment amounts. Payments for PPD may continue for up to 401 weeks.
Scheduled awards are paid in addition to total temporary disability benefits starting upon termination of the termination of the TTD benefits. Scheduled awards are reduced because of receipt of TTD benefits, by the number of weeks of TTD.
Benefits may be available for any disfigurement that will impair the future usefulness or occupational opportunities of the injured employee.
Physical and vocational rehabilitation benefits are available.
With certain constraints and filing deadlines, occupational hearing losses may be compensable.
Death benefits are payable to an employee's surviving spouse, or spouse and children, based upon a percentage of the employee's wages, subject to a cap. A minimum benefit is provided regardless of the employee's earnings. A burial allowance is available.
Attorney fees for claimants are limited by statute to 25%. In certain cases, the attorney fee may be added to the award.
Copyright © 2003-2011 Aaron Larson. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you believe you may lawfully use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article under the Fair Use exception to copyright law, except as otherwise authorized by the author of the article, you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.