The Basics of a Non-Subscriber Claim in Texas

February 21, 2024

What is a Non-Subscriber Claim?


A Non-Subscriber claim is when an injured employee is not covered by a workers’ compensation insurance policy.

Generally, workers’ compensation is a state-regulated insurance system that is supposed to ensure medical bills and some lost wages are paid for employees injured on the job. However, unlike most states where carrying workers’ comp insurance is mandatory, Texas law gives employers a choice. Employers can opt out of providing workers’ compensation insurance.  Such employers are referred to as “non-subscriber” employers. Employees can opt out of workers’ compensation coverage, too, but an employee’s decision to opt-out does not affect their employer’s status as a subscriber or non-subscriber. See Texas Labor Code § 406.034.  

Non-subscribers lose crucial legal shields, exposing themselves to potentially massive lawsuits from injured employees. Generally, non-subscribers have no immunity against most employee injury lawsuits. Moreover, non-subscribers lose key defenses, such as contributory negligence, assumption of risk, and co-employee negligence (however, such defenses are available to an employer when their employee opts out of workers’ compensation). This means if an employee gets hurt on the job due to any negligence caused by their non-subscriber employer, the gates open wide for potential claims covering everything from medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and punitive damages.  

Example of a Non-Subscriber Claim Versus a Subscriber Claim

Types of Damages and Amounts Recoverable Are Very Different

Imagine two employees who both work as a Forklift Operator. The first employee works for FedEx who is covered by a workers’ compensation insurance plan. The second employee works for R+L Carriers who does not have a workers’ compensation insurance plan and is considered a non-subscriber. Let’s say both of these employees are injured on the job when the loading truck moves while the forklift is still in the back of the trailer, causing them significant injuries when they fell out of the trailer. The status of the employer will have an impact on the damages that they are entitled to recover. 

The FedEx’s employee’s claim would be entirely resolved through the workers’ compensation insurance plan. Thus, the only compensation this employee could recover would be for their medical expenses and lost wages.

In contrast, the R+L Carriers’ employee’s claim would not have the same restrictions on their claim. Not only could they recover for their medical expenses and lost wages, they would also be allowed to recover for their pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and punitive damages. 

Thus, the potential damages against an employer who is considered a non-subscriber is significantly higher when compared to an employer who is considered a subscriber to a workers’ compensation plan. 

Award Winning Texas Non-Subscriber Attorneys

At Morrow and Sheppard, our attorneys have obtained multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for people injured in Texas non-subscriber cases. If you have been injured while on the job, let one of the attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP determine if your employer is considered a non-subscriber so that you can maximize any potential recovery for your injuries.  Contact Morrow & Sheppard LLP at (800) 489-2216 for a free, confidential consultation.

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