Thousands of people are killed every year on the job, and multitudes of others suffer serious injuries. On-the-job injuries account for huge losses of time and productivity, but if you’re hurt at work, these concerns are secondary to your own. These injuries can prevent you from working, result in lost wages and even land you in bankruptcy thanks to high medical bills. Fortunately, there are workers compensation protections, and this is how you can become eligible.

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When you’re injured on the job and you file a workers compensation claim, the first set of income benefits that you should receive is called Temporary Income Benefits (“TIBs’). ​Once you miss more than 7 days of work due to your injury, then your entitlement to TIBs will begin. They can last up to 104

Two things happened this week to raise the consciousness of the public towards the inadequacies of workers compensation. First was a major piece of reporting by Pro Publica and NPR that conducted an exhaustive examination of workers compensation benefits, state by state. You can find the articles here:

www.propublica.org/article/photos-living-through-california-workers-comp-cuts

www.propublica.org/article/the-demolition-of-workers-compensation

The reporters chief findings:

  • Since

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Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated insurance program that pays medical expenses and lost wages of employees who are injured at work or suffer from work-related illnesses. Workers’ compensation cases are treated on a case-by-case basis, which means that employees are treated differently based on the nature and severity of their injuries.

In Texas, the agency responsible for regulating the state’s workers’ compensation system is the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Within the TDI exists a smaller division, which carries the sole responsibility of processing and monitoring workers’ compensation claims, called the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).


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First, an injured worker’s alien status is not a complete bar to receiving workers compensation benefits. Commercial Standard Fire and Marine Company v. Galindo, 484 S.W.2d. 635 (Tex. Civ. App.–El Paso 1972, writ ref’d n.r.e.); This holding has been adopted under the current compensation act by APD 022258-s. Second, in a case involving a meat packer, Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Guzman 116 S.W.3d 233, (Tex.App.-Tyler 2003,no pet.), the court held that not only can an undocumented alien be compensated for lost wages, the undocumented worker is also entitled to recover for lost earning capacity for the future. In other words, there is no presumption that the worker would be deported and unable to earn wages in the country of origin. However, if an employee returns to work, even at light duty, and is later terminated, laid off, or quits, and the evidence shows that the injured undocumented worker’s medical condition has not changed, the worker may not establish disability if the sole reason other employment cannot be obtained is the injured worker’s illegal alien status. APD 000529.

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Texas is the only state that doesn’t make workers compensation insurance mandatory for at least some employers. This is a shame, because workers’ compensation insurance is beneficial to both employees and employers as Sally Spooner, a school teacher, and the Cody School District, her employer, recently found out.

The Cody School District is the local