Texas Workers’ Comp, Who is My Employer?

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Employment in the last 20 years has changed greatly. In the past you finished school, found a job and then worked until you retired at the age of 65. In today’s market, employees are laid off with every down turn of the economy. Others have jobs where they are permanently employed through a temporary service or are called independent contractors. When an injury occurs at work, who is your employer? Most modern companies are actually a number of companies handling different aspects of the business. The first thing to do is to look at your pay stub. Most will have the name of the payer. This is a good start on establishing the actual name of your employer. The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation defines employer as a person who makes a contract of hire, employs one or more employees, and has workers’ compensation insurance coverage. However, when there are multiple potential employers, you may run into problems that some are subscribers to the Texas Workers’ Compensation system and some are not. Finally, the law defines an independent contractor not just your employer calling you one. Temporary Service: Many workers are now employed by Temp Services. If you work for a temp service, file the claim against them. If you find out that they are a non-subscriber to Texas Workers’ Compensation (they have an alternative form of insurance), you can possibly file a claim against the company that the temp service sent you to. When deciding which company is liable for your claim, the Division of Workers’ Compensation will look at who had the right of control over the employee’s activities. The Borrowed Servant Doctrine is when you work for one employer, but get injured while under the control of another of another company. This will allow you to receive benefits from the employer controlling your activities. Independent Contractor: In general an independent contractor is not an employee. However, the determination is not made by the employer. The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation will determine if the employer had a right to control the details of the work performed. To be considered an independent contractor, it must be shown that the person: 1) acts as the employer of any employee of the contractor by paying wages, directing activities, and performing other similar functions characteristic of an employer-employee relationship; 2) is free to determine the manner in which the work or service is performed, including the hours of labor of or method of payment to any employee; 3) is required to furnish or to have employees, if any, furnish necessary tools, supplies, or materials to perform the work or service; and 4) possesses the skills required for the specific work or service. The IW has the burden of proof to establish that he/she was an employee of the employer for purposes of the Act at the time the injury occurred. However, you should always use an attorney familiar with workers’ compensation issues. If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation contact, call the Dallas office of The Morris Law Firm at (214)357-1782 or via email at info@themorrisfirm.net.

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