Came across an article from the Texas Bar Journal this morning that was written a few years ago. The article did a masterful job of outlining the Texas workers compensation landscape and how it is utterly failing to help injured workers. I missed it when it was originally published but read it today and was saddened because, unfortunately, all of the terrible problems identified in the article still exist.
From the article:
[I]t would be hard to find [a state workers compensation system] that keeps legal fees as low, denials as high, and efforts of doctors and others to scam the system as plentiful as in Texas.
[Texas maintains a] claims system that critics charge is now wholly captive to the insurance companies that support it. It’s the result of a 20-year evolution larded with anti-tort politics. It wasn’t always so.
Here at my firm, we get calls from injured workers on a regular basis seeking help with their workers' compensation claim. We can't take those cases because changes to the law have made it virtually impossible for a lawyer to be paid anything for representing injured workers. We keep a list of the few area lawyers we know who do take such cases. More often than not the caller indicates he or she has already contacted those lawyers and they couldn't take the case either.
In what began more than 20 years ago as an effort to curb what was seen as abuse by lawyers, doctors and claimants, the Texas workers' compensation system has become so hostile, so skewed toward delay and denial that lawyers, physicians and even legitimate claimants have been driven away.
This leaves Texas workers injured at work with literally no place to turn. Many of them can't work because they can't get any medical care. They can't get any medical care because the insurance companies paid to cover such claims can simply deny virtually all claims with impunity and keep the premiums as profit. And they can't hire a lawyer to help them because the laws have been structured in such as way as to make it impossible for their lawyer to be paid. Put simply, if you are injured at work in Texas you are pretty much on your own.
For years, those who watch the workers compensation system in Texas have expected a public backlash to this state of affairs. It hasn't come yet. But it sure needs to.
Read this article: Insult to Injury: Texas Workers' Comp System Denies, Delays Medical Help