NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.
Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.
Contact information for NWCDN members is also located on the state specific links in the event you have additional questions or your company is seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in your state.
The question of
exclusive jurisdiction of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act comes up often
and we get many questions about its application. The Austin Court of
Appeals recently took a look at a wrongful death case where a worker’s
potential beneficiaries did not file a claim for death benefits. The
beneficiaries took the position that he was not an employee. Texas Mutual
filed a BRC request. The Division held that the worker sustained a
compensable injury and his beneficiaries were entitled to death benefits.
However, his beneficiaries didn’t want death benefits. They wanted
to sue the worker’s employer in court without the limitations imposed by the
Act’s exclusive remedy provision. Therefore, the worker’s beneficiaries
argued that the Division did not have jurisdiction to determine they were
entitled to benefits because they didn’t file a workers’ compensation claim.
The Court of Appeals held that it didn’t matter whether the beneficiaries
filed a claim: “However,
we need not resolve that question to dispose of this case, as we conclude that
DWC had exclusive jurisdiction over the question of eligibility regardless of
whether there was, in fact, a pending claim or merely a potential claim.”
Long-standing case law holds that the Division, with its unique
expertise, has exclusive jurisdiction to resolve any question regarding
eligibility for workers' compensation benefits, including questions over
employment status. Sometimes plaintiffs seek to avoid the workers'
compensation system in hopes of a bigger payday in the courts. This case affirms that plaintiffs cannot
avoid the Division’s exclusive jurisdiction simply by electing not to file a
workers’ compensation claim. In Re Hellas Construction, Inc.
2022 WL 2975702 (July 28, 2022).
Copyright 2022, Stone Loughlin & Swanson, LLP