An IE who is injured while working outside of Texas, or the IE's legal beneficiary in appropriate cases, is entitled to Texas workers' compensation benefits if the injury would be compensable had it occurred in Texas, and the IE has "significant contacts" with Texas or the employment is principally located in Texas. "Significant contacts" means that the IE was hired or recruited in Texas and the IE was injured not later than one year after the date of hire, or the IE has worked in Texas for at least 10 working days during the 12 months preceding the date of injury. See Texas Labor Code (TLC) Section 406.071. Whether the IE has presented enough evidence to establish extraterritorial coverage is a question of fact for the ALJ to resolve.
The employer is a musical production company that only has one office, which is located in Texas. The employer wanted to bring a musical production to Texas for two weeks followed by a two month tour around the country. The employer announced that auditions for the production would be held in Texas and another state. The IE resided in the other state and auditioned, was hired, signed a contract, and rehearsed for four weeks in that state. The contract of hire required the employer to provide workers' compensation insurance, and the employer paid the IE from its office in Texas. Rehearsals were moved to Texas approximately one week prior to the opening, and a two-week Texas run followed. The production next moved out of Texas and approximately four weeks into the tour, the IE was injured out of state. The injury was found to be compensable under the 1989 Act because the ALJ determined (1) that the injury would have been compensable had it occurred in Texas; (2) that the injury occurred within one year of the IE's date of hire; (3) that the IE worked in Texas for more than 10 working days prior to the injury; (4) that the IE temporarily resided in Texas while working for the employer; and (5) that the IE spent a substantial part of her working time in Texas. All of these determinations presented factual questions for the ALJ to resolve. APD 021735
Coverage Not Found.
The IE, who resided in Texas, worked as a boilermaker. He was injured while working for the employer, a union contractor, in a refinery in another state. The evidence reflected that the IE learned from the business manager of his union local in Texas of the job opportunity in the other state. The business manager had learned of the job from a union local official in the other state. In order to obtain this job, the IE had to get on the referral list for the union in the other state. The IE traveled to the union hall in that state, completed paperwork, was placed on the list, and was referred to the employer’s job site. The IE was injured approximately one week after he was hired.
The IE appeared to argue, among other reasons, that he had significant contacts with Texas because he was a Texas resident and had been advised of the job opportunity by the Texas union local. The employer had no contact with the IE in Texas; the employer had no contact with the IE’s union local in Texas; and the employer did not know the IE’s identity prior to his referral by the union local in the other state. The ALJ found that the IE was not hired or recruited in Texas to work for the out-of-state employer. Therefore, he did not have significant contacts with Texas so as to bring his injury under the jurisdiction of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. The AP affirmed the decision of the ALJ. APD 970361.
Effect of Compensation Paid in Other Jurisdiction.
An IE who elects to get workers' compensation benefits paid by another state may not recover workers' compensation benefits under the laws of Texas. TLC Section 406.075. In some instances, an IE may receive benefits from another state without making an election to do so. In such a case, the IE may still pursue benefits in Texas and the amount the IE received in benefits from the other state will be subtracted from the benefits paid under Texas law. See Section 406.071, APD 032459. [Cross reference: Election of Remedies (C20)]
In APD 032459, the decedent sustained a compensable fatal injury while on temporary assignment in Florida. The beneficiaries made no claim for Florida workers' compensation benefits, but the Florida IC began paying death benefits to the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries filed a claim in Texas. The beneficiaries are entitled to Texas death benefits less the benefits paid by the Florida IC because there was no election to be paid Florida death benefits.